ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Laurent Fabius dans les pas d’Ahmet Davutoglu
by Gaël De Santis
Translated Tuesday 18 November 2014, by
The French foreign affairs minister and the Turkish prime minister launch a media offensive against Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, the better to squelch the Kurdish question.
Behind Kobane, Damascus. On the evening of Nov. 4, Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused president Bashar Al-Assad’s forces of “massacres” in Aleppo, Syria’s second-biggest city. “We observe what’s happening in Aleppo with worry. The city is not about to fall” into the government’s hands. “But it has been subjected to extreme pressure,” he told the army leaders at a meeting. “If Aleppo falls, Turkey will have to meet a very grave and very worrying crisis due to the massive influx of refugees,” Davutoglu warned. Davutoglu belongs to a government that allowed jihadists to enter Syria over the past few years and which grudgingly allowed the Kurdish resistance to go to Kobane.
Words that the Turkish government would not disavow
In the morning of Nov. 4, not only in le Figaro newspaper but also in the U.S. daily the Washington Post and in Al Hayat, Laurent Fabius, the French foreign affairs minister, wrote an opinion article: “After Kobane, Aleppo must be saved!” For Laurent Fabius, after Kobane, the jihadists of the “Islamic State” will continue “towards other points on the Syrian-Turkish border.” “At the end of the road: Aleppo, the bastion of the moderate opposition” to Bashar Al-Assad, according to Laurent Fabius. The city is “threatened by a pincer movement between the regime’s barrels of explosives and Daesh’s throat-slitters.” Bashar Al-Assad’s troops have benefited from attention being turned on Kurdistan to gain ground in Aleppo’s suburbs over the past few weeks. In the opinion article, Fabius copies the Turkish position, according to which Daesh and Al-Assad are two sides of the same coin.
Fabius vaunts Aleppo as being “the only [political center] capable of preserving the perspective of a democratic, pluralist and open Syria.” This is forgetting Syrian Kurdistan’s experiences in democratic management and in respect for women’s rights. What is more, the word “Kurd” does not appear in Fabius’s article, except to accuse the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main resistance force in Kobane, of having “fought” alongside Bashar Al-Assad. These are words that would not be disavowed by the Turkish government, which is grappling with a Kurdish movement for autonomy in Turkey.
For Laurent Fabius, the coalition must reinforce its “support for the Syrian moderate opposition” and protect “the civilian population.” How this is to be done is not mentioned, but it very much looks like a military operation. The preparations have begun, as has the arms race in the region. On Nov. 4, France signed a contract to deliver arms to the Lebanese army, “financed thanks to a Saudi donation,” Laurent Fabius said happily in Riyadh.