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French National Assembly (Parliament) - Syria Debate

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posted on Sep, 4 2013 @ 01:45 PM
Just a quick thread to let you know how things are going in the debate in the National Assembly (lower parliamentary house) in Paris.

Deputies seem to be generally divided along party lines, with the Government (socialists) being in favor of military action alongside the USA and the Opposition (Conservatives) being far more cautious.

The debate was opened by the Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault (socialist). He's turning into a bit of a hawk. He said Monday that France was still determined to "punish" Syria for the gas attacks on civilians. Today in Parliament he said that the evidence was sure that poison gas had been used and that the Syrian government was responsible. He said doing nothing about Syria is tantamount almost to barbarism (i.e. that the civilised world needs to "do something about Syria"). That if the world doesn't react by using force against Syria, that would mean we tolerate the use of WMD's against civilians.

He said it is a matter of duty and honor that France takes responsibility, that doing nothing isn't an option. I don't know if that's a veiled criticism of the British parliamentarians last week.

The Prime Minister referred to the use of poison gas during World War I on French soil. He & the Defense Minister said that the total prohibition on the use of poison gas be restored.

The Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the upper house (the Senate) in a parallel debate that France will not send ground troops, nor is the intention to change the regime. But he hopes the use of force as a punishment will help the rebels politically.

Christian Jacob for the Conservative opposition UMP in the National Assembly criticized President Hollande & the government for their inactivity, that their threats to punish Syria 8 days ago still haven't come to anything. He characterised France as being stuck in a military and diplomatic stalemate. He says that the French government is happy to simply follow the USA and not lead. And that France shouldn't have to wait about while the USA Congress now debates the whole issue.

But Jacob also says that the Opposition will only approve on the use of force against Syria if there's a mandate for military action in the UN Security Council. That appears to be where the split will be when deputies vote later, doesn't seem to be whether force is required ... I think a majority is in favor ... but it's whether the Opposition is convinced. Jacob seems to suggest that France should be united when our military goes to war & that it can only be united if the UN Security Council votes for action too.

To me this debate is unusual. Parliament has no say in the use of the military. That constitutional right is reserved for the President only. So I guess this debate is important but not binding on President Hollande.

I will update later.

Le Monde

French National Assembly - Video (in French) - Emergency Debate

posted on Sep, 4 2013 @ 02:00 PM
S&F for keeping us all updated on what's happening in the French Parliament...vis-a-vis military action against Syria.

posted on Sep, 4 2013 @ 02:15 PM
Goodness, the debate's over. No vote, purely consultative.
By my reckoning that took only nearly two hours. What a disappointment.

The main stumbling blocks are that there's no basis for the attacks under international law (that one country "punishing" another is a ridiculous concept harking back to mediaeval times), that only a united UN should step in to a country's internal problems ... the Government's response to that is that they've exhausted all diplomatic methods & that Russia & China are to blame for placing blocks in the road.

That there's no evidence yet that poison gas was even used or by whom ... some deputies want to wait until the full UN inspectors report is published. The Government simply says it is satisfied that Assad forces were to blame, that the evidence was overwhelming.

That Assad won't fall because of "punishments" or "warning shots". That it's either full war to get rid of him and his government or nothing at all. The Government replies by saying that there can't be a political solution if WMD's still exist and that it's the Government's intention to destroy Syrian WMD facilities, that French military action will make Assad mortal and he will lose his immunity/cover and be flushed out for the rebels to get him (I paraphrase but I can't find the English words to explain that).

That Parliament only debated 90 mins. And that the British Parliament took ten hours and then a vote. The Prime Minister says that Parliament won't get a vote, that his role his merely to inform Parliament about what's happening.

And that the President calls the shots militarily, not Parliament. Although constitutionally he is right. But for some reason the land of Liberté, égalité & fraternité has no voting rights.

No vote in the French Parliament at all. Crap. So much for democracy.

I guess the world now waits for the US Congress.

Sorry if this was disappointing.

posted on Sep, 4 2013 @ 04:08 PM
I know you'll find this hard to believe. But President Hollande was photo'd yesterday opening a school in Denain yesterday & pulled a face to the children. As if he doesn't have anything serious to worry about.

This fool is the man who controls the French military.

News agency AFP has been forced by the government to remove the photos of Hollande from it's website but of course they've gone viral.

But, weeping Jesus, I guess it's as bad as "my pet goat" ?

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