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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:01 PM

France Recognizes New Syrian Rebel Group, Hints It May Provide Weapons

Source: NY Times

PARIS — France on Tuesday became the first Western country to recognize the newly formed Syrian rebel coalition and raised the possibility of arming the group as it begins taking charge of the opposition’s role in the civil war.

The French announcement, conveyed by President François Hollande at his first news conference in office, went beyond other Western pledges of support for the new Syrian rebel group, which was officially created on Sunday and calls itself the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

Though the United States and Britain have welcomed the rebel group’s formation, they have nonetheless held back on whether to recognize it as the legitimate government of Syria for now and have expressed reluctance to provide it with lethal military aid in their struggle to oust President Bashar al-Assad. That is in part because of uncertainties over how weaponry would be used and fears it would fall into the hands of the radical jihadists in Syria who are also fighting to topple Mr. Assad.

“I announce that France recognizes the Syrian National Coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people and thus as the future provisional government of a democratic Syria and to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad’s regime,” said Mr. Hollande, who has been one of the most vocal critics of Mr. Assad’s harsh repression of the domestic opposition.

<more at link>

Steven Erlanger reported from Paris, and Rick Gladstone from New York. Reporting was contributed by Nick Cumming-Bruce from Geneva, Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Lebanon, and Richard Berry from Paris.


Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/world/middleeast/syria-war-developments.html

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Reply France Recognizes New Syrian Rebel Group, Hints It May Provide Weapons (Original post)
pinto Nov 2012 OP
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #1
Mosby Nov 2012 #2
pinto Nov 2012 #4
Mosby Nov 2012 #15
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #10
Mosby Nov 2012 #16
pinto Nov 2012 #18
pinto Nov 2012 #3
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #6
David__77 Nov 2012 #8
The Magistrate Nov 2012 #11
libdem4life Nov 2012 #5
Alamuti Lotus Nov 2012 #7
David__77 Nov 2012 #9
Alamuti Lotus Nov 2012 #12
pampango Nov 2012 #13
dipsydoodle Nov 2012 #14
riderinthestorm Nov 2012 #17

Response to pinto (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:05 PM

1. France Used To Run The Place, Sir

They tend to take a degree of responsibility for former colonial possessions.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:22 PM

2. what are your thoughts about arming the rebels or creating a no fly zone??

I have mixed feelings, though generally support the idea of creating a no fly zone at a minimum even though there may be a lot of islamists involved in the rebel movements. The humanitarian crisis there just keeps getting worse and that is my main concern.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:30 PM

4. I've ex-pat Syrian friends - mainly Catholics and Orthodox Catholics.

At one time they saw the Alawites as a buffer for their communities. Yet as the Assad regime continues its reign of terror and Syria disintegrates, I think they would welcome French intervention. Some I spoke with today are hoping for support of a moderate opposition coalition if that's doable.

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Response to pinto (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:48 AM

15. Assad is losing the Druze as well

Some of the Golan Druze have even applied for Israeli citizenship, something they have never done before. In the past they have refused to support one side or the other in Syria's ongoing conflict with Israel.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:55 PM

10. My Personal Inclination is To Keep Clear, Sir

When ( I do not think it is an if ) Assad and his people are taken down, there will be sectarian killing on a large scale. Too much blood has been spilled already for it to be otherwise. This is not something an outside power will want to be closely associated with, and anyone who openly arms the rebel forces will have to shoulder some responsibility for the killings and expulsions.

What I pretty much expect to happen is covert supply of arms and intelligence, mostly funneled through Turkey, but never in any form that cannot be plausibly denied.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:52 AM

16. I hadn't thought about the possibility of "payback"

Hard to imagine how much worse it could get.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:25 PM

18. Agree. Assad is going to go down and there will be more bloodshed. The fall of his family's regime

won't be a "solution". Just the opening stage of a simmering sectarian conflict.

I assume covert supplies of arms are current and on-going.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:22 PM

3. Yeah. And France may play a unilateral role in all this.

Wouldn't be the first time.

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Response to pinto (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:46 PM

6. Meanwhile

The French president has vowed to trim public spending and simplify France's huge public sector during a speech in which he told a pessimistic nation "decline is not our destiny".

François Hollande, who was elected six months ago after opposing Europe's one-size-fits-all austerity, admitted cuts were needed in the public sector, which comprises more than half of the French economy. Amid rare criticism from the left on public spending, which is among the highest in the continent, he said France "should be capable of doing better, in spending less".

At his first official press conference at the Élysée, a set-piece of every French presidency, he urged the nation to stand together during the economic crisis.

The stakes were particularly high for Hollande, whose approval ratings have plummeted recently to make him France's least liked president in the half year after an election.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/13/president-francois-hollande-france-decline

France's least liked president in the half year after an election.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:02 PM

8. The Socialist Party is profoundly immoral.

...with the exception of positive elements here and there, the best forces have left and were exemplified by the Left Front campaign. Sadly, French socialism has a terrible track record on foreign affairs. The "Third Way" meets ultra-nationalism.

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Response to pinto (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:57 PM

11. True, Sir: Like England, They Still have The Reflexes Of A Great Power

"I'm not so good as I once was, but I'm good as I ever was once."

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 07:39 PM

5. Still the result of Western European/Israeli meddling...remnants of the Ottoman Empire.

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:10 PM

7. France's growing militarism is troubling

 

They are taking a strong stance for an attack on Mali, now vigorously supporting the terrorists in Syria. Their present and historical record in the Middle East and Africa is simply atrocious, they have no valid arguments to bring to the table.

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Response to Alamuti Lotus (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:05 PM

9. They keep with all this screwing around, hinting this and that.

They've been threatening to arm the insurgents for quite some time now - what are they waiting for? I don't think they have the stomach to go it alone. That would be quite the humiliating fiasco, and I might add a well-deserved one.

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Response to David__77 (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:16 AM

12. I think they're angling for some Anglo backup

 

I keep recalling that nauseating image of Sarkozy and Cameron triumphantly posing in the NATO Libyan Republic after the damage was done. Both stood out front, but knew that they acted only with big brother's approval. They cannot take on Russia again without it, but Barry and company seem reluctant for reasons I don't fully understand. Perhaps now with the election mess behind them, the facade of hesitation will be shed. As far as arming the rebels, the Saudi and Qatari dictatorships (with M14-Lebanese and Turkish leg-work) are providing adequate supplies at this time for creating chaos--the only thing that Wahhabist doctrine excels at--, except for the pesky fact that they dislike each other and are accordingly backing rival factions. Surely that won't end badly.

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 05:15 AM

13. Nice to see the one socialist leader in a sea of European conservative governments lead on this

issue. I trust Hollande will lead cautiously but lead nonetheless.

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 05:28 AM

14. France recognises new Syria opposition, U.S. hangs back

(Reuters) - France became the first Western power to recognise a fledgling Syrian opposition coalition fully, stepping out beyond the United States, which said on Wednesday the body must first show its clout inside Syria.

Six Gulf Arab states recognised the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces on Monday and France followed suit the next day, unlike its European partners.

>

The European Union bans arms sales to Syria, but Hollande said the question of arming rebels would be examined when the coalition formed a transitional government. Paris had previously ruled this out, fearing arms could reach Islamist militants.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the formation of the coalition, which supersedes the widely discredited Syrian National Council as the face of the Syrian opposition, was an important step, but did not offer it full recognition or arms.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/11/14/uk-syria-crisis-idUKBRE8AB0HV20121114

It doesn't follow that Hollande can overcome the European Union arms ban on his own and there are currently no signs of support from elsewhere on the subject in Europe.

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Response to pinto (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:56 AM

17. Ugh. When Assad is taken out and the place becomes a genocidal free for all, France will regret this

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