The Turkish rout of Paris and Brussels

The Syrian failure, even if its deep reasons predate his arrival at the Elysee, illustrates the limits of the proactive diplomacy of President Macron, analyzes our journalist Marc Semo.

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Analysis. This is an unquestionable rout after already many battles lost in Syria. And it is paradoxically a NATO country, pillar of the south-east flank of the Alliance, which has been the main contractor. "Turkey has played the role of ram to expel Western forces, Vladimir Putin has only to exploit the strategic error of Donald Trump to further increase its political capital in the region: continuity and reliability as opposed to versatility of American politics ", notes Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier, Thomas More Institute. Sixteen years after their calamitous intervention in Iraq, the United States is effectively giving Russia's Vladimir Putin the role of policeman in the region. In Sochi, earlier this week, the Russian president and his Turkish counterpart will complete the ceasefire negotiated on October 17 between US Vice President Mike Pence and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

But this defeat is also that of the Europeans, and first of all the France of Emmanuel Macron who, in fact, took in foreign policy the leadership of the Union against a Britain stuck in Brexit and a weakened Germany by the political twilight of Angela Merkel. The Syrian failure, even if its deep reasons predate his arrival at the Elysee, illustrates the limits of his proactive diplomacy. The French, for lack of sufficient military means, are also forced to abandon their fate Kurdish forces, which were essential in the ground struggle against the organization Islamic State (IS).

This choice is all the more painful for Paris that there is a strong Franco-Kurdish relationship dating back to the Mitterrand years when, in April 1991, after the first Gulf War and the bloody crushing of the Kurdish revolt by Saddam Hussein , France took the initiative of a United Nations Security Council resolution establishing a security zone in northern Iraq and the creation of a Kurdish regional entity de facto independent of Baghdad. Such a scenario would be unimaginable today, and not only because the international situation has changed completely.

The Turkish case is a real headache

Despite the authoritarian drifts of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, a NATO member and candidate for the European Union, is not the thug Iraq of Saddam Hussein. And the pressure means are all the more limited. If the Trump administration can credibly threaten Ankara with an economic cataclysm, the French authorities and their partners in the Union are reduced to launching simple admonitions. Announced by several member states including France and Germany, the embargo on arms export projects will have no effect on ongoing operations.


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