The Comedy of the Syrian Baath vis-à-vis French Democracy |
Al Hayat - 10 May, 2012
Author: Randa Takieddine
On the day that the Syrian people witnessed an electoral comedy, prepared for them by a regime that continues to kill them, France offered its people a valuable and entertaining democratic exercise. President Nicolas Sarkozy and President-Elect Francois Hollande stood side by side to place a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in a ceremony to celebrate the victory over the Nazis. It was a lesson in democracy. President Sarkozy did well by inviting his elected successor to take part in the event. Sarkozy's concession speech was courageous, and an honor to democracy. Certainly, the sight of the two rivals from a fierce and tense electoral campaign allowed the Syrian people to dream of such a valuable, democratic future, instead of the comedy that was organized by a regime that believes itself stronger than the natural course of history. The comments in the pro-regime Syrian press, which hailed the exit from office of Sarkozy and his skilled foreign minister, Alain Juppe, showed once again how ignorant the regime is about the continuity of French foreign policy, which can only be based on the values of human rights. Hollande and his ruling team will not be lenient with the Syrian regime. They will not even try with the regime, as Sarkozy did at the beginning of his term, receiving Syrian President Bashar Assad in France in the belief that he might convince him to change his policies. Hollande is surrounded by a team of French diplomats who are quite well-versed in the Syrian regime and its behavior. Hollande was even surprised, in an interview with Al-Hayat, before the Socialist Party primary elections, that some of his friends in Lebanon, who have now changed their positions, were supporters of this oppressive regime. The continuity of French policy on Syria is not based on a given person leaving office; it is connected to the values of Republican France, led by human rights, which have been stained by the Baathist regime's continued repression, murder and torture of those who do not follow its path, including innocent children.
Hollande and his diplomatic team will take office on 15 May; they will take over foreign policy issues from diplomats from the same establishment, namely the Foreign Ministry, which has skilled diplomats from a variety of political orientations, from left to right. We should note that the ruling right appointed some of the best diplomats, known for their leftist tendencies, to top posts, due to their distinguished records and competence. Sarkozy appointed the ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, and then appointed him to head the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Foreign Ministry. He also appointed the ministry's secretary general, Pierre Sellal, or its number two man, the director of Political Affairs, Jacques Audibert, who is concerned with the Iranian issue, and the ambassadors to Lebanon (Patrice Paoli), Libya (Francois Gouyette), and Egypt (Jean-Felix Paganon). They are all leftist diplomats who were selected for their posts during the Sarkozy era, and the Hollande administration is expected to utilize their considerable expertise in the region. Certainly, there is no fear that Hollande will be more lenient with the Assad regime. No doubt, the talks between Hollande and United States President Barack Obama in the White House will tackle this topic next week. France is preparing to convene a Friends of Syria Conference, which was decided by the current foreign minister, Juppe, and the next minister will continue these preparations. It would be better for Syria's official media to be worried about its fate and the fate of the regime, which is continuing to kill a brave people whose only demand is freedom and dignity, instead of directing curses at French officials who have been elected by their people. It is an illegitimate regime, which kills, tortures and oppresses its people, that deserves to be in the dustbin of history.