Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

What’s Happening to French Politics?

We are confronted with a unique case of French politics in Niger that could be a model of what Paris can offer in the Iranian nuclear file, in Lebanon and its presidential impasse or how to deal with the terrorist Hezbollah group.

It’s unique not because it’s special, but because it is illogical. France is insisting on keeping its ambassador in Niger even after the junta sought his expulsion and lifting of his diplomatic immunity.

Paris, meanwhile, has insisted that the junta is illegitimate and therefore, the ambassador will not leave the country. At the same time, however, the ambassador is incapable of leaving the embassy or even carrying out his duties.

The case is unique indeed. It is illogical politics, not flexibility, pragmatism or realism.

So, what can the French do now? Will they occupy Niger, remove the junta, reinstate the former president or free their ambassador? Does France have the ability to do so alone? Who will support France militarily? The Africans?

Does Africa still have the capacity to wage new wars? Will the West or the United States help in the invasion of Niger?

The situation is reminiscent of when Winston Churchill told Joseph Stalin that the Pope had declared war on Hitler, to which Stalin replied mockingly: “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

The same applies to the French. Are they capable of or do they want to wage a war on Niger? Or are they supposed to have a reasonable position?

The question is simple here as well: How can an ambassador work in a country where he is no longer wanted?

Regardless of France’s interests in Niger, the latter is not a neighboring country. Some countries in our region that are facing border problems from armed groups often find themselves being unjustly criticized by France or the West if they move to protect their security.

Ironically, France is speaking of the need to apply a democratic system in Africa and other parts of the world when it is barring some of its own citizens from wearing the abaya in France. What kind of diversity and tolerance is this?

France, which wants the establishment of democracy in Niger and other countries, is trying to support the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon and help it on the local and international fronts to back the nomination of a pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iran presidential candidate.

I realize that politics is based on contradictions that are often difficult to explain, but they usually revolve around interests and what is possible. They are not based on the flagrant contradictions showed by France in Niger, Lebanon and the Iran nuclear file.

France’s illogical political tensions over Niger will only complicate the situation there and lead to more coups in Africa. It will pave the way for terrorism and terrorists and increase illegal migration.

The French position in Niger is an example of the French position in Lebanon, specifically towards Hezbollah and the presidential impasse, and Iran. This is all very alarming.