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Algeria: The Iceberg That Could Sink Emmanuel Macron

Recent unrest now threatens France, with possibly another migration wave on the way.

The American Conservative

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Authored by Scott McConnell via The American Conservative:


After surviving several assassination attempts by French partisans of Algérie Française, Charles de Gaulle in March 1962 signed a peace agreement ending French sovereignty over Algeria. The war for Algerian independence had been long and vicious, marked by terrorism and torture. Everyone who mattered in French politics believed in 1954 that Algeria was an integral part of France, to be defended at all cost. But by 1962, their view had changed. With cold realism, de Gaulle remarked of the conflict, now in its seventh year, “As for France, it will be necessary for her now to interest herself in something else.”

France did fine after granting independence to Algeria. Algeria less so. The Algerians who had taken the side of France, fought in its army, or served as administrators of the Algerian government fared terribly—many suffered appalling deaths at the hands of the vengeful victors. According to Alistair Horne’s Savage War of Peace, 15,000 were killed in the summer after the March armistice.

An important reason de Gaulle broke with his conservative army supporters and became determined to negotiate Algerian independence was that he thought the French and Algerians were fundamentally different peoples. For him, Algérie Française, the “France of a hundred million” supplemented by Algeria’s population and vast reserves of oil and gas, was total fantasy. His colleague Alain Peyrefitte quoted him as saying privately in 1959 that you could mix Arabs and French together, but like oil and vinegar in a bottle, after a while they would inevitably separate. He worried that an Algérie Française would lead inevitably to his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises being transformed into Colombey-Les-Deux-Mosquées.

Nevertheless, Algeria after independence remained tightly connected to France economically, not least as a principal source of “temporary” factory workers, a migration that began during the Algerian war itself. Even as the need for factory labor diminished, France instituted family reunification provisions to allow workers to marry and bring their wives to France, a provision no subsequent president was able to undo. There are now some three million Algerians in France with French or dual citizenship. France’s relationship with the Algerian government is privileged—every French president makes a state visit to Algeria in his first year of office. Trade is mutually important and Algeria plays a critical role in French African policy, as it borders Mali, Niger, and Libya. Basically everyone paying attention in France, except perhaps for Islamist militants, fears deeply the prospect of destabilization or unrest in Algeria.

But it might be coming nonetheless. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s president, suffered a serious stroke six years ago and now seldom appears in public. Nonetheless at age 82, he (or those who speak for him) are insisting that he run for a fifth presidential term. Since Algeria’s elections are less than free, with the ruling party in full control of ballot access and vote counting, that means his victory is preordained. Since the Bouteflika announcement, hundreds of thousands of Algerians have taken to the streets in spirited but peaceful protests in cities across the country. They’ve been joined by their brethren in French cities.

Few seem to know the true balance of forces in Algerian politics: there is a powerful state apparatus linked to the army, but no strong political parties. Islamists won the first round of legislative elections in 1991, which provoked the army to stage a coup that set off a brutal civil war. Six years later, a party linked to the army won legislative elections, and in 1999, Bouteflika won the presidency and initiated a form of national reunification through amnesty. It is this Bouteflika, a young vanguard of Algeria’s liberation movement in the 1960s, a conciliatory figure after the civil war of the 1990s, and now the octogenarian figurehead of a regime widely seen as corrupt, who sits atop Algeria’s structure like a cork on a bottle. And no one knows what will happen when the cork is removed.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron’s government last week recalled its ambassador for consultations, and regional specialists are saying, perhaps wishfully, that the Islamists are not nearly as popular as they were in the ’90s. No one quite knows what the relevant analogies are. The Arab Spring, which led eventually to a military dictatorship in Egypt and a savage civil war in Syria, hardly seems promising. Nor does the revolt against Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi, which led, after France supported the rebels, to his death and the breakdown of Libya as a functioning state. The sad fact is that there are few attractive models for governmental succession in Arab world (one might look hopefully to Tunisia, though it’s a tiny country compared to Algeria).

The Franco-Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal captures well the ambiguity many feel. In a recent interview for Le Figaro, he welcomed massive peaceful demonstrations as the lifting of lethargy from a people who deserve better government than they have. He noted that Algeria is a rich country with a large number of educated and talented people. But he asked, “how does one pass to the next stage, of organizing free elections, repairing the damage done by 57 years of dictatorship and corruption, putting the country to back to work, providing a social blueprint. Who is going to lead that? Another Bouteflika produced in a lab of the security services? A committee of public safety? A helpful prophet?”

Sansal added that Islamists are always waiting in the wings, numerous and organized and determined. Algeria, he adds, is a conservative Muslim country. Salafism is a powerful force there, one the government has spent billions trying to counter through the development of a “true” Islam, building countless air conditioned mosques to rival the extremists. The result is that huge patches of the populace devote themselves daily to various forms of exorcism and have scant connection to modernity.

Sansal (and most other commentators) insist that the army’s power won’t fail—it controls the country completely and is determined to resist any Islamist challenge. But he also acknowledges that it never really won the civil war of the 1990s, that the Islamists were never defeated politically.

If Algeria were to collapse into chaos, France would be destabilized as well. The civil war resulted in a huge migration surge; this time it would be larger. Among the migrants would be a large number of Islamists, and illegal immigration would mean the French couldn’t control everyone who would come. And France, at least some quarters, is already an Islamic Republic in embryo.

Macron recognizes that Algeria could become the iceberg that drowns his presidency, easily surpassing his bodyguard scandal (the Benalla affair) and the Gilets Jaunes. His administration seems torn between public displays of political correctness and worries about Islamicization. During the campaign, he made a grand gesture of accusing France of “crimes against humanity” during the colonial period, then walked the statement back. One of his key legislative allies said recently there was no real difference between the Muslim headscarf and a headband worn by Catholic schoolgirls, only to rebuked by a top female cabinet member who observed that “no woman in the world has been stoned for not wearing a headband.”

Official France repeats over and over its support for Algerian self-determination while fearing that Algerians will make a terrible choice, one that deprives France of a valuable strategic partner and unleashes an unmanageable migration wave. The conservative journals are full of admonitions about the need for tough-minded realism while offering few suggestions as to what this might entail. France’s population was 17 times Algeria’s in 1830, the year of colonial conquest. Now it is less than double. De Gaulle was right to say that in liberating Algeria, France would have to find something else to worry about. But 57 years later, it is proving not so easy.

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” a savage civil war in Syria, ”
???????????????? What the phuck …

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The Iceberg That Could Sink Emmanuel Macron: I hope he will be sunk fast. France needs to be freed from this parasite, installed by the US regime.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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