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To Strike Syria, France Rattles Sword But Lawless in Africa, Franco-Phony

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 30 -- In the wake of the UK Prime Minister David Cameron modifying his Syria strike proposal and still seeing it voted down, French President Francois Hollande has presented his country as ready to hit Syria even before a September 4 "emergency debate."

  The reversal from the UK and French legal positions on the war in Iraq could not be more stark. But tellingly at the UN on August 29, right before the meeting of the Permanent Five members of the Security Council on Syria, France's Ambassador Alexis Lamek proved himself unable or unwilling to answer a simple question about international law.

Video here, from Minute 3:33.

  Inner City Press asked Lamek, repeatedly, if the UN's Intervention Brigade in Eastern Congo is a party to the armed conflict there, if the UN troops are in fact combatants.

  Legal experts have told Inner City Press it is not even a close question: when the UN uses force (here, attack helicopters) to try to "neutralize" armed groups, the UN is a combatant, a party to an armed conflict.

   Even the French-drafted Security Council press statement on the DRC, with a convoluted paragraph on when attacks are war crimes and when they are not, acknowledges the issue. But Lamek refused to answer. Has France under Hollande not only reversed its previous legal stance, but become lawless?

Perhaps France's lawlessness in its former colonies in Africa has leached out. In intervening in Mali, France claimed vaguely it was "in the framework" of international law, then switched theories.

  Now, a French Defense Department spokesman tweets that France will be closing 14 of its embassies in for economic reasons, and 22 satellite offices and cultural centers, giving as examples Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Sao Tome -- that is, African countries which were NOT French colonies.

  It's a country turning in on itself or the remnants of its empire, while Hollande tries to say the French language is on the rise. Saying it doesn't make it so. Watch this site.


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