French weekly magazines review
The worsening civil war in Syrian is one of the prime issues attracting comments in this week’s French magazines.
Le Canard Enchaîné paints the post-Bashar al-Assad era as a nightmare for the Americans due to the large number of Jihadists who have infiltrated the anti-al Assad revolutionaries.
There is little support in Washington for US involvement in a third war and for arms being shipped to the rebels in an election year writes the satirical journal. Le Canard however points to a contradiction, the fact that Western intelligence agencies have looked away while Saudi Arabia and Qatar stepped up heavy weapons shipment to the rebels.
Le Nouvel Observateur smuggled reporters into the besieged northern Syrian city of Aleppo.The team was able to reach the rebel stronghold of Salaheddine where they heard from the fighters about the war effort, their determination to die for a just cause. Le Nouvel Observateur carries their appeal for Western military support especially the supply of heavy weapons to counter the fire power of the al-Assad’s army.
Marianne raises an alarm about the plight of Syria’s Christians trapped between the insurgents and Bachar al-Assad’s army. They make up in percent of Syria’s population and the journal warns about the risks of a mass exodus of Christians fleeing Islamist hatred. Marianne doubts if Aramaic the language spoken by Jesus Christ and several communities across the hills and valleys of Syria would survive the civil war.
Le Canard Enchaîné underlines that France’s hands are tied behind its back even though Paris admitted the inevitability of military intervention in Mali. The paper cites hesitations within the African Union to set up an expeditionary force for Mali.
It points out that only two of four African countries recently visited by French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, favour the use of force: namely Niger constantly infiltrated by terrorists and Chad which has set the supply of sophisticated Milan missiles to its army, as a precondition for contributing troops to the force.
The journal reports that Fabius was given a cold reception in Burkina Faso, a traditional French ally, after a French foreign ministry official suggested that a coup d’état cannot be ruled out in the country eaten up by corruption which caused the military take over in Mali.
Le Canard gives three reasons why France won’t go to war in Mali. Military action it argues, would endanger the lives of six French hostages probably being by Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb controlling the northern part of Mali. According to the magazine, President Hollande won’t break his vow to terminate the “Françafrique” policy pursued by his predecessors that allowed France to make and unmake governments on its former colonies.
Algeria’s opposition to foreign interference in Africa is the third factor. Le Canard argues that the scars of the Algerian war of independence haven’t healed and the Algerians blame France for Moamer Kadhafi’s removal from power which has brought insecurity in the region. The Islamists in northern Mali laughing under their overgrown beards says Le Canard and this is why they could afford to lapidate a couple accused of forming a family outside wedlock, in a small northern Malian town, claiming to act in the name of the living God Allah.
The persisting Euro financial crisis also draws comments on some of this week’s magazines. L’ Express warns about a very perilous summer marked by divisions that are likely to reverse the gains of the EU June summits and make the markets crazy again. Spain has joined Greece in the club of badly burnt countries writes the journal.
Le Point warns that the crisis has left France dancing on a volcano as it isn’t sure who is next after Spain and Italy. The right-wing journal reports about secret negotiations carried out by Hollande to safeguard the euro as soon as he took office. There is also a fact file on his war room at the Elysée Palace and the crisis team of economists and diplomats working round the clock on the European dossier.
Le Canard Enchaîné takes its readers on a visit to the Fort de Brégançon, castle where François Hollande is poised to spend a less flashy holiday. The journal reports that the president moved to the 11th century palace after instructing his ministers to avoid shiny destinations.
The satirical weekly reports that the First Girl Friend Valérie Trierweiler inspected the castle prior to the president’s arrival not to take out any signs of luxury but to identify sections of the residence within the view of paparazzi.
According to Le Canard Enchaîné she doesn’t want her man to be photographed in kangaroo underwear like President Jacques Chirac who in 2001 was caught in the courtyard, binoculars in hand, trying to catch a glimpse of young women enjoying themselves on the Michael Schumacher’s yacht docked just off the coast of Fort Bregançon.