Home World Will France lose its influence in the Maghreb forever? | Politics | Al Jazeera

Will France lose its influence in the Maghreb forever? | Politics | Al Jazeera

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After Australia withdrew from the previously signed submarine agreement with France, and several weeks after the crisis in France’s relations with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, France has directed its heavy diplomatic cannon on friendly relations with the Maghreb countries, especially Algeria. Its relations with France have deteriorated sharply. French President Emmanuel Macron has recently questioned the existence of an “Algerian nation” before French colonization of Algeria, and criticized the political system led by Algerian President Abdul-Majid Teben.

This diplomatic crisis occurred during a sensitive period and may not necessarily benefit France, but it may be useful for Macron. He is preparing for a fierce election struggle with the extreme right, which is honing all the weapons of fascism to reach the Elysee Palace. Then Macron found that he had reason to use his recent sharp position as an important weight in the campaign game to prove that he was the most determined candidate related to French sovereignty and historical narrative, and the candidate most faithful to the values ​​of the Republic. . According to many far-right supporters in France, the values ​​of the Republic are threatened by refugees and immigrants.

The entanglement between French and Moroccans

Although France was forced to withdraw from the Arab colonies in North Africa in the 1960s, the relationship between the two sides continued due to various reasons such as common political and economic interests and the French cultural influence left by long-term colonialism. France tried to maintain a safe distance from the political regime that took power after colonialism ended, and sometimes insisted on avoiding issues that might lead to tensions between France and the Maghreb countries, even if the inevitability of history determines that there must be differences on some issues.

For example, in Algeria, France abides by the principle of “non-interference nor ignorance”. While monitoring the development of the situation in Algeria, it avoids direct intervention because the political class and people of Algeria are very sensitive to any French role. In January 1992, after the leading election result of the “Islamic Salvation Front” was abolished, the shock of former French President François Mitterrand became the target of the Algerian authorities’ leaders to take advantage of the situation. Conduct a national mobilization. Observers at the time believed that the French president’s statement was nothing more than a gift to the ruling Algerian authorities, because the army helped mobilize the public opinion behind it, especially because France was immobile in the bloody 1988 incident.

This situation has been repeated many times between Algeria and France. In February 1995, France expressed its willingness to accept the peace initiative put forward by the Algerian opposition in Rome, and proposed to hold a meeting on what happened in Algeria during the “Black Decade”, but the Algerian authorities rejected the initiative, accusing France of interfering in its internal affairs and planning Colonial retaliation conspiracy. In 2000, French President Jacques Chirac personally intervened and deleted the content of the French education law that recognized France’s active role in the colony. Earlier, Algerian politicians expressed anger at the content, saying that France deliberately insulted the martyrs of Algeria’s independence and revolution.

All this confirms to France that any unestimated comments on the domestic situation in Algeria will have serious consequences. Therefore, unlike the United States and the European Union, when the public demonstrations broke out in Algeria in February 2019, the French government did not support them, while the United States and Europe Said that this is the right of Algerians. This hesitant official position was made by former Prime Minister Edward Philip. In an interview with French media, he stated that Algeria is a sovereign country and Algerians themselves must make important decisions that affect their future. As an economic, intelligence, and strategic partner, Algeria’s intelligence services have played an important role in tracking the jihadist networks that have been active in Europe since the 1980s. The purpose of these statements is to keep France away from these problems, not to lose Algeria.

The situation in Algeria is also reflected in the relationship between France and Morocco. Although due to the different colonial systems imposed by France on Morocco, the sensitivity between the two countries is not so sensitive. Many French presidents, including Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, tried to establish strong relations with Morocco. Similarly, Macron, who went to Morocco immediately after a month in office, did the same to recall his previous experience. Deals and projects concluded in Casablanca while working at the Rothschild Bank.

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During this visit, Macron met with a number of Moroccan officials headed by the Prime Minister and the leaders of the Moroccan Parliament. Before attending the royal dinner, he met with King Mohammed VI. After the visit, Macron stood in front of the media at a press conference, confirming that he had noticed that the king was very interested in the social movements taking place in rural Morocco. At the same time, France is keen to support Morocco’s position in many international forums, especially on the Sahara issue, which is Morocco’s top national issue. France supports Morocco’s autonomy proposal, believing that it is a serious solution to a real crisis.

On June 14, 2017, French President Macron met with King Mohammed VI of Morocco at the Royal Palace in Rabat, Morocco

Detonated landmines for the election

I am with everyone who defends the French flag, the blue, white, and red of the flag. If Macron fulfills his promise to us, I will vote for him in the next election.

(Marguerite, the daughter of Algerian Haki soldiers, made the above statement after talking to French President Macron)

Although France tries to maintain good relations with Morocco and Algeria, French public opinion makers are keen to change their attitudes towards the Maghreb country from time to time in order to serve its political interests and reclassify the relationship between France and the former colonies.

For example, in June 2020, the French ambassador to Rabat, Helen Le Garr, tweeted to thank the chair of the Moroccan Development Model Committee Chakib Ben Moussa for handing her a “progress report” on the development plan, namely Mohamed Six The progress of the political, economic and social road map that the King of the World has been demanding since 2019. The tweet was seen as a direct interference in the internal affairs of Morocco, which caused great public outrage. At this time, observers questioned the intentions of French diplomats. Although the topic of French interference in the internal affairs of the Maghreb was very sensitive, France The diplomats publicly emphasized the actions of the Maghreb countries to embarrass them.

The French ambassador’s tweet was released a few months after Macron’s tweet. After Morocco decided to close the border due to the spread of the new crown virus, Macron asked Morocco to provide convenience for stranded French citizens in a tweet. Moroccan public opinion believes that this move lacks respect for the country and its institutions, and lacks the diplomatic language normally used by the government.

In the relevant context, the French President Macron’s government did not hesitate to directly confront Algeria and raised some questions that France is convinced that it is a red line for Algerians. A series of upgrades to Algeria began on September 20, when the French President received the families of the “Haki” at the Elysee Palace. These Arabs took up arms to fight with France during the Algerian Liberation War from 1954 to 1962. Their country. Macron announced a compensation plan for them and apologized to them for all the hardships they experienced on behalf of France.

Macron asks for forgiveness (Al Jazeera)

At the same meeting, the French president expressed regret for the families’ refusal to set foot on Algerian soil and emphasized that he will work to compensate the surviving Haki and the families of the deceased for the abuse suffered. They were persecuted when the French Republic abandoned them in Algeria. After arriving in France, they experienced harsh conditions. They gathered in camps that did not meet the minimum housing standards, some were imprisoned, and their children were not allowed to study with French children in French schools.

Macron certainly knew that raising the issue of the Haki would strain relations with Algeria, but a source close to the Elysee Palace confirmed that the reception of the Haki and their families took place after months of secret planning because of the French president. It seems that they want to achieve as many political benefits as possible to preserve the chance of re-election. In the upcoming elections, he will face preparations to overthrow his far-right through a firm “national” stand.

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At the reception, Macron talked to a lady named “Margaret”, the daughter of a Halki. She interrupted the French president more than once to protest France’s failure to abide by its promises. The president promised her to change the situation. She said, “He (Macron) told me that he understood our suffering and was affected by it. I cried after hearing these words. Then he assured me that everything would be resolved. He heard what I wanted to say. I am very grateful to him.”

The French president has no intention to persuade Marguerite only of his position, but to convey his message to the Haki people who often vote for the far-right and the French right-wing supporters behind them; they sympathize with the Haki people because The Haki left their homeland and raised the French flag. They did not like the way the French army retreated from Algeria.

General François Meyer, Salah Abdulkerim and Bonia Talal were commended at the Elysee Palace commemorating the Algerian Haki who helped the French army in the Algerian War of Independence , With French President Emmanuel Macron and Junior Minister of Veterans Affairs Genevieve Dariusek

Unsurprisingly, in the upcoming elections, Macron’s right-wing rival “Marina Le Pen” quickly entered the battle and commented on Macron’s actions against the Haki people on Twitter, saying that the French president was doing this for the election. His generosity cannot erase the contempt for the Haki people over the past few decades, and the president himself declared in 2017 that what happened in Algeria was the harm caused by crimes against humanity to French fighters. In addition, the number of visas granted by France to citizens of Morocco and Algeria has decreased by 50%, and the number of visas granted to citizens of Tunisia has decreased by 30%. The French Interior Minister Gerard Dalmanan believes that this decision is based on the refusal of these countries After the illegal immigration in the detention center, France made a natural response.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Britta believes that this decision is unreasonable for many reasons. He stated that Morocco handles immigration and personal mobility with a responsible logic and necessary balance, that is, to promote the flow of migrant students and businessmen, and uphold its responsibility for the phenomenon of illegal immigration. Britta said that Morocco has provided about 400 certificates for people in an illegal situation in France, but France is surprised that these deportees need to be tested for the new coronavirus like citizens of other countries before entering its territory. However, France punishes Moroccans because it cannot persuade deportees to undergo inspections. As far as Algeria is concerned, it summoned the French ambassador François Guarte and informed him of the formal protest against France’s restrictions on the issuance of visas to Algerian citizens. It considered the decision to be unilateral and inappropriate, especially this one. The decision occurred on the eve of the Algerian delegation’s trip to France to coordinate the issue of illegal immigration.

However, these angry reactions did not alarm the French president. He wanted to show that he was capable of restricting the entry of foreigners into France, thus touching the feelings of the right-wing masses, highlighting his desire to expel illegal residents at any time, even if it is provocative and provocative. France has a long history of Maghreb countries. Macron did not stop there. Instead, he came out on October 2 to question the existence of the Algerian nation before French colonization. He was surprised that Algerians paid attention to the French era and ignored the Ottoman era when the “Turks occupied Algeria”.

Macron questioned the existence of the Algerian nation (Al Jazeera)

When receiving 18 Algerian French youths (mostly descendants of the Haki people), the French president stated that Algeria’s military and political system was built on rent linked to memory. He accused the Algerian political class and military of creating hostility and hostility towards France. Hatred, saying that Algerian President Abdul-Majid Teben is trapped in an extremely complex and difficult system. After these statements, the President of Algeria announced the recall of the ambassador to France for consultations and reminded France of its crimes, which were “uncountable, uncountable and without limitation.” A few hours later, facing a French military plane flying to the Sahel region of Africa, Algeria announced the closure of its airspace.

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Will France lose the Maghreb under Macron’s leadership?

Five years ago, Macron showed in his first election that he was a young candidate far away from the typical French political discourse and was willing to look at things in a different way. He stated that France had committed “endangering humanity” during the occupation of Algeria. “Sin” gave Maghreb public opinion a happy surprise. But now many things seem to have changed. Macron has recently returned to the French attitude of the past few decades.

But this arrogant French policy is not without cost. In the process of France’s attention to the domestic rights equation, the strong relationship with the Maghreb countries in favor of new partners is gradually leaving France’s control. As a historical extension of French economic influence, Algeria has begun the process of opening up to China. Today, France ranks second in Algeria’s list of trading partners, after China, although the two countries’ trade exchanges tripled between 1999 and 2013. Algeria’s fuel supply to France accounts for 95% of its exports. 450 French companies are active in Algeria and provide 40,000 jobs. All of these economic interests are threatened under the weight of the current political crisis.

As far as Morocco is concerned, it has also begun to look for new partners. France lost its position as Morocco’s most important trading partner, replaced by Spain and China. China almost got the express train connecting Marrakech and Agadir in southern Morocco. protocol. China also hopes to get a share of the project to extend the high-speed rail line between Casablanca and Marrakech.

On the military front, France’s biggest and most important loss has occurred since Macron’s rise. France’s war against Islamic groups on the coast of Africa failed to win the support of some African and European forces. Then it fought alone and experienced the failure of the war. It caused condemnation from its Western allies in front of the Arabs. It is now failing to achieve its goals. Undertake a partial withdrawal. In view of France’s military failure and France’s involvement in Libya in a way that both Algeria and Morocco are dissatisfied with, Algeria has recently tended to be friendly to Russia and benefit from their arsenal, while Morocco tends to look for locations in the United Kingdom and the United States. Play a role in the Atlantic Alliance, especially considering that the recognition of the United States is very important for its acquisition of the sovereignty of Western Sahara.

All of this happened when France regressed on a global scale and was excluded from the alliance of the United States, Britain and Australia against China in the Pacific. This regress made the Maghreb countries tend to build new ones from countries with greater say today. The alliance, and redefining the relationship with France, makes it based on reciprocity and completely liberated from the colonial heritage. On the other hand, it is clear that France and its president seek the legitimacy of elections in a national tone, sticking to the old equations and disgraceful chapters of the past, causing France to suffer political and economic losses. In the long run, the limited gains of any party in next year’s elections will not be able to make up for these losses.

In the end, France’s strategy made it look like someone who planted mines around to protect himself, but he soon discovered that when he realized he needed to move again and couldn’t stay isolated forever, those mines would precede others. The man exploded on himself. When it comes to return to normalcy, when French diplomacy has passed the grand elections, the pursuit of rights and the fear of refugees, France may find that too many landmines have been planted this time, and the loss may never be the same as before. That’s all back, especially when Moroccans saw dozens of options before them, which made up for their chaotic and unhealthy relationship with France, and even gave them a sense of equality that they had never obtained from the northern Mediterranean.


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