Another ‘War is Peace’ Award (This Time Hollande Wins!)

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How appropriate. After having invaded the African country of Mali under false pretenses, with no legal justification or international mandate, where a bloody trail of that nation’s destruction lies in the wake, what better way for the “international community” to honor French President Francois Hollande than to give him an international peace prize!

In this case it may be more appropriate than one might first imagine. The prize, awarded by UNESCO, is known as the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize in honor of the authoritarian president of of the Ivory Coast from 1960-1993. Houphouët-Boigny was a reliable Cold War partner of the US and especially France, often doing Western bidding in Africa. He impoverished the Ivory Coast with ill-advised economic policies (“growth without development”), amassed a personal fortune of some $11 billion while in public office, and in a great act of hubris the twice-married Catholic leader with a child born by his mistress proceeded to spend $300 million to build the largest Catholic church in the world — larger than the Vatican — smack in the middle of the slums. He is even memorialized next to Jesus in one of the stained-glass panels. Take That!

Why did peace prize winner Hollande fabricate stories about “Islamists” taking over Mali to justify his military’s bloody bombing campaign, when in fact the Islamist component was but a minor part of the ongoing Tuareg fight for independence in upper Mali? And while France has openly supported radical Islamists in their successful takeover of Libya and ongoing attacks against the government of Syria?

Could it be, as suggested in this very provocative article in the journal of the Strategic Culture Foundation, that France was over-eager to show its new Rafale fighter jets in action in hopes of scoring the “deal of the century” — a $12 billion sale of these thus far tepidly received fighters to India? After all who is going to argue with France taking out a bunch of Islamic radicals who we are told are over-running Africa? What better cover than the global war on terror?

As the article points out:

“Only four days after France began bombing the West African country of Mali on 11 January with state-of-the-art Rafale fighter jets, President Francois Hollande and his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, made a rather odd-looking trip to the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf…

The urgent nature of the French delegation to Abu Dhabi and Dubai soon transpired. From media reports, top of the French agenda in the oil-rich emirates was a certain matter of business: a deal to sell the sheikhs Rafale fighter jets – the same fighter jets that were spearheading France’s ‘surprise’ full-scale military intervention in Mali…”

And it continues:

“But, as it turns out, the French sales pitch in the Persian Gulf was only a rehearsal for the real fighter-jet bonanza to come. Last week, one month after Operation Serval began in Mali, the French president flew to India for a high-powered two-day visit joined by a phalanx of officials. This was Hollande’s first overseas visit outside Europe and French-speaking Africa since his election last year.

“On this occasion, Hollande was accompanied in India by Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and four other cabinet members, including Laurent Fabius. Also in tow were more than 60 leaders of French commercial companies.

“Arriving on 14 February and greeted by Indian premier Manmohan Singh, French English-language broadcaster France 24 reported the importance of Hollande’s purpose in no uncertain terms: ‘The two-day visit will be dominated by trade issues, including a $12-billion contract for Rafale fighter jets, dubbed “the deal of the century”’ in France.”

War is peace! And it brings bigger dividends!

Follow me on Twitter @DanielLMcAdams

7:54 am on February 23, 2013
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