France And The Middle East

I have a degree in Middle East Studies and Conflict Management….but my interests first were ignited by movies like Beau Geste and Lawrence of Arabia and then my trips through the Middle East…..

In all that time what suck in my brain was France’s involve in desert warfare by trying to subjugate the tribes of North Africa…..and in doing so should have learned how to fight a desert war more so than most other nations…..

A paper that I recently read on France’s place in this region of the world……

  • The Middle East is a key stage for France’s foreign policy, one where it bids to prove its credentials as an international power, punching above its weight and demonstrating the independence that is so important to the French sense of place in the world.
  • In this context, the Arab uprisings and their subsequent upheavals have been a particular challenge, to such an extent that France attempted to recalibrate its strategy. Despite this, France soon settled back into its traditional realism by adopting an approach based on “reassurance”.
  • Under this approach, France sought to foster stability by reassuring its partners against their perceived anxiety in the face of domestic instability, regional changes, and international uncertainties. But “reassurance” did not deliver and France still faces key challenges in the region.
  • France also feels increasingly ‘alone in the desert’, with little European support. Even with armed conflicts, terrorism, and migration flows across the region, France has failed to rally its European partners around strategic purpose.
  • Emmanuel Macron’s ardent pro-Europeanism presents an opportunity for France, and for Europe. But France must move on from its “reassurance” approach and better embed its leadership in concerted European cooperation.

We here in the States hear a lot about what Great Britain is doing and possibly to a lesser extent what Germany is doing but we hear very little of France and its foreign policies…..

I think that if we are to work all aspects of the situation then we need to know what all players are doing….it is the only way for success.

2 thoughts on “France And The Middle East

  1. You have to balance France’s involvement in desert wars with the fact that they didn’t ever win any of them after the initial conquest. Once the subjugated ‘colonials’ organised against them, they were thrown out of everywhere. The French haven’t won a war since before Napoleon,(who also lost) and then rarely, unless you count victories against poor and ill-equipped North African countries during colonial expansion. Even if you include WW1, they were only on the winning side because other allies intervened to help them. Then they gave up in WW2, and needed those same allies to get their country back for them.
    They lost Indo-China in 1954, Algeria in 1962, and just about manage to hang on to some small interests in West Africa. For an organised nation with such a long military history, they are undoubtedly one of the most unsuccessful on record. But they can now grip the coat-tails of the US and UK, and try to recapture some of that faded glory once again. “On Les Aura!” I don’t think so…
    Best wishes, Pete.

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