French Presidents May Change, but Middle East Policy Is Plus la Meme Chose

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) 980-1037 was a leading philosopher in the Medieval Hellenistic Islamic tradition, whose philosophic theory was a comprehensive, detailed and rationalistic account of the nature of God and Being, in which he found a systematic place for the corporeal world, spirit and insight and logical though, including dialectic, rhetoric and poetry. The concept of reality and reason were central to Ibn Sina’s philosophy.


France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who was sworn in Wednesday, May 16, had previously asked leading French intelligence and Middle East experts to compile a report with recommendations on a wise Middle East-Persian Gulf policy.

The 26-page report submitted to him was signed: Ibn Sina.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Middle East sources were afforded access to this report, which Sarkozy has adopted. Here are its main points.

1. He is advised to carry on with the line set forth by Jacques Chirac and its central theme of opposition to the Iranian-Syrian axis. Paris should play an active role in the break-up of this alliance.

2. Chirac’s policy of defending Lebanon and its independence should be adopted. However, the report advises the new president, who was not a personal friend of the assassinated Lebanon prime minister Rafiq Hariri like his predecessor, to excise the Hariri syndrome from French foreign policy. Its authors maintain Chirac committed many errors with regard to Lebanon because he was too emotionally wrapped up with the Hariri family.

3. On Iran, the French experts advise Sarkozy to continue to stand against American or Israeli military action, while at the same time telling the Americans, the Iranians and the Europeans clearly that France is ready to take part in any diplomatic steps, including extreme international sanctions, or any other penalty, that results in keeping a nuclear bomb out of Iran’s reach.


Talk to Assad, dump Hizballah and the Palestinians


4. The new French president is advised to consider the adverse effect on French interests of an Arab nuclear race and an Arab nation gaining a nuclear weapon. Such a development is judged as dangerous as a nuclear Iran or an American or Israeli attack on Iran. Therefore, Sarkozy must do what he can to prevent any of these perils coming to be.

5. The experts point to the extreme danger of Iraq’s Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict infecting other parts of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Its spread would upend the limited political and religious equilibrium prevailing at present in the Gulf and the Middle East.

6. The French experts devoted several paragraphs to an assessment of policy in relation to Syrian president Bashar Assad and the Lebanese Hizballah. The new president is advised to enter into a dialogue with Assad, while getting tough with Hizballah and following Washington’s lead in declaring the Lebanese Shiite group a terrorist organization.

7. There is also a recommendation for the new French administration to come out against Lebanese president Emil Lahoud serving beyond September 2007. His replacement by any candidate dependent on and funded by Iran must be disqualified.

8. Sarkozy must not allow the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, in which France has deployed the largest contingent of 2,500 troops and a naval unit, to be assigned the task of disarming Hizballah. He should publicly call on the Shiite group to dismantle its militia and become a political party.

9. France should back Lebanon’s ruling anti-Syrian majority coalition, the March 14, headed by Saad Hariri.

10. The French experts offer the view that the Palestinians cannot hope to be a significant or influential Middle East force in the coming years. Sarkozy is therefore advised to leave them out of his regional policy calculus.

11. With regard to Israel, Paris is urged to continue to strengthen French economic, military and intelligence relations with Israel, while at the same time supporting the peace plan approved at the recent Arab League summit in Riyadh.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources disclose that Nicolas Sarkozy plans to hand this foreign policy blueprint to Francois Fillon, whom he appointed prime minister on May 17, and Dr. Bernard Kouchner, if he accepts the appointment of foreign minister.

Kouchner, a left-wing Socialist and founder of the international Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has a Jewish father and visited Israel numerous times.

His reaction to the report submitted in the name of Ibn Sina should be interesting.

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