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France faces potential military rebellion as President Emmanuel Macron opens attack on Islamic State

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An open letter warning that France could face a civil war was published recently. The letter that was signed by 1,000 military officers, both serving and retired, also contained the threat of a military coup in France.

The retired and serving officers who signed the letter had labelled ‘Political Islam’ as a serious threat and according to them, France’s President Emmanuel Macron’s failure to crack down on Islamists may lead to the disintegration of the nation, as reported by WION. 

They also hinted at the possibility of a military coup, to take back the control from the government. The opinions mentioned in the open letter were published by a far-right magazine in the month of April. The recently published open letter has met with outrage in the French government. 

Military sanctions on 18 soldiers were ordered as part of the crackdown following this outrage, reports suggested and according to the French armed forces Chief of staff, each of them will be presented before a senior military council and might be either forced into immediate retirement or face de-listing. 

Other signatories my face formal action as well. The French defence ministry says that by appealing to their peers to take up arms against the country, these servicemen have broken military rules.

A poll conducted after the release of the letter found that 58 per cent of the French people agree with the sentiments of this letter.

French opposition leader Marine Le Pen, who plans to contest against Macron in the next elections, decided to add more fuel to the fire by calling on the signatories of this open letter to support her bid for the presidency in 2022.

This clamour from the right-wing comes at a time when the French government is pushing for an anti-corruption bill. After facing many terror attacks in the last seven months, President Macron wants to tighten the surveillance powers of security agencies and is planning to use algorithms to detect activity on jihadist and extremist websites.

Gerald Darmanin, French Interior minister said, “One must know that when someone types five or six times a search for a video of a or six times a search for a video of a decapitation, for example, from IS (Islamic State group), on the internet, the intelligence services cannot know and follow that person. Tomorrow, we can know this information.” 

“The French security agency will ask the interior minister, the Prime Minister and the National Commission of Technical Intelligence, which is an independent administrative body that is already following telephone calls, the possibility to uncover the anonymity of the person who is conducting that search in order to be able – if the threat is grave and confirmed – to follow and eventually intervene,” he said.

France should take a lesson from its history and remember that democracy remains stable only as long as the civilian leadership, i.e. the people elected government remains in control of the armed forces. 

The signatories of the letter include 20 retired Generals and was released on the 60th anniversary of the 1961 failed coup attempt, Algiers putsch. In 1961, generals of the French army had launched a coup against the then-president Charles de Gaulle. The aim behind this coup was to stop the independence of Algeria.

While this letter may look like an outburst from the fringe, the right-wing has dragged the matter into the mainstream media. This series of events show that the threat of Islamic terrorism will dominate the election discourse in next year’s French elections.

(Source: WION)

 



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