An open letter warning that France could face a civil war was published recently. The letter, which was signed by 1,000 military officers, both serving and retired, also threatened a military coup in France.
The group of retired and serving officers labelled ‘Political Islam’ as a serious threat. 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.
The signatories also hint at the possibility of a military coup, to take back the control. These opinions mentioned in this open letter were published by a far-right magazine this month.
The signatories of the aforementioned letter include 20 retired Generals and has been 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. The recently published open letter has met with outrage in the French government.
The crackdown following this outrage, reports of military sanctions on 18 soldiers 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 can also face formal action. 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 recently conducted poll found that 58 per cent of the French people agree with the sentiments of the letter. French opposition leader Marine Le Pen, who plans to contest against Macron in the next elections, has added more fuel to the fire. She has called 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 several terror attacks in the last seven months, President Macron wants to tighten the surveillance powers of security agencies, 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.
While, undoubtedly, this letter was merely an outburst from the fringe, the right-wing has dragged the matter into the mainstream media. This can be taken as a clear sign that the threat of Islamic terrorism will dominate the election discourse in next year’s French elections.