New Navy Letter Warning of ‘Brewing’ Civil Warfare Prompts Outrage in France

2021-05-12 22:00:58

PARIS — The French prime minister and the chief of employees of the military have condemned an nameless letter signed by folks claiming to be active-duty troops warning about impending “civil struggle” in France.

Prime Minister Jean Castex informed Le Parisien newspaper that the letter was a “political maneuver” by the “excessive proper.” Gen. François Lecointre, the military chief of employees, mentioned that the signatories ought to stop the armed forces in the event that they wished to freely categorical their political views.

It’s unclear what number of troopers are behind the letter, the second such message from active-duty or retired army personnel to look prior to now month. The managing editor of Valeurs Actuelles, the right-wing journal that revealed each letters, mentioned the most recent was from “lively army personnel” and {that a} bailiff would certify their signatures.

When that may occur was unclear.

The nameless letter, addressed to President Emmanuel Macron, mentioned: “We see violence in our cities and villages. We see communitarianism taking maintain within the public area, in public debate. We see hatred of France and its historical past changing into the norm.”

The phrase “communitarianism” is regularly utilized in France to explain resistance to the supposedly universalist and colorblind French mannequin of society, by which id politics is anathema.

The letter continued: “A civil struggle is brewing in France and you understand it completely properly.” If an “revolt” breaks out, it mentioned, “the army will keep order by itself soil.”

The nameless letter got here in help of a earlier one, signed by some 1,500 largely retired recognized army personnel, together with dozens of generals, which described France as being in a state of disarray and warned of a doable coup in thinly veiled phrases.

The second letter, which is open for readers to signal, had garnered some 250,000 signatures of help as of Tuesday night.

The brand new letter is an uncommon escalation within the political involvement of army personnel, with active-duty troopers now backing retired officers. It has fanned the flames of an already heated debate on safety in France, the place a sequence of Islamist terrorist assaults over the previous seven months, in addition to different violence towards the police, have unfold unease.

With a presidential election lower than a yr away, the political ambiance is tense. Mr. Macron, shifting proper, has not too long ago toughened his stance on safety, and towards what he calls “Islamist separatism,” in an try and blunt the attraction of the far-right chief Marine Le Pen. She expressed sturdy help for the primary letter from the army, and urged the retired officers to hitch her marketing campaign.

The nameless signatories of the second letter, who described themselves as active-duty troopers from a youthful technology, mentioned the approaching civil struggle can be fueled by Islamism and id politics within the banlieues — the poor and marginalized neighborhoods the place many immigrant households dwell.

In open defiance of civilian management over the army, the letter criticized the federal government’s “cowardice” in coping with the alleged threats.

The signatories mentioned that a lot of them had served within the numerous antiterrorism operations that France has began overseas lately, together with the seven-year anti-Islamist operation within the Sahel, an enormous area of sub-Saharan Africa, which has had blended outcomes.

“They’ve supplied up their lives to destroy the Islamism that you’ve made concessions to on our soil,” the letter learn.

A major proportion of the army in France has lengthy supported the far proper in elections. Almost half of the police and army would vote for Ms. Le Pen within the first spherical of the 2022 presidential election, based on a survey revealed by the newspaper L’Opinion on Tuesday.

Reacting to the primary letter signed by retired generals, the French Military’s chief of employees, Normal Lecointre, mentioned that some signatories would go earlier than a senior army council and would face punishments starting from pressured full retirement to different disciplinary motion.

He softened that stance in a letter to army personnel on Tuesday, a duplicate of which The New York Instances obtained. It contained no menace of punishment however identified that the letters “have contributed to dragging the military into political debates the place it has neither the legitimacy nor the vocation to intervene.”

Citing a violation of army obligations, Gen. Lecointre inspired the signatories to “go away the establishment with the intention to freely categorical their concepts and convictions.”

Members of the far proper had been fast to voice their help for the brand new letter on Monday, simply as Ms. Le Pen had endorsed the primary letter in April, when she referred to as on the retired generals “to hitch our motion and participate within the battle that’s starting.”

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