10 APR 2011
Nicolas Sarkozy has transformed France from one-time vociferous pacifist to one of the West's eagerest warmongers. He says his actions are in the name of democracy, but political analysts believe those same actions could come back to haunt him.
By Sophie Pilgrim | France24
In January this year, French president Nicolas Sarkozy told a roomful of journalists: “A colonial power – even after several decades – is never justified in making a judgment on the internal affairs of its former colony – and you know it, and everybody knows it.”
He was talking about Tunisia then. But two months later, the president has unashamedly changed tack. On Tuesday night, French forces attacked the presidential palace of another of its former colonies, Ivory Coast.
The operation is part of a UN peacekeeping mission – to which, according to Ban Ki-moon, President Sarkozy “responded positively”. The Elysee Palace released a statement Monday insisting that the operation was intended to “neutralise” heavy weapons belonging to troops loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo - who refuses to give up the presidency to internationally recognised election winner Alassane Ouattara.
The mission came just after France joined a coalition of armed forces against the Gaddafi regime in Libya (a former Italian colony). But that itself followed a dire diplomatic start to the year, after which France was criticised for dithering over Tunisia and Egypt, as the masses fought for democracy there.
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