Once again, France stands number one. French President Francois Hollande on Monday called on ragtag opposition of Syria to form a provisional government. He said France would recognize such a government as legitimate and lawful. Hollande said this while speaking to a gathering of France’s ambassadors. Many discerning observers believe that it is a good and well-calculated move by the French president and rest of the world should welcome it. The president wanted to pile up pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through such an audacious statement. However, it is yet to be seen how Syrian government and its allied countries respond to the statement.
It may be pertinent to mention here that France was the first country to take practical step against Libyan dictator Col. Muammer al-Qaddafi. France set up a no-fly zone and actually forced other Western countries to help oust the dictator. France also provided arms and ammunition to the rebels and helped them fight against the security forces loyal to the regime. Later, the United States and some other Western countries jumped into the violence-wracked country and empowered rebels to oust Qaddafi. After a struggle of few weeks, the rebels stood victorious as they succeeded to capture and kill the dictator.
Why France is not playing an active role to restore peace and stability in volatile Syria? France and other Western countries were actually supported by a United Nations resolution that allowed them entry in Libya and end violence. In the case of Syria, Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions moved against the rule of Bashar al-Assad in the United Nations Security Council. Both the countries, Russia and China, are opposing any foreign intervention in Syria while they themselves are supporting the Assad regime. Both the countries have their vested interests in Syria; therefore, continuation of Assad’s family in power is in their interest.
There is one more problem in Syria. Opposition in the volatile country remains badly fragmented and there are little chances of all the opposition forces getting united under one banner. Therefore, the French president’s offer to form provisional government in the country will likely go to waste. However, it is one of a kind offer from the French president and it is hoped the opposition forces will put their best to get together under one banner.
Hollande, in his speech, also urged Russia and China to soften their stance on Assad’s regime and help world powers to throw away the dictator. We see that Russia, China and Iran have made a bloc against the United States and its Western allies and the Syrian regime is benefitting from this arrangement.