France: Macron’s government and soldiers clash over “civil war” warning | News Emmanuel Macron


The government of French President Emmanuel Macron reacted with fury after a group of serving French soldiers issued an open letter warning that a “civil war” was brewing because of its “concessions” to “Islamism,” weeks after a similar message from elements of the army. rocked the elite.

The letter, published Sunday on the site of the right-wing magazine Valeurs Actuelles, echoes that published by the same publication last month but appears to have been written by an unknown number of young soldiers still in active service.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, a close ally of Macron, on Monday accused the anonymous signatories of the second letter of lacking “courage” while Defense Minister Florence Parly dismissed it as part of a ” crude political ploy ”.

Prime Minister Jean Castex, meanwhile, told Le Parisien that the letter was a “political maneuver” by the “far right”.

But he was greeted by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, seen as Macron’s main rival for next year’s presidential election.

Some members of the government had also criticized him for the previous letter, which had been signed by a handful of officers and around 20 semi-retired generals.

‘Generation of fire’

“We’re not talking about extending your terms or winning over others. We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country ”, indicates the last letter addressed to Macron and his cabinet.

The perpetrators described themselves as soldiers of the younger generation of the army, a so-called “fire generation” who had experienced active service.

“They offered their lives to destroy Islamism to which you have made concessions on our soil,” they wrote.

They also claimed to have served in the Sentinel security operation in France, launched after a wave of attacks in 2015.

They accused that, for some religious communities, “France means nothing other than an object of sarcasm, contempt or even hatred”.

“If a civil war breaks out, the army will maintain order on its own soil … civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly”, the letter indicates.

Unlike the previous letter, the last letter can be signed by the public, Valeurs Actuelles claiming that more than 160,000 people had done so on Monday afternoon.

“Is it courage?

A senior military headquarters official told AFP that the armed forces would not drop the unanswered letter.

“A firm reminder will be made by the command on respect for duty,” said the officer, who asked not to be named, adding that remaining apolitical was essential to maintain the credibility of the army.

“We can have personal convictions but the armed forces are apolitical and have absolute loyalty to the elected president. If you feel bad you can leave the army with a clear conscience, ”the officer said.

“I believe that when you are in the army, you do not do this stuff underground,” Darmanin told BFM television. “These people are anonymous. Is it courage? Be anonymous? “

“It’s part of a crass political scheme,” Parly told the same channel. “He uses all the rhetoric, the vocabulary, the tone, the references which are those of the extreme right.”

Analysts say Macron has turned to the right in recent months to prevent Le Pen and his National Rally party from exploiting a series of attacks in late 2020 blamed on “Islamist extremists” who recently immigrated to France.

Civil war is “brewing,” replied Le Pen during a visit to western France. “In any case, it’s a risk. Of course, there is always a risk of civil war, ”she said, adding that she welcomed the second letter as she had the first.

“This is clearly not a call for insurgency,” she said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t support him.”

Castex had qualified the rare intervention in politics of military personalities in the letter of last month “of initiative against all our republican principles, honor and the duty of the army”.

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General François Lecointre, said those who signed it would face penalties ranging from forced full retirement to disciplinary action.





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