France’s Guilt

The situation in the Middle East is currently threatening not just on the peace of its residents, but also world peace. The implications of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey, are beyond mere regional conflict, but have elements of global conflict, which threaten the global balance of power around the world. The waves of refugees threaten the social fabric and peaceful existence in various places in Europe and the Americas. We cannot ignore the hundreds of thousands of dead and displaced as a result of the various holy wars and sectorial wars around the region. Traditionally, the international community tended to blame Israel for the ongoing Middle East conflict. However, in the storm of the current conflict, which has decimated communities, erased borders, and created new ad-hoc areas of rule, illustrates that these issues have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The roots of these conflicts are based on the Sykes-Picot agreement which was signed between the representatives of Great Britain and France in 1916. France’s primary desire was to control Syria, which included dozens of minorities which could never co-exist and create a nation, and Lebanon, which was also a divided state among various sects and nationalities and therefore did not enjoy even a single day of peace. France was thus responsible for the creation of false entities, in which various minorities were oppressed by others, in ongoing conflict. These conflicts, in the end, brought about the boiling point of the “Arab Spring”, whose disastrous results are being felt around the world.

Today, France must illustrate a sense of humility, when proposing solutions to conflicts. From the beginning of modern history, all of the solutions proposed by France resulted in mass bloodshed, particularly in the Maghreb region, including Tunisia, Algeria, and even Morocco. In various areas of Africa, conflicts are the result of what colonialist France left behind. The Middle East is undergoing a terrible period, which is the result of the problematic reality that France created.

It appears that the political failures of superpowers do not always result in taking stock and learning lessons. These superpowers whose history is filled with disastrous political decisions are still trying to implement solutions in our area, which will likely result in new levels of damage. We must state clearly: France, first you much learn from your mistakes, and only then will you have the right to propose solutions to the problems that you created.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center
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