August 30, 2004


PARIS — The plight of two French journalists abducted by Islamic extremists in Iraq dominated French public life today as journalists, Muslim intellectuals and others rallied on the hostages’ behalf and top officials raced against an ultimatum issued by the kidnappers. . . .

The hostage ordeal has hit France hard. It is a gloomy rebuttal of the theory held by some-though not by most French government officials or those knowledgeable about Islam-that France’s anti-war, pro-Arab policies had inoculated the country against such aggressions.

Meanwhile, Iyad Allawi is giving the French some advice, which Greg Djerejian has translated. Excerpt:

The French, like all democratic countries, can’t content themselves with adopting a passive position. The Americans, British and other nations that are fighting in Iraq are not only fighting to protect Iraqis, they are fighting to protect their own countries.

The governments that decided to stay on the defensive will be the next targets of the terrorists. Terrorist attacks will occur in Paris, in Nice, in Cannes or in San Francisco. The time has come to act against terrorism, in the same fashion…that Europe fought Hitler. Every day, tens of people are killed in Iraq. They are not dying because we are going through a major national crisis, but because we have decided to combat evil. That’s why the entire international community must assist us, as rapidly as possible, to improve the security of our country.

…the U.S. decided to disembark in Normandy, to eliminate Hitler. They suffered heavy losses to accomplish this objective. The same thing is happening today. People must assume their responsibilities. The decision to assist Iraq is courageous. Let me tell you that the French, despite all the noise they make–‘We don’t want war!’–will shortly have to fight the terrorists.

Djerejian also translates an editorial from Le Monde suggesting that the French are catching on. Best bit: “We have touched the limits of anti-Americanism that seems to too often take the place of French foreign policy.”


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