‘Civil war is brewing’: Serving French soldiers send Macron Another Warning Letter
A group of serving French soldiers has written a fresh open letter to President Emmanuel Macron, advising him that France’s’survival’ is at risk as a result of his ‘concessions’ to Islamism.
The message, which was published late Sunday in the right-wing journal Valeurs Actuelles (Today’s Values), mirrors the tone of a related letter published in the same magazine last month, which warned of impending civil war and called for military intervention against “Islamists.”
The letter was slammed as a “crude maneuvre” by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, a close associate of Macron, who accused the unnamed signatories of lacking “courage.”
The previous letter, which was signed by 1,000 people, including serving officers and 20 semi-retired generals, warned of France’s ‘disintegration’ due to radical Islamic ‘hordes’ in the suburbs.
The incendiary letter ignited a firestorm in France, with Prime Minister Jean Castex calling the letter a “unacceptable intrusion” and France’s top general vowing that those responsible would be disciplined.
It’s unclear how many people are behind the new letter or what ranks they hold – though their secrecy is presumably due to the uproar encountered by the writers of the previous letter, who faced disciplinary proceedings after 18 officers signed the letter.
Unlike the previous letter, it is available to the public to sign, with Valeurs Actuelles reporting that more than 93,000 had done so by Monday morning.
‘We’re not worried about expanding the mandates or occupying new territories.’ The letter addressed to Macron and his cabinet said, “We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country.”
The writers identified themselves as active-duty soldiers from the military’s youngest generation, a so-called “generation of flames” who had served in combat.
‘They have given their lives to extinguish the Islamism that you have tolerated on our soil.’
They have appeared to have participated in the Sentinelle surveillance operation in France, which was initiated in response to a series of jihadist attacks in 2015.
They noted that “France is nothing but a source of sarcasm, disdain, and even hate” for certain religious groups.
‘If civil war breaks out, the military will maintain order on its own soil… civil war is brewing in France, as you are well aware,’ it said.
The letter arrives amid a tense political climate ahead of the 2022 elections, when far-right leader Marine Le Pen is predicted to be Macron’s biggest opponent once again.
According to analysts, Macron has shifted to the right in recent months to keep Le Pen from capitalizing on a string of attacks blamed on Islamist militants who recently immigrated to France in late 2020.
‘I understand you don’t do this kind of stuff in secret while you’re in the military,’ Darmanin told BFM television. ‘These individuals have chosen to remain anonymous. Is this bravery? Is it possible to remain anonymous?’
Former French President Francois Hollande weighed in on the issue, expressing surprise that serving soldiers could share such sentiments.
‘How do we say that today’s army has those emotions and a willingness to challenge the Republic’s very principles?’ he said on France Inter radio.
In a letter sent last month, Prime Minister Jean Castex described the rare military interference in politics as “an effort against all of our republican values, of honor, and the duty of the army.”
General Francois Lecointre, the chief of staff of France’s armed forces, warned that those who signed it would face penalties ranging from compulsory retirement to disciplinary action.
‘These general officers will each go before a higher military council,’ Lecointre said. The President of the Republic signs an order expelling them at the conclusion of this process.’
They’ll risk their pay and benefits as part of the reserve of senior officers, as well as their ability to use their rank.
‘This is intolerable,’ said Defence Minister Florence Parly. Naturally, there would be repercussions.
Anti-immigration extremists with racial attitudes and close links to the far-right Rassemblement National were said to be behind the message (National Rally).
Christian Piquemal, 80, who led the French Foreign Legion before losing his retired officer rights after being arrested while participating in an anti-Islam protest in 2016, was the lead signatory.