Why Sarkozy went to war in Libya
The French president spent five years as Minister of the Interior, building the
image of a radical crime and immigration fighter (in areas related to people of
Muslim origin). Apparently Sarkozy wants to repeat the political strategy of the
2007 campaign when he sought to follow the advice of Karl Rove (Bush
strategist). Instead of just trying to build a majority, it is more effective to
promote controversial issues such as immigration, identity, crime and Islam,
which may provoke the fragmentation of the opposition.
by Reginaldo Nasser / Carta Maior
Besides the oil (85% of exports) and import of arms (1 billion dollars) the
issue of immigration comes up as a major concern of the European Community in
relation to recent events in Libya and North Africa.
One of the words most used by European diplomats in recent days to refer to the
action of Gaddafi is "unacceptable." However, in recent years, it has been
perfectly acceptable for the governments of the European Community to outsource
the protection of their borders to the this same "dictator."
Over three years the police apparatus of Libya was used to keep migrants away
from the sacred soil of Europe. "We are extremely concerned about developments
in North Africa" ??- said a spokesman for the European Commissioner for Internal
Affairs - Michele Cercone, who visited Libya last year to carry out cooperation
agreements with the promise for assistance of 5 billion euros a year in exchange
for the cooperation of Colonel Kadhafi who warned that "Tomorrow, maybe Europe
is no longer European, but black."
Two years ago an agreement was concluded between Italy andLibya that allowed
the Italian navy to intercept the boat people and return them toLibya, one of
the main routes of entry into Europe because of its proximity to southern Italy.
Thus, it is estimated that in 2008 more than 32,000 illegal immigrants entered
Italy via Libya, and in 2009 after the agreement, only 7,000 immigrants arrived
at their destination.
Those who failed to enter Europe were detained in camps inLibya showing
Europe's serious discrimination and xenophobia against African immigrants.
According to the Italian government, Libya has already intercepted more than 2.5
million immigrants over the past five years. Refugees who have no possibility of
applying for asylum or access to any effective resource risk being forced to
return to their country of origin where they may face persecution or torture.
In contrast to his inept response to the riots in Tunisia andEgypt, Sarkozy not
only condemned the regime of Gaddafi, but was the first to recognize the interim
National Transitional Council, in Benghazi, and to take the initiative of
getting the resolution approved to authorise air attacks. He estimated that it
would be an excellent opportunity to show off how someone superior in national
politicking could be bold and internationally put France in the "pantheon of
great nations." aiming to increase his popularity.
Furthermore, the intervention in Libya would be a way to reassert his position
in Europe, and especially as a counterweight to the political and economic power
of Germany in the European Union. It's a message that says that if Europe is to
be taken seriously as a world power, the French military is a mainstay of its
In messages on radio and television, the French president tried desperately to
improve his image, hailing the "great hope" brought by Arab riots. Dominique
Paille, President of the French Department of Immigration and Integration,
observed "a few weeks ago we were watching the train of history go by, it was
time for us to become one of the locomotives ourselves."
In turn, Claude Guéant, Minister of the Interior and Immigration, a man in the
confidence of the president, wanting to compete in the ideological land of the
extreme right-wing (the new leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, comes
up first in searches) stated that "because of uncontrolled immigration, the
French sometimes have the feeling that they are no longer at home."
Do not forget that Sarkozy spent five years as Minister of the Interior building
the image of a radical fighter against crime and immigration (in areas related
to people of Muslim origin).
Apparently Sarkozy wants to repeat the political strategy of the 2007 campaign
when he sought to follow the advice of Karl Rove (Bush strategist). Instead of
trying to build a majority, it is more effective to promote controversial issues
such as immigration, identity, crime and Islam, which may provoke the
fragmentation of the opposition. The result, in the long term, is a greater
level of social dissent and violence.
The difference, and it is much more serious, is that now the focus of domestic
law and order is closely connected to French and European foreign policy. In a
sense, France wants to reprise its role of the nineteenth century, when European
colonial powers were seeking to project their power and protect their interests
outside of Europe.
. (*) Professor of International Relations, PUC (SP) and the Graduate Program
San Tiago Dantas (Unesp, Unicamp and PUC-SP).