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Why France Is Playing "Stupid" On Iran

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Source: Asia Times


Foreign minister Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio yesterday that Paris would not accept a "fools' game." Photograph: Pool/REUTERS

PARIS - US Secretary of State John Kerry has famously stated the US "is not blind" or "stupid" in its push to clinch a historic deal over the Iranian nuclear program.[1] So now that the world has been informed, he must, cryptically, have been talking about France.

The failed Geneva negotiations this past weekend over a temporary nuclear deal at least carried the merit of revealing who is really blocking it: the axis of fear and loathing composed by the Likudniks in Israel, the House of Saud, and the Francois Hollande administration in France. 

Torrents of bytes have already detailed how Israel routinely hijacks US foreign policy. Here's yet one more graphic demonstration of how Wag the Dog works. Last Friday evening, President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu asking him not to derail Geneva. Bibi then duly picked up the phone and called, in succession, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Hollande and asked them ... to derail Geneva.  

Hollande was the only one who followed Bibi's marching orders. And all this after Kerry himself had been lectured by Bibi at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Friday morning. 

Flash forward to the coda, early Sunday morning. Not by accident, Wendy Sherman, the lead US negotiator on the Iranian nuclear dossier, a certified Israeli-firster and borderline racist,[2] flew from Geneva straight to Israel to duly "reassure" her true leader, Bibi, that no deal would be clinched. 

It's no secret that Bibi and the Likudniks also run a great deal of Capitol Hill. Apart from bombing Geneva, Bibi may also rack up another temporary victory, with the US Congress about to add even more sanctions on Iran by attaching them to the National Defense Authorization Act. 

Meet Bandar Fabius 

As far as French behavior is concerned, it is conditioned as much by the formidable Israeli lobby in Paris as hard cash from Gulf petro-monarchies. 
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It certainly helped that, according to The Times of Israel, French parliament member Meyer Habib -- also a holder of an Israeli passport, a former official Likud spokesperson in France, and a close pal of Bibi's -- called French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to tell him Israel would attack Iranian nuclear installations if the current deal on the table was clinched.[3] 

Call it the AIPAC effect. Habib is the vice-president of the Conseil Representatif des Institutions juives de France, or CRIF -- the French equivalent to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The ghostwriter of President Hollande's speeches also happens to be a member of CRIF. 

Fabius, grandiloquent and as slippery as runny Roquefort, invoked -- what else -- "security concerns of Israel" to derail Geneva. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif were always extremely worried about being sabotaged by their own internal opposition, the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. So their number one directive was that no details of the deal should be leaked during the negotiations. 

That's exactly what Fabius did. Even before Kerry landed in Geneva, Fabius was telling a French radio station that Paris would not accept a jeu des dupes ("fools' game"). 

The role of Fabius was pricelessly summed up by the proverbial unnamed Western diplomat telling Reuters, "The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively for months on this proposal, and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations."[4] 
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Terabytes of spin have been asserting that Washington and Paris are playing good cop-bad cop on the Iranian dossier. Not exactly; it's more like the Gallic rooster once again showing off. 

Hollande was gung-ho on bombing Damascus when Obama backed off at the 11th minute from the Pentagon's "limited" attack; Hollande was left staring at a stale bottle of Moet. On both Syria and Lebanon, Paris is unabashedly playing a mix of neocolonial hugs and kisses while sharing the bed with Israel and the House of Saud. 

But why, once again, shoot itself in the foot? Paris has lost a lot of money -- not to mention French jobs, via automaker Peugeot -- because of the Iran sanctions dementia. 

Ah, but there is always the seduction of Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, and the Gulf petro-monarchies. In a nutshell; Bandar Fabius was nothing but playing paperboy for the House of Saud. The prize: huge military contracts -- aircraft, warships, missile systems -- and possible construction of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, a deal similar to the one energy giant French Areva clinched last year with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The ghost of Montaigne must be squirming; France does not do irony anymore. Iran has no right to have its own nuclear plants, but France builds them and operates them for its Wahhabi clients.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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