Exit la vie en rose. Enter la guerre en rose. And the war, in Hollande's definition, will be "merciless."
It took a carnage for the French political establishment to be hurled away from its splendid torpor. Until 11/13 -- Paris tragedy day -- for the Elysee palace Bashar al-Assad equaled Daesh. As much as Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine was the good guy fighting "Russian aggression."
In fact "Russian aggression" ended up being aggressed -- via the FSB-established bombing of the Metrojet A321 -- even before the suicide bombing/shooting spree in Paris.
"Russian aggression" had already launched a serious offensive against Daesh, as part of the "4+1" coalition (Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq plus Hezbollah). France, for its part, was lobbing the odd, disinterested strike as part of a US-led, and remarkably inefficient, coalition featuring, among others, Salafi-jihadi enablers/financiers/weaponizers Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The Paris carnage did change everything. At the G-20 in Antalya, during a by now iconic 35 minutes face-to-face with President Putin, President Obama finally seemed to have gotten the message; yes, there will be war. But the enemy is not "Russian aggression"; it's Daesh.
No sleep till Raqqa
Martial France is now all huff and puff. Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's Defense Minister, "has just invoked Article 42.7," as he tweeted from Brussels. What he meant is that he formally requested help from France's EU partners. According to the Lisbon Treaty, in case of "armed aggression," EU nations have "an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power."
This is the first time ever this article in the EU treaty has been invoked.
So the "armed aggression" is from Daesh; a non-state actor posing as a "Caliphate" with a return address in Raqqa, eastern Syria, the "Caliphate" capital.
Even before requesting EU help, France was already bombing Raqqa, following what Russia had been doing for weeks. Now the geopolitical plat du jour is to bomb Raqqa. International law experts will cringe about the legality of it all -- considering that Russian Air Force strikes at least were formally authorized by Damascus.
Euphemistically, France wants "increased military participation" from other EU nations in selected "operational theatres." In Brussels newspeak, this means bombing the hell out of Daesh anywhere in "Syraq."
As the logic of war is already on, the next step would be for France to invoke NATO's Article 5 -- which stipulates that an "armed aggression" against one ally applies to all allies; thus their right to wage war as "self-defense," under the UN charter.
Article 5 has been invoked only once; by the US after 9/11.
The Pentagon, which runs NATO, is cryptically enthusiastic. Pentagon head Ash Carter has let it slip, "We're looking to do more, we're looking for every opportunity we can to get in there and go at [Daesh], but we need others to" get in the game as well."