Over the past few years, France has won the reputation as being the leading anti-American voice of the Western world. Of late, news has been trickling out of France which suggests that President Chirac has taken his opposition to the U.S. to a new level. One example includes allowing the pro-Ba’th pro-Saddam group “La Resistance” to operate out of Paris. The group’s main goal is to support killing U.S. troops in Iraq. (For more information visit http://comitesirak.free.fr/eng/why.htm).
Another example of anti-Americanism occurred less than two weeks ago when the French government hosted Lebanese Parliamentarian Walid Jumblatt, Head of the Progressive Socialist Party, who enjoyed an unprecedented state visit to France. As Ahmad Al-Jarallah, Editor in Chief of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassah, reported on December 4th, “Walid Jumblatt…[was] recently given a send-off befitting a state leader at the Elysee Palace by French President Jacques Chirac.” According to the Lebanese Daily Star, “Jumblatt’s visit to the French capital was considered by some political figures as historic, and as bringing him merit on the regional and international levels.”
This is significant because Jumblatt is known for his vehement anti-American statements and antagonistic stance toward the U.S. On November, 19, 2003, it was reported that the State Department cancelled Jumblatt’s diplomatic visa following revelations that he expressed regret that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was not killed in a missile attack during a visit to Baghdad.
More recently, Jumblatt gave an interview to the Arabic London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on February 12, 2004, in which he said: “We are all happy when U.S. soldiers are killed [in Iraq] week in and week out. The killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is legitimate and obligatory.” The Progressive Socialist Party leader has also said he felt “great joy” at the destruction of the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia in 2002, because it carried an Israeli astronaut.
The Lebanese MP is also known for espousing conspiracy theories against the U.S. On April 28, 2004, he gave an interview to United Arab Emirate-based Al Arabiyya TV, in which he detailed how the U.S. was really behind September 11: “Who invented Osama bin Laden?! The Americans, the CIA invented him so they could fight the Soviets in Afghanistan together with some of the Arab regimes. Osama bin Laden is like a ghost, popping up when needed. This is my opinion.”
Jumblatt was asked “Even 9/11?” and answered: “Even 9/11…Why didn’t the sirens go off when the four hijacked planes took off?…The U.S. always needs an enemy…According to this plan or ideology of the born-again Christians who formed an alliance with Zionism – Islam is the monster, Islam is the target.”
In addition to hating the U.S., Jumblatt has also spoke against the countries which have taken the lead in supporting the U.S. war on terror. Lebanon's Daily Star published a February 3, 2003 article quoting him as saying that the true axis of evil is actually one of "oil and Jews," calling President George W. Bush a "mad emperor," and insulting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar: “The oil axis is present in most of the U.S. administration, beginning with its president, vice-president, and top advisers, including [Condoleezza] Rice, who is oil-colored, while the axis of Jews is present with Paul Wolfowitz.”
In the interview, Jumblatt described U.S. President Bush as someone who “considers himself God's deputy on Earth, threatening and classifying the world [into different camps], and relying on his imperial power…How dangerous emperors are when they go mad… In the same axis we have the trustworthy servant, the imperial servant…pleased with himself and his idiotic laugh, his peacock appearance, none other than Tony Blair…Also joining this axis is the comprador Mussolini of the 21st century, the prime minister of Italy today, Silvio Berlusconi, who seems to want to renew the empire of the Caesars… To complete the picture, we have Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, the Spanish neo-rightist…Aznar and Blair spend a lot of time in front of the mirror every morning, it seems, so that their hair is parted perfectly…People who pay that much attention to their appearance are fascists by nature. Or they have psychological or sexual complexes.”
The French government’s providing a hero’s welcome to Walid Jumblatt, a self-proclaimed enemy of the U.S., represents something far beyond what could be considered a simple diplomatic disagreement.
Steven Stalinsky is the Executive Director of The Middle East Media Research Institute (www.memri.org)