The Fight Against Terrorism in Africa and the World: When France Steals the Show From America

This is certainly a turning point in the fight against Islamic State terrorists. The flagship of the French navy, the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, has joined the dance. The French deployed this important warship in the Persian Gulf to support the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The arrival of this water giant alongside the U.S. Navy’s Carl Vinson will considerably increase the military capacity of the coalition. In other words, the Islamic State group has nothing to celebrate. The coalition will have a lot more leeway. They will be able to, for example, allow crews that have been engaged in this war for a long time to take a little break, as well as launch more airplanes, if necessary, to bomb Islamic State group positions.

The Fight Against Terrorism in Africa Shouldn’t Be Considered the Business of France Alone

This strengthening of the fighting force of international troops fighting extremists will, without a doubt, make a serious dent in the ranks of the latter. One could say that faced with such firepower, the men of al-Baghdadi will be sent scrambling, in every sense of the word.

However, if the deployment of Charles de Gaulle is the security deposit France must make to ensure American support in Africa, as it’s rumored in certain circles, it’s an unfair deal. This is because the fight against terrorism in Africa, as is the case throughout the world, should not be considered the business of France alone. It is evident that France’s engagement against the Islamists roaming the Sahel and against Boko Haram is motivated by the will to preserve the Hexagon’s interests on the African continent — which is normal anyway. However, of the world’s big powers, France is not the only one with interests in Africa that would be jeopardized by the terrorists. The Americans, British and Chinese also have enormous interests in Africa. Even so, they are less active in the anti-terrorist fight on the African continent. Moreover, Boko Haram is mostly wreaking havoc in an Anglophone Commonwealth country — which should elicit at least a little more solidarity from the British in regards to Nigeria. We should also consider the current economic difficulties in France and its quest for improvement in this area — hence, perhaps, the ratio of its efforts to sell weapons and military equipment, as was the case recently with Egypt and the Rafale fighter jets. But again, France is not the only Western country to race for contracts concerning the shipping of weapons and other military equipment in the world. For many of the other major powers, this is an essential ingredient of their international commercial activities.

This means that the sole argument of France wanting to preserve its interests is insufficient to justify this level of French engagement in the crusade against global terrorism. It’s necessary to acknowledge that, in addition to the economic imperatives and the interests at stake, France also feels a duty to fight extremism in honor of the values of liberty, democracy, and respect for human rights that it involves. France’s refusal to restrict individual liberties — as the Americans did via the Patriot Act following the 9/11 attacks — despite the threats it faces, reminds us (again, if need be) of France’s profound commitment to freedom. By contrast, the Islamic State group is anti-freedom incarnate, the censor if not the executioner of human freedom. We cannot thus deny that France is engaged in this fight equally on behalf of its secular ideals.

Hollande Is More Popular in Countries that France Has Rescued from the Grip of the Islamists

Concerning the use of Charles de Gaulle, it’s likely that the French know the risk they are taking by deploying such a gem in such a troubled part of the world. They know that they are not immune to any attack from the “enlightened ones.” But they wanted to send a strong message. This decision shows the height of their determination to put a stop to the harm caused by terrorists. And as the Islamic State group has its headquarters within the borders of Iraq and Syria, this is the place to deliver the final blow. As we know, this jihadi movement was quick to eclipse its sinister predecessor in the “hit parade” of extremism and barbarism. Faced with these “fools of Allah,” the “enlightened ones” of al-Qaida became, ultimately, choirboys. In any case, as long as the Islamic State group prospers, the Islamist threat will continue to spread all over the world. Bloodthirsty sects like Boko Haram are housed in the great mansion of global terrorism, of which the Islamic State group has become the torchbearer. We will have to sever the roots of evil, so that the branches and leaves — in Africa and other parts of the world — wither and fall. That is the meaning and importance of this great mobilization against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

We are witnessing a sort of transition in the fight against global terrorism. It’s no secret to anyone that the United States of America is the number-one enemy of radical Islamists. For these extremists, the country of Uncle Sam is their chief adversary — so much so that the U.S. and its interests are prime targets for them. However, Barack Obama’s America — as is the tendency of Democrats in general — does not take on a lot of military engagement beyond its borders. This is demonstrated by the case of Syria, where the French authorities have had to reconsider — they defended the idea of a military intervention against the Bashar al-Assad regime, but they didn’t find any support among the Yankees, although they have always seemed ready to play the police force of the world. Hollande — who is more popular in the countries that France has rescued from the grip of Islamists than in his own country, and who has seen his popularity go up a notch following the good response to the Charlie Hebdo attack — knows how much the people need to see their leaders working to wipe out the terrorists. That’s certainly what reinforces him in his actions. In any event, France is increasingly stealing the show from the United States in the fight against terrorism, as much in Africa as in the rest of the world. In other words, France is doing more for global security and deserves much credit for it.

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