Sky News – Boulton and co: Syria and the French intervention
I told Sky News that although French public opinion is not in favour of military intervention in Syria, the Socialist party backs its leader’s position and the socialists currently have a majority in both parliament and the senate (what’s more the main opposition, UMP is deeply divided, including on this issue).
France has shown itself a strong ally of the Syrian National Council, as the first country to recognise it and has been pushing for greater support to it. It already delivers technical, humanitarian and financial support to the rebels and wants to give them the military edge, without getting too involved.
As the former colonial power, France feels it understands Syria and has strong economic interests which have been hampered by sanctions placed on the Assad regime. After the perceived success of Libya, where France has been guaranteed 3% of future oil production and Mali, which saw a weak President Hollande regain some popularity, a strong intervention in Syria could help boost Hollande’s flailing image and ultimately serve French interests in the region. Hollande is also concerned that not acting against the use of chemical weapons sends the wrong message to others in the region, and risks compromising security.