Posts Tagged ‘Nicholas Sarkozy’

Hollande states Mistral delivery suspended until further notice

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

President Francois Hollande has now publicly reaffirmed that the delivery of the first of two Mistral-class warships to Russia is suspended until a new order is issued.


(1) Le avec AFP, “La France reporte « jusqu’à nouvel ordre » la livraison des Mistral à la Russie,” Le Monde, 25 Novembre 2014 (Mis à jour à 15h02).

The announcement, reproduced in Le Monde, stated the following:

« Le président de la République considère que la situation actuelle dans l’est de l’Ukraine ne permet toujours pas la livraison du premier BPC [bâtiment de projection et de commandement]. Il a donc estimé qu’il convenait de surseoir, jusqu’à nouvel ordre, à l’examen de la demande d’autorisation nécessaire à l’exportation du premier BPC à la Fédération de Russie. »

Informal English translation:

The President of the Republic considers that the current situation in the East of the Ukraine still dos not permit the delivery of the first BPC (bâtiment de projection et de commandement)[ship for projection and command of forces]. It is therefore judged appropriate to suspend, until a new order, the examination of the request of the necessary export authorization of the first BPC to the Russian Federation.

(2) CARLOS YÁRNOZ (Paris), “Francia aplaza la entrega de un buque de guerra a Rusia
Hollande esgrime que la situación en Ucrania “no permite” culminar el contrato,” El Pais, 25 Novembre 2014 (14:45 CET).

(3) “Frankreich setzt Mistral-Lieferung an Russland aus; Das milliardenschwere Kriegsschiff-Geschäft zwischen Paris und Moskau liegt weiter auf Eis. Die aktuelle Lage in der Ostukraine erlaube die Lieferung nicht, sagte der französische Präsident Hollande, ” Der Spiegel, 25. November 2014 (15:10 Uhr).

(4) Renaud Février, “Livraison du Mistral reportée: quel sera le prix à payer?; L’Elysée a annoncé le report de la livraison des navires de guerre “jusqu’à nouvel ordre”. Quelles conséquences? le 25 Novembre 2014 (à 20h04).


1. The EU and NATO should now move energetically to find a new purchaser for the two Mistral-class warships France originally contracted for delivery to Russia.

2. In terms of France defending itself against any attempts to recover damages from France or French companies, under international law French cancellation of the contracts would appear to be wholly justifiable as a measure of collective self-defense of the Ukraine, in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, so long as Russian military forces occupy the Crimea and remain in the eastern Ukraine.

The Trenchant Observer

Mistral-class warship “The Vladilovstok” ready to sail; Hollande sets stage for a “mysterious” departure in the night

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

For the latest news reports, see

Isabelle Lassarre, “Mistral : le scénario qui inquiète les autorités françaises,” Le Figaro, 20 Novembre 2014.

For background, see

(1) “Mistral Warships: U.S. Congress should ban defense contracts with France until Hollande guarantees non-delivery to Russia,” The Trenchant Bserver, November 17, 2014.

(2) “Update on Delivery of Mistral-Class Warship “The Vladilovstok” to Russia: François Hollande’s unilateral “conditions” for delivery, and the high risk of a treacherous fait accompli,” The Trenchant Observer, October 30, 2014.

(3) “The End of NATO: France proceeds with plans to deliver the first of two Mistral-class warships to Russia,” The Trenchant Observer, October 29, 2014.

(4) Le Nouvel Observateur: The scandalous history and details of the sale of two Mistral-class attack warships to Russia, August 16, 2014.

(5) “Ukraine — EU imposes serious sanctions on Russia: Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 of 31 July 2014 —- with link to full text,” The Trenchant Observer, August 1, 2014.

The treachery of Francois Hollande knows no bounds.

Now he has arranged a mysterious set of circumstances that will allow the Mistral-class warship”The Vladilovstok” to slip out of the harbor at Saint Nazaire under the control of the Russian crew France has trained, blaming it all on some misunderstanding he had no control over.

The Russian crew have now placed their personal belongings on the “The Vladilovstok”.

The ship is very likely to sail, surrepticiously, in a manner which seeks to allow Holland to claim he never decided to deliver the ship to Russia.

Consider these facts:

1. An invitation from the French went out on October 8 for a delivery ceremony on bNovember 14.

2. The ship’s tracking number was changed to Russian ownership within the last week, and then changed back again.

3. The Russian crew apparently turned off the esignal that allows the ship to be tracked by satellite on one or two occasions, in the last week or so.

4. The sister ship, “The Sevastopol”, which is due for delivery to Russia in 2015, was put put into the water earlier this week, taking the berth in Saint Nazaire of “The Vladilovstok”, which has now moved to a staging area near the entrance to the harbor.

All of these unusual coincidences point to one conclusion: Hollande will allow “The Vladilovstok” to sail in the next few days.

To stop this from happening, NATO and NATO member states should demand that the France take the following steps:

1. The Russian crew shoukd be ordered to remove their personal gear from the Vladilovstok, under military supervision, and should not be alliwed to board the ship again. They should return to Russia until further notice.

2. The ship should be moved by a French crew to a secure berth where it will remain until a new purchaser is found.

3. European and world media should be all over this story, night and day, and maintain a stakeout to ensure that the ship does not “slip away’ in the middle of the night.

4. Hollande should formally commit to NATO not to deliver the warship to Russia without first discussing his decision at a ministerial meeting of NATO.

Hollande’s perfidy has gone far enough. He must be stopped, by other NATO members, from sneaking delivery of “The Vladilovstok’ to Russia, through whatever subterfuge he can find.

The Russian media are paying extremely close attention to the delivery.

Cancelation of delivery woukd bring home to Putin the real costs of his military aggression against the Ukraine.

Delivery, however disingenuous the means, would confirm that appeasement rules in the West, and Russia has little to fear from further aggression.

The Trenchant Observer

Mistral Warships: U.S. Congress should ban defense contracts with France until Hollande guarantees non-delivery to Russia

Monday, November 17th, 2014


For the latest machinations by France and Russia regardind delivery of “The Vladilovstok” Mistral-class attack warship to Russia, see

, and here.

The registration of “The Vladilovstok”, the Mistral-class warship, has reportedly passed to the Russian federation and then back to France again, while the ship itself has “disappeared” from the maritime vessel satellite tracking system several times during the last week.

Former President Nicholas Sarkozy, who pushed the Mistral deal through when he was in office, is now shamefacedly pushing for delivery of “The Vladilovstok” to Russia. In doing so, he has demonstrated that he is not fit to play an important role in determining the defense policy of France, or NATO.

Current French President Francois Hollande, who has a treacherous record vis-a-vis his NATO allies in dealing with Russia regarding the Mistral warships, could easily connive with other officials, both French anf Russian, to pass the warship to Russian possession at any hour.

To date, NATO has done nothing to protect itself from the loss of the ten-year technological advantage in naval warfare that will occur if “The Vladilovstok” ends up in Russian hands. A Russian crew capable of sailing the ship has just been trained by the French at Ste. Navarre in France, where they remain.

To forestall a defense disaster that could take place literally at any minute, the following steps should be taken immediately:

1. Legislation should be introduced in the U.S. Congress, and adopted, that will immediately halt the performance of or entering into any defense contracts of any kind with French companies, until French President Francois Hollande orders the departure from France of the Russian navy crew of the “Vladilovstok” that has been trained in France, and definitively cancels the contract for the delivery of two Mistral-class warships to Russia.

2. Other NATO member states should adopt similar legislation at the eraliesr possible date.

3. Officials such as U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel should think three times before ever repeating again the statement that the decision to deliver the Mistral-class warship is a matter exclusively within the perogatives of French national sovereignty.

4. NATO should immediately convene an emergency ministerial meeting to adopt decisions recommending a ban the sale of the Mistral-class warships to Russia, while the EU should immediately add a ban on the performance of the Mistrals contract, and any delivery of “The Vladlovstok” to Russia.

These steps may take some time, while France and other states friendly to Russia could block any further EU sanctions related to the defense industry. That is why steps (1) and (2) need to be taken immediately.

If NATO can’t defend itself from its own members, how can it ever defend its members against Russian military aggression?

NATO members will not be able to rest until the decision to deliver or not deliver the Mistral-class warship is taken out of the hands of Francois Hollande, whose perfidious character has already been amply demonstrated with respect to Russia, Vladimir Putin, and the Mistral deal itself.

The Trenchant Observer

Le Nouvel Observateur: The scandalous history and details of the sale of two Mistral-class attack warships to Russia

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Early draft – developing

There is no domestic opposition to the French sale of two Mistral-class attack warships to Russia because all leading politicians, from Nicholas Sarkozy to Francois Hollande, are deep in the scandal up to their eyeballs.

The Russians showed interest in the “jewel” of the French defense industry shortly after their invasion of Georgia in 2008, where they encountered force coordination problems that the Mistral would have solved.

A Russian military leader explained how useful the warship could be in the event the Russian-speaking population of Estonia was threatened by mob actions, as it would allow Russian military forces to quickly intervene with soldiers on the ground in time to protect the Russian minority.

Top admirals in the French Navy opposed the deal.

President Francois Hollande, while speaking beautiful words at ceremonies this summer commemorating the outbreak of World War I, has been craven in putting French commercial interests ahead of the security interests of NATO member states, even after the Russian invasion and annexation of the Crimea, and its invasion by irregular forces of the eastern Ukraine. He was responsible for the EU “stage 3” sanctions of July 31 not banning existing defense contracts, due to his tenacity in defending the sale of the Mistral warships. Other NATO countries, and Japan, strongly oppose their delivery.

In addition to the sale of the first two Mistral-class amphibious warships, the agreement between France and Russia envisions the construction of a third and a fourth warship in St. Petersburg, Russia. The deal will, in effect, include technology transfer that will allow Russia to make advances in naval warfare technology that otherwise would have taken 10 years to achieve.

It is clear that France is setting its own barrowly-conceived commercial interests above the collective security requirements of the NATO alliance, in a manner which will damage the defense posture of all members of the alliance.

If the EU and NATO cannot prevent a perfidious France from giving away the “crown jewels” of French defense technology to Russia, a nation which has invaded and currently occupies part of the territory of an important European state in open defiance of bedrock principles of the United Nations Charter, it is hard to see much utility in or future for the Atlantic Alliance.

For the shocking details, see:

Vincent Jauvert, “Mistral: enquête sur un contrat qui dérange, Le Nouvel Observateur, 10 aout 2014.

The Trenchant Observer

Continuing massacres in Syria, at Daraya and elsewhere; legal justification for military intervention — Obama’s Debacle in Syria —Update #78 (August 26)

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Anxiety over the risks of a regional conflagration deepened further as it became clear that the violence in Syria was intensifying, with more civilians killed. The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), an opposition network, claimed that more than 200 bodies had been found in Daraya, and activists circulated a video appearing to show dozens of bodies lined up in dimly lit rooms, described in the commentary as being in the town’s Abu Suleiman al-Durani mosque.

The storming of Daraya followed three days of heavy bombardment by government tanks and artillery, which the opposition said killed another 70 people. The offensive appeared to be part of a larger struggle for control of the southern fringe of the capital. Residents said that government tanks on the Damascus ring-road shelled the neighbourhoods of al-Lawwan and Nahr Aisheh late into Saturday night and that there was also heavy fighting in the Ghouta suburbs to the east of the city.

The LCC said forces loyal to Assad had killed 440 people across Syria on Saturday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based activist group drawing information from a network of monitors across Syria, put the nationwide death toll for the day at 370, including 174 civilians. If confirmed, it would be one of the bloodiest days the country has suffered since the anti-Assad revolt broke out in March 2011.

–Julian Borger (Diplomatic Editor), “Syrian regime accused of killing hundreds in Daraya massacre; At least 200 dead in poor Sunni community on outskirts of capital targeted by President Bashar al-Assad’s troops, The Guardian, August 26, 2012 (14.28 EDT).

The massacres by government forces continue at an accelerating pace in Syria.

This is actually old news, repeated again daily.

We know that the situation in Syria is horrific, and that al-Assad’s barbarism knows no limits. The daily evidence accumulates.

We don’t need to wait for new and ever greater atrocities to have all the information we need in order to act.

There is some indication that the West and the Arab countries, and Turkey and other civilized countries are moving toward taking actions that might affect the situation on the ground in Syria. Yet we must be clear that talk of action, even impending action, is not action itself, and that only actions in the air and on the ground can halt al-Assad’s terror–or even slow it.

There has been talk in France of the possibility of an air exclusion zone or no-fly zone being established in northern Syria, following discussion between Hillary Clinton and Turkish officials raising the possibility, which was to be “studied”.  There are more serious indications that military and other officials are meeting, or beginning to meet, to develop contingency plans. Still, back in Washington, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was quick to comment, when the first reports of Clinton’s raising this possibility were published, that the development of such options was “not on the front burner”.  More recently, a U.S. aircraft carrier was reported to be headed toward the region.

Statements by French officials sugest they have not fully come to grips with the real options: the establishment of a no-fly zone without U.N. Security Council approval, or no action at all.

They mindlessly repeat the shibboleth that military action without Security Council authorization is not permitted under international law, without considering the details of the arguments that might be used to justify such action. So far, the extremely cautious approach of President François Hollande shows little similarity to the dynamic leadership of his predecessor, Nicholas Sarkozy, who led the civilized nations of the world to finally intervene in Libya.

What has changed is the fierce opposition of Russia and China to any potentially effective action in Syria by the international community. That is now the reality of the situation. Even under these new circumstances, however, it is doubtful that Sarkozy would have simply given up, or obfuscated the real choices as the Hollande government has done in its public statements.

Military intervention in Syria to halt the movement or dispersal of chemical weapons would also require a legal justification for military action outside the framework of the Security Council, as it is most unlikely that Russia and China would accede to an authorization of such action. Clearly such authorization would be preferable, but it is not likely to occur even if chemical weapons are used or dispersed.

It should also be quite clear that any military action against Iran by Israel, or by Israel and the United States, would also have to be taken outside the framework of the Security Council. The legal justification would probably end up looking something like the justification for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, absent the thin reed the U.S. leaned on in claiming that the first Security Council resolution actually authorized the invasion.

Let us not forget that the United States is also using force outside the framework of the Security Council through its drone attacks in countries ranging from Somalia to Yemen. It hasn’t even bothered to comply with its obligation to justify its actions under international law.

A no-fly zone would be an important step forward in efforts to halt al-Assad’s butchery. Let there be no illusions, however, that the option might be pursued with the authorization of the U.N. Security Council, as this is simply not in the cards given Russian and Chinese opposition.

France needs to get serious in talking about the options it is considering with respect to Syria. Talk of a no-fly zone will not stop al-Assad’s helicopters and jet fighters from bombarding civilian towns and neighborhoods in Syria.

Only the establishment of a no-fly zone will achieve this objective, and then only after it has been implemented and Western military aircraft and missiles are defeating any Syrian government attempts to violate the air exclusion zone.

The Trenchant Observer

Libya—America Abdicates Global Leadership in Struggle for Democracy

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Today is a sad day for the Observer, as America abdicates its moral leadership in world affairs by adopting the role of mere spectator of the life-and-death struggle for freedom in Libya. Having boldly stated that Qaddafi has to go, President Obama has now taken to the sidelines as Moammar Qaddafi’s murderous regime commits torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in its no-holds-barred battle to retain power.

President Obama, timorous, a prisoner of his own intellectual analytics and lack of prior foreign policy experience, doesn’t take sides when it comes time to act in the struggle for freedom around the world.

It is a sad day not only for the Observer, but also for all of those around the world who believe American foreign policy should be guided by more than 19th century Realpolitik and Staatsräson (Reason of State), for all those who are attracted to the ideals embodied in the American Revolution and America’s two centuries of constitutional government under the rule of law.

For days, the administration has been signaling its unwillingness to act. First, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates tilted the scales by weighing in heavily against the approval of a no-fly zone. A day of two ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed the administration’s decision not to act by stating that no action would be taken without United Nations Security Council authorization, which given the well-known Russian and Chinese opposition to any military action, amounted to dismissing the possibility of any forceful action that would stop Qaddafi. Finally, today, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, stated in Congressional testimony that Qaddafi was likely to prevail given his advantages in troops and hardware. It is difficult, to say the least, to understand the logic that could have underlain such a tone-deaf and politically maladroit statement. Perhps it was just inexperience and lack of foreign policy coordination. But it was disastrous in its impact.

Altogether, a most shameful spectacle.

History may well mark the month of March, 2011 as the decisive turning point in America’s leadership in world affairs. America has always been more than a state pursuing its self-interests. That era now seems past, at least under Democratic presidential leadership.

The world will take note. Tyrants will relax. As Qaddafi loudly proclaims, they have nothing to fear from the United States, NATO or the United Nations.

Without American leadership, the world will go adrift. The consequences are likely to be enormous and unpredictable.

Despite its cynical record of dealings with dictatorships in the past, it is now to France, that other beacon of human liberty–since the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the defeat of Fascism in 1945 (made possible only with American help), that advocates of democracy and freedom must look.

If America does not want to be a champion of liberty, at least the French, drawing on their own deep traditions, have a possibility of articulating a clear moral vision that might guide us forward toward achievement of the goals of democracy and the rule of law which so many have fought for, at such great sacrifice, for over 70 years.

One of the saddest vignettes from the last few days has been President Obama’s intellectually arrogant and factually incorrect declaration that most revolutions succeed because they come from within and do not rely on outside help. That would come as quite a surprise to George Washington and the Marquis de la Fayette.

The Trenchant Observer

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