The signing of a strategic document between France and Iraq was announced on Friday, May 3, while Iraqi PM Adel Abdel Mahdi was on an official visit to Paris where he held a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron. But is strategic cooperation possible between Iraq and France if France is in the American camp and the United States multiplies its actions against the Iraqi Resistance even if it means accelerating its expulsion from Iraqi soil?
The content of this “roadmap” was only outlined at a joint press briefing held on Friday, May 3 in Paris. But there are some indications that Paris may be distancing itself from its overly pro-American policy in the Middle East. For three years, French artillery units had held a constant presence on the Iraqi borders with Syria from where they fired towards Deir ez-Zor on the order of the Americans. The same goes for their planes, which have constantly launched air raids against Hajin or Baghouz when the United States commanded them. However, on Friday, May 3, just hours before the French President and his Iraqi host spoke at their press conference, France announced the dissolution of this artillery detachment known as Task Force Wagram. The dissolution of this too symbolic military presence of France in an area that is highly sensitive for the Resistance since it is located on the strategic road linking Iraq to Syria has not gone without being interpreted as an opening displayed by Paris.
“The withdrawal of French forces from this area could only have been made conditional on the signing of the Iraq-France strategic roadmap,” said Sadallah Zarei, the political expert. “But Mr. Macron’s comments suggest that there are other windows opening up between Baghdad and Paris.
“France is committed and will continue to be committed to this united, federal and democratic Iraq, convinced that it is precisely this model that will make it possible for your country and the entire region to remain stable,” said Mr Macron, who seems to want to highlight the moderation that should now characterize the Elysée’s Kurdish policy in Iraq. Everyone knows how directly France was involved in the referendum process on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan in 2017, a process that failed completely. We also know how France is addressing the issue of Kurds in Syria. However, the signing of a strategy sheet with Baghdad requires that Paris stop all attempts to somehow encourage Erbil’s separatist ambitions beforehand, the analyst notes.
But the French President also stated that his country “wants to remain a leading partner by helping you to strengthen your anti-terrorist capacity, protect your borders, rearm your security apparatus, in particular by contributing to the integration and conversion of many combatants. »
” It would seem, says Zarei, that France is very concerned about having to repatriate its “takfirsies terrorists” as demanded by the American President, Donald Trump. It was undoubtedly in order to obtain the green light from the Iraqi State to hold them in its prisons, or even to judge them, that Paris conceded both to provide “armed support” to Baghdad and to participate in the protection of the Iraqi borders.
That being said, the terms of this “leading” security partnership remain vague. And what exactly does the protection of Iraq’s borders mean? will France go so far as to oppose the US/Israel attempts at al-Anbar or Deir ez-Zor? It is difficult to answer in the affirmative. But one thing is certain: France is seeking to consolidate its presence in Iraq, this time through the Iraqi state. There is a certain tension on both sides of the Atlantic whose impacts are reaching Iraq.
In any case, the French are beginning to understand that in Iraq, no foreign party can impose itself as an occupying force. Anti-American resentments, which are increasing in Mesopotamia, are undoubtedly a source of concern for Paris, which is seeking to stand out. This means that in any future confrontation between the Americans and Iraqi forces, France must preserve total neutrality. A strategic roadmap cannot exist without this essential clause while the USA and the Resistance are heading straight for confrontation.