lundi 11 décembre 2017

BRUXELLES: MANIFESTATION CONTRE «LA POLITIQUE D’EXTRÊME DROITE DE NETANYAHOU» CE LUNDI

Le Soir
Par B.L.
Les réactions à la visite de Netanyahou n’ont pas manqué de vigueur.
En Belgique, les réactions à la visite de Netanyahou n’ont pas manqué de vigueur. Une manifestation organisée par une quarantaine d’ONG est d’ailleurs prévue à 11h30 ce 11 décembre du côté de Schuman pour protester contre « l’accueil en grande pompe de celui qui s’est récemment vanté d’être le Premier ministre sous lequel le plus grand nombre de colonies israéliennes en Palestine ont vu le jour ».
« La politique d’extrême droite du gouvernement Netanyahou, poursuit notamment leur manifeste, ne fait qu’éloigner la perspective d’une paix juste et durable au Moyen-Orient ; jamais la politique d’occupation israélienne n’a été aussi brutale pour le peuple palestinien, jamais le régime d’apartheid imposé aux Palestiniens n’a été aussi évident. »
« LA PAIX EST POSSIBLE »
De son côté, Benjamin Netanyahou a estimé que la reconnaissance de Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël par le président américain Donad Trump «rend la paix possible» au Proche-Orient.
«Jérusalem est la capitale d’Israël, personne ne peut le nier. Cela rend la paix possible car reconnaître la réalité est la substance de la paix», a-t-il plaidé aux côtés de la cheffe de la diplomatie de l’UE Federica Mogherini, avant de rencontrer les ministres des Affaires étrangères de l’Union.
MACRON CONDAMNE «TOUTES LES FORMES D’ATTAQUES» CONTRE ISRAËL CES «DERNIERS JOURS»
Le Soir
Le président français a appelé Netanyahu à « des gestes courageux envers les Palestiniens ».
Le président français Emmanuel Macron a appelé dimanche le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu à «des gestes courageux envers les Palestiniens» pour «sortir de l’impasse actuelle», à l’issue d’un entretien bilatéral à Paris.
«J’ai invité le Premier ministre à mener des gestes courageux envers les Palestiniens pour sortir de l’impasse actuelle», a déclaré le président français, tout en «condamnant avec la plus grande clarté toutes les formes d’attaques des dernières heures et jours contre Israël», lors d’une conférence de presse conjointe à l’Elysée.
COMMENTAIRE DE DIVERCITY
MACRON SUR LES TRACES D'OBAMA?
La décision de Trump de reconnaître Jérusalem comme capitale d'Israël et ses bordées de tweets anti musulmans annoncent un retrait des USA de la scène diplomatique mondiale.
Ce vide attire tous ceux qui veulent jouer un rôle de premier plan au Moyen-Orient, à commencer par Emmanuel Macron. On imagine que Vladimir Poutine va rapidement entrer en piste à son tour.  L'Angleterre et l'Allemagne préoccupées, l'une  par le Brexit et l'autre  la formation d'un nouveau gouvernement sont actuellement hors jeu.
Emmanuel Macron n'arrête pas de déplacer les pions sur l'échiquier international. Il semble vouloir également jouer un rôle de premier plan en Syrie.  Le soutien qu'il a apporté au premier ministre libanais n'est pas passé inaperçu. Macron intervient également en Afrique avec un plan pour arrêter l'immigration sub saharienne avant qu'elle n'atteignent la Lybie. Tout ceci contraste vivement avec le désengagement américain (notamment en Syrie) qui laisse les coudées franches à la Russie au Moyen Orient. Bref Trump agit au rebours de Obama et de ses prédécesseurs.
Gilles Kepel : “l administration Trump est devenue illisible avec un président qui tweete une chose le matin et son contraire en fin de journée" En réalité, Trump s'appuie uniquement sur Israël, seul pays non musulman du Moyen Orient. De plus il est bien décidé à isoler l'Iran.
Le Président français semble pour sa part déterminé à occuper le vide laissé par Trump. Emmanuel Macron entend bien se profiler sur un terrain où il pourra exporter largement de l'armement français. (Its second-, third- and fourth-largest export markets for defense equipment are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt. Just this past week, Mr. Macron, during a visit to Qatar, announced a $1.3 billion sale of fighter jets. )
E.  Macron, a constitué une équipe d'expert "that knows the region intimately."
It is a different approach from that of two predecessors, François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, said Hubert Védrine, a foreign minister under President Jacques Chirac.
Mr. Védrine said. “Macron  calculates that Sarkozy was too linked to Qatar and Hollande to Saudi Arabia.”
“Before Trump, we were still in the American century,” noted Joost Hiltermann. The Trump administration is not interested in diplomacy.” C'est bien la raison pour laquelle Macron entend occuper la place: une formidable opportunité qui doit permettre à la France de se profiler au Moyen Orient et dans le monde.  
An opportunity for France, but also as vital to maintaining a pole of power in the West as “the Chinese century is coming up.”
Mais Macron échouera s'il ne peut parler au nom de l'Europe. Il le sait mieux que personne et c'est la raison pour laquelle il met la pression sur Martin Schultz (ancien président du Parlement européen et actuel président de SPD) pour qu'il accepte de former une grande coalition (ni de droite, ni de gauche) avec le parti d'Angela Merkel. Et ça c'est loin d'être fait. Le but de Macron est évidemment de relancer la dynamique européenne en ressoudant l'axe Paris Berlin.
MACRON STEPS INTO MIDDLE EAST ROLE AS U.S. RETREATS
By ALISSA J. RUBIN NYT
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, center right, greeting the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, at the Élysée Palace in Paris last month. CreditIan Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency
PARIS — A year ago, no one would have envisioned President Emmanuel Macron of France as the public face of Western diplomacy in the Middle East. But that is not the case anymore.
President Trump’s decision this past week to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, his anti-Muslim tweets and his State Department staffing cuts have signaled to many a retreat of American diplomacy.
That has made room for those who want to expand their presence on the world stage, Mr. Macron among them. He has quickly embraced a more visible role in the Middle East, especially as Britain and Germany have become more deeply preoccupied with domestic politics.
Mr. Macron called Mr. Trump two days ahead of the American president’s recognition of Jerusalem to tell him that France was “troubled” by the move.
He personally intervened in November to stabilize Lebanon when the country’s prime minister resigned and many believed Saudi Arabia was behind it. He weighed in with a plan to halt sub-Saharan migrants before they could reach Libya. Now, Mr. Macron is positioning France to help shape the postwar policy in Syria. By contrast, the United States has seemed reluctant to engage in policymaking in any detail in Syria, leaving the field open for Russia to play the largest part.
“If this was five years ago, there would already have been American diplomatic involvement” to extricate the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, from the grip of the Saudis, said Gilles Kepel,
Mr. Kepel (an expert on Islam and a professor at Sciences Po in France, who traveled with Mr. Macron on his recent trip to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh) was suggesting that “the Trump administration is unreadable because the president tweets something in the morning and he does the contrary in the afternoon.”
Former diplomats see much the same pattern.
Mr. Trump’s primary point of reference in the Middle East appears to be Israel, the only state in the region that is not predominantly Muslim.
Moreover, in the Muslim world, Mr. Trump has focused on demolishing the Islamic State and isolating Iran, but he has avoided delving into the region’s fraught politics.
By contrast, the French government has not shied from tackling political problems in the Middle East. France has “capital to spend” in the region, said Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow for Middle East security at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.
Indeed, France’s deep involvement in North Africa and the Middle East is not new. It ruled Algeria as a colony for more than 130 years, until it was pushed out in a brutal war in the early 1960s. After World War I, France and Britain divided the Ottoman Empire. France received a mandate for governing Syria and Lebanon, forging lasting ties with the latter.
More recently, France won the support of Arab Sunnis both for its refusal to back the American invasion of Iraq and for its willingness to fight President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
Its second-, third- and fourth-largest export markets for defense equipment are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt. Just this past week, Mr. Macron, during a visit to Qatar, announced a $1.3 billion sale of fighter jets.
On Wednesday, Mr. Macron was in Algeria, shoring up relations in anticipation of an uncertain leadership transition, given the long-failing health of that country’s leader.
Mr. Macron, who came to the job with few Middle East connections, put in place a team that knows the region intimately.
His foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a former defense minister, has a wealth of contacts with Arab militaries. Other senior officials in the Foreign Ministry include a former ambassador to Lebanon who also served in Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as a stable of career diplomats with years of experience working in the Middle East.
It is a different approach from that of two predecessors, François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, said Hubert Védrine, a foreign minister under President Jacques Chirac.
“He wants to keep contact with the Saudis, with the Qataris, with the Emirates — he’s said he will go to Iran one day; this is someone who does not want to be confined to one camp or another,” Mr. Védrine said. “He calculates that Sarkozy was too linked to Qatar and Hollande to Saudi Arabia.”
France could not supplant the United States — it’s a smaller country and does not have the ability to guarantee its agreements in the same way, several diplomats said.
“Despite their misgivings about Trump’s approach,” said Mr. Hokayem of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, “the French are not freelancing or charting a course away from the U.S. in the Middle East — they often have quiet American support; they are the visible face of diplomacy.”
But analysts remarked on the contrast in personal engagement and strategies compared with Mr. Trump’s.
“Before Trump, we were still in the American century,” noted Joost Hiltermann, the director of the Middle East North Africa program for the International Crisis Group based in Brussels.
“The Americans would use its British and French allies to do some work consistent with U.S. strategy; they were trusted advisers,” he said. “Today it is different. The Trump administration is not interested in diplomacy.”
He added, “If Trump has a strategy that permeates the institutions, it’s about withdrawal.”
Mr. Macron, he said, sees filling that vacuum as not only an opportunity for France, but also as vital to maintaining a pole of power in the West as “the Chinese century is coming up.”
“He sees the dangers of being absent from the world stage,” Mr. Hiltermann said, “and sees it as a way of raising the profile of France and maybe Germany and Europe, while holding the fort in the absence of a strategy and U.S. diplomacy.”
Mr. Macron’s impulse for engagement was most evident in his intervention to stabilize Lebanon, when Mr. Hariri was believed to have been coerced by the Saudis into resigning.
The French leader, who was traveling at the time in the Persian Gulf to open a branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, feared that the situation could deteriorate in Lebanon, tilting the country closer to Hezbollah, the already-powerful Lebanese political and military force backed by Iran.
Mr. Macron flew to Riyadh to meet with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Mr. Macron followed up the visit with several more conversations with the prince and worked out the plan for Mr. Hariri to visit France.
The gambit succeeded in tamping down, albeit temporarily, the Saudi-Iranian tensions, which underlie much of the regional strife.
“The real question about Macron is did he actively engage the Saudis and move them to a different place,” said Mr. Crocker, the former ambassador to several countries in the region. “If so, that’s huge.”
Follow Alissa J. Rubin on Twitter: @Alissanyt.

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