Arabs and France post Chirac [Archives:2007/1064/Opinion]

July 2 2007

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh
No doubt Arabs regretted that Jacque Chirac is no longer president of France. He was a close friend of Arabs and had fuller understating of the situation and issues of the Arab world. It is very crucial for us and our French friends to bear in mind that Chirac, who was an intimate friend of Arabs, also excelled at doing his duty for the sake of France on the basis of an independent policy serving the European country.

The former French leader had been a distinctive voice in the international and European Union policies. Unlike the outgoing British Prime Minister Toney Blair, Chirac never said yes to the White House policies, nor did he obey the U.S. Administration. Blair eliminated all the stances and attitudes opposing Washington from his country's foreign policy.

Through his clever and balanced politics, Chirac served France and gave his country a prestigious international status in various areas, and his reign will remain remembered positively. Particularly his objection to the aggressive wars and his refusal to participate in the swamp of Iraq's war, although there had been shameful Arab attempts to engage France in the swamp of blood.

The Arab regimes, one by one or as a whole, had been able to convince France not to change its friendly stance, as well as not to let the new French President turn his back toward the Arab issues or join the coalition of their enemies.

The fact that cannot be ignored is that the Arabs – if they have the will – constitute an economic and political power that can help them dispense with the west. There is no country in the west or the east that doesn't give crucial significance to the Arab existence in their programs at the economic and political levels.

If such negligence happens, only the Arabs would be responsible for it, not others. The wise words, which are repeatedly produced by the key Arab politicians are: “Allah helps not those who doesn't help themselves”. It is clear that the Arabs don't help themselves, so why do they expect others to help them?

From this point, if the Arab countries' relations with France or any other European state gets tense, the Arabs have to blame themselves before they blame others, as they have been selecting the wrong way of dealing with others. Entire submission, or strong opposition, or confrontation, or even animosity toward others are the usual stances adopted by Arabs.

These days, the Arab press is writing a lot about new France under Sarkuzi and these reports make the reader feel that the European country, which used to have great interests thanks to its ties with Arabs, has become more dangerous for the Arab states than the U.S. This is a wrong image and harried interpretation of a new situation, the features of which haven't been identified yet.

Meanwhile, the observer of the French policy over the past few decades, be they rightist or leftist, realizes that the state's interest tops everything and that in the competition climate, it is difficult for this policy to undergo any vital change irrespective of the motives and differences.

No doubt that every new president assuming power in any country begins his mandate by saying that he works on introducing radical amendments to his country's politics. But the real-life situation confirms that as days pass, people reveal that persons who were on the face get changed while the official policies remain the same without any amendment or modification. This is what is expected to happen in France under Sarkuzi, and even though the leftist candidate is the one who win the election, no change will have taken place.

We experience real problems while subsequent experiences and events in the Arab world affirm that Arab politicians, who make regimes and peoples, don't know anything about the world and the daily changes. Also, they know nothing of what will disappear in the mysterious political scene at this moment of the world history.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh is Yemen's prominent poet and intellectual. He is the director of the Yemeni Center for Studies

Source: Al-Thawra State-run Daily