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France’s appetite for interference swelling

France has taken one of the most active roles in intervening in the uprisings that have been raging in Africa and the Arab world. All signs show that the eyes of Paris are now falling on Syria.
­Salem Sadek is a Syrian activist, whose cousin was shot by troops during the protests in Syria. His parents there now live in hiding. But he fears France will make things even worse by bombing his country, on the pretext of stopping the violence. “I don’t want jets, and air forces in Syria, but really I expect it in two weeks,” says Sadek.He notes the same chain of events that brought war with Libya, are now unfolding at home. First, Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad was invited for talks in Paris, as was Colonel Gaddafi. But at the same time France reportedly was funding opposition groups, in both states.Now Nicolas Sarkozy’s government is slapping Damascus with sanctions, the precursor to the invasion of Libya. Humanitarian assistance, says one author, will again be their excuse to go in. “The logic of their intervention in Libya is that they should intervene in Syria also,” thinks Jean Bricmont, a writer on imperialistic politics. Syria was once under French occupation. But analysts say France behaves as if it is still in control. “France, they had their spies there for decades. Religious movements have had their people there for decades. So they are going to do whatever they can to use their influence to change the regime in a way that they see fit,” believes Lode Vanoost, a former speaker of the Belgian parliament.Intervention would leave France fighting in four wars, which has not happened since it was a colonial power. The French Defense Ministry has not been this busy in over 50 years. Not content with fighting in Afghanistan, Libya and Cote d’Ivoire, Paris has now turned its sights on another former colony – Syria.But experts think the real target is Syria’s key ally, Iran. France is growing increasingly angry at Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, and is part of international moves to stop that program. Damascus would become a springboard for Nicolas Sarkozy’s government as it pushes East.“If events in Syria progress according to the Libyan scenario, we will probably see a similar development in Iran, unfortunately. That is, Iran will repeat the Libyan scenario,” says Professor Sergey Voronin from the People’s Friendship University.Russia watches Western military interventions with rising alarm. It warns the behavior is fuelling violence across the Middle East.“Deliberately escalating a conflict is an invitation to a series of civil wars. Outside forces should not interfere, give advice or take sides in internal conflicts,” says Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.But Russia’s Foreign Minister adds there could be a sting in the tail. He says unleashing chaos in the region helps the very extremists the West wants to stop gaining power.