France has an excellent intelligence network that continues on high alert regarding the Syrian threat. Historically Syria has been a breeding ground for extremists, with an eye on France. As such, given the current concern about Syrian chemical weapons, France could launch Scalp airplane-fired missiles. Here France’s current position is detailed.
SOLE STRENGTH IN EUROPE?
After Britain’s parliament blocked any potential British military participation in a Syria strike earlier this month, France stood alone as the European country most willing to wield the military threat alongside the United States against Assad’s regime.
From a military standpoint, “none of the other European countries are needed,” Pierini said. “The only European country that has Tomahawks is the U.K. — it’s paralyzed politically — so the next best thing is the French Scalp,” an airplane-fired cruise missile.
Former Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said France also wants to give more teeth to the EU.
“The other Europeans are not in the mindset of ‘Europe power,’ but one of ‘Big Switzerland’ — that’s to say an isolationist, pacifist evolution,” and want to avoid “all foreign dramas and intervene as little as possible,” he said in a phone interview.
Not so France.
WANTING TO BE HEARD
A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, France is often seen as a fading, if not already faded, power. Hollande wants to counter that, and is using France’s vast diplomatic network to do so.