Philosopher urges Hollande to act on Syria
PARIS – Bernard-Henri Lévy, a celebrity intellectual and early champion of foreign intervention in Libya, yesterday slammed French president François Hollande’s policy on Syria as too passive. He said Hollande should work outside the UN Security Council.
Mr Hollande had failed to live up to election campaign promises to toughen efforts to “chase” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power, Lévy told the daily Le Parisien in an interview. “Of course I am disappointed by Hollande. I voted for him,” Lévy said. “Facing what might be the biggest historical, political and moral test of his mandate, this inertia, this flurry of words is not acceptable.”
The conflict in Syria is now in its 17th month, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is quitting as international peace envoy and battles rage in Syria’s second city, Aleppo, between rebel fighters and government forces.
Lévy, a writer and philosopher, took on the role of amateur diplomat in early 2011 when he claims to have convinced former president Nicolas Sarkozy it was in France’s interest to recognise Libya’s rebels.
Days after Lévy called Sarkozy from the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi, the president sought a UN Security Council resolution condemning Muammar Gadafy’s government. When Russia and China blocked any intervention he formed a coalition with Britain and the Arab League and sent French warplanes to bomb Gadafy’s troops outside Benghazi.
Lévy told Le Parisien the same approach should be applied to overcome UN inertia on Syria.