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French press review 31 August 2013

The French papers today focus on the suspense as to what decision France's Hollande and the US's Obama will make regarding Syria; and investigations regarding a baby-trafficking story in Marseille and Corsica.


Friends in need are friends indeed, as the saying goes, and it appears Franco-American relations are about witnessing a turn around that will go down in the annals of history. It was a decade ago when Paris mounted an international diplomatic wall against George W. Bush’s Iraqi war. It now stands as President Barack Obama’s sole European ally as he prepares punitive strikes against Syria.

Aujourd’hui en France reports that 64 percent of the French people disapprove military action against Syria. It explains that the loud and resondounding “No” is the result of a BVA opinion survey carried for Le Parisien and Aujourd’hui en France. The popular newspaper says that President Hollande is not worried about his ratings, claiming that at times it is necessary to make unpopular decisions. Hollande, it notes, called President Barack Obama on Friday evening to reiterate his determination.

Le Figaro reports that US airstrikes on Syria are now imminent, probably before Barack Obama flies out of Washington on Tuesday, en route for the G20 Summit in Russia. The right-wing newspaper strongly opposes French military intervention, whether it is to punish the al-Assad regime or to avoid the United States from walking alone. Le Figaro wonders why President François Hollande-- who is now vowing to inflict on the al-Assad regime punishment proportionate to the chemical weapons attack-- had to wait for 100,000 people to be killed before taking action.

The right-wing newspaper says Syria could become a booby trap for France. It argues that all diplomatic options have not been exhausted, adding that the unexpected rejection of David Cameron’s military intervention plan by the House of Commons, should have provided some food for thought to the war mongers.

Washington and Paris are united to "punish" Bashar al-Assad, not to topple him. That’s Libération’s understanding of the mission Obama and Hollande have handed their forces. The left-leaning newspaper says all options are on the table. It claims that by engaging French forces in the military operation against public opinion, Hollande is trying to prove that France has not lost its sovereignty.

offers strong backing to the President’s decision stating in an editorial that there is absolutely no easy option to put an end to the massacre taking place in Syria. The paper underlines that UN falsehoods about Iraq and Libya had after all complicated international efforts to find a legal basis for any military action against Syria.

Saturday’s papers wrap-up the shocking story of baby-trafficking in Marseille and the Corsican capital of Ajaccio. This follows reports that a Roma couple gave their baby away in exchange for 8,000 euros and a BMW car. Aujourd’hui en France reports that four Romas are implicated in the monstrous scandal. Le Figaro reports that police began investigating the allegations in July after it learned that the toddler’s Roma mother was discovered crying as she left the maternity ward.

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