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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

France Gives US Full Support for Intervention in Syria.


HISTORY IN THE NEWS

Dedicated to the background of contemporary events around the world. 


Syria





IN BRIEF:  Cultural and historical ties with Syria may have inspired France to support armed intervention against the Assad Regime. France, after all, ruled her Syrian colony from 1920 to 1946 and French influence in the regions goes back for centuries.
 
IN THE NEWS:  AFTER THE FRENCH CLAIM THEIR OWN EVIDENCE THAT CHEMICAL WEAPONS WERE USED BY SYRIA'S ASSAD REGIME, PRIME MINISTER JEAN-MARC AYRAULT VOWS FULL SUPPORT FOR US INTERVENTION.

THE FACTS: 

-in Syria and Lebanon, until 1946, France was the main European power and the original force of secularization, modernization and westernization.
-the primary European language was and still is French and the primary the European culture in the region is still French and Catholic.
-Lebanese Christians still look to France rather than to the Arab world.
 -like most former colonial powers, the French have preserved economic, cultural or historic
links to their former colonies and links remain strong in Lebanon if  less so in Syria.
-as a colonial power, France manipulated sectarian tensions in Lebanon and Syria for her own benefit.
-as with other former colonial powers there is with France a tacit recognition of responsibility for colonial injustices and legacies of ethnic division.





IN HISTORY:


-1536- Francis I of France and the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman I, sign a treaty of capitulations concerning permanent French trading settlements in the Levant and Turks trading in France; free trade and freedom of religion in one another's countries. Right to be tried in court by one's own consul or nationals. The agreement is renewable upon expiry.
-1854- under threat of war, Napoleon III forces the Ottoman Sultan to recognize France as protector of the Christians in the Levant. In this he had British support against the ambitions of Russia in the Middle East.
-1920- as part of the Sevres settlement between the allies and the Ottomoan empire at the end of World War I, Syria comes under French mandate.
 1930-1939- the French put down several rebellions in Syria while trying to establish their mandate and alienate much of the population.

RELEVANT DATES:

Early French Contact with the Levant.
-1536- Francis I of France and the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman I, sign a treaty of capitulations concerning permanent French trading settlements in the Levant and Turks trading in France; free trade and freedom of religion in one another's countries. Right to be tried in court by one's own consul or nationals. The agreement is renewable upon expiry.
-1585-1635- Fakhr al Din, Druze leader in Lebanon conducts his own foreign policy and invites Christian missionaries.
-1600-1900- Lebanese tribal chiefs encourage French Catholic missionaries to develop education in the country. Rome-educated Maronite priests return to Lebanon and spread western ideas.

Increase of French Interests in the Levant: in religion and trade.
1649- Ottoman Sultan issues a decree allowing France's Louis XIV to protect the Maronites. French clergy and French-educated Maronite priests begin to influence political institutions.
-18th century. The French form close trade relations with Ottoman Syria.
-1736- with Ottoman approval, France becomes protector of the Maronite Christians. The Church of Rome grants the Maronites recognition.

French Support of Invasion by Secularizing Egyptian Viceroy Muhammad Ali. 
1831-40- Egyptian occupation of Syria and Palestine by rebellious Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali. Because Ali is a protege of France, France refuses to help the Sultan. Ali wins Cilicia, Palestine and Syria.
-Mohammed Ali invites the French Jesuits to set up in Lebanon where the Jesuits become protectors of the Maronite Christians.
The Lebanese Civil War of 1840-1861.
-Maronites were considered to be dhimmi, like Jews and Christians- 2nd class citizens. Prompted by French potection of the Maronites, Lebanon's Ottoman rulers incite the Druzes to move against the Maronites.
-1854- under threat of war, Napoleon III forces the Ottoman Sultan to recognize France as protector of the Christians in the Levant. In this he had British support against the ambitions of Russia in the Middle East.

The Crimean War.
-The Sultan begins, however, to give in to Russian pressure to restore Russia as the guarantor of Christianity and the Holy Places of the Middle East. In the end, the Sultan sides with Engand and France. In response, Russia occupies neightbouring Ottoman provinces of Wallachia and Moldovia under the prestext of protecting Russian Orthodoxy. The Russian action sparks the Crimean war.
-1853-1856 Crimean War. British and French Defeat the Ottomans.

End of Lebanese Civil war. Special Status for the Province of Lebanon.
-1860- in Ottoman Lebanon, Druze Muslims massacre Maronite Christians.
-1861- France intervenes and forces the Ottoman sultan to appoint a Christian governor for Lebanon. As a result the Maronite Christians are awarded a special enclave.
1864-1914- the Ottoman province of Mount Lebanon retains semi-autonomous status.
1919 - putative King of Syria, Emir Feisal. backs Arab self-rule at the Versailles peace conference, following the defeat of Germany and the Ottoman Empire in World War I
Sept.- the British make way for a French mandate in Syria. Feisal, according to a deal with French president Clemenceau allows for French administration despite popular Syrian demands for sovereignty.
-1920- as part of the Sevres settlement between the allies and the Ottomoan empire at the end of World War I, Syria comes under French mandate.
1920 June - San Remo conference splits up Feisal's newly-created Arab kingdom by placing Syria-Lebanon under a French
1920 August - France proclaims a new state of Greater Lebanon.
 -the French exploit sectarian tensions.
mandate, and Palestine under British control. 
1920 July - French forces occupy Damascus, forcing Feisal to flee abroad.
-as French intentions become clear, the new Sunni nationalism intensifies.
-the Turkish ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon is enlarged by the French into ‘Greater Lebanon’.

French Divide and rule.
1922 - Syria is divided into three autonomous regions by the French, with separate areas for the Alawites on the coast and the Druze in the south.
1928 - Elections held for a constituent assembly, which drafts a constitution for Syria. French High Commissioner rejects the proposals, sparking nationalist protests.
1930-1939- the French put down several rebellions in Syria while trying to establish their mandate and alienate much of the population.
1936 - France agrees to Syrian independence but signs an agreement maintaining French military and economic dominance dependence in principle.

World War II.
1940 - World War II: Syria comes under the control of the Axis powers after France falls to German forces.
1941- Britain and the Free French liberate Lebanon from Vichy France.
 1943- the National Pact settles differences between Muslims and Christians.
1943- The French and the British send a joint expedition to Syria to keep it out of Nazi control.
1945 - Protests over the slow pace of French withdrawal.
1946 - Last French troops leave Syria.

Syria Becomes Independent
1946- Syria attains independence from France.

Lebanese Civil War.
1983- Oct. 23- -Multinational Peace Troops suffer simultaneous bomb attacks, killing 230 US marines in a marine barracks and 58 French paratroopers. Hezbollah militant Imad Mughaniyah is suspected.

Falling out between Syria and Lebanon
-Syria's complicity in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri polarizes Lebanon between nationalist Sunnis and the Shia militia Hezbollah which supports Syria. Tensions rise between Lebanon and Syria. 

Syria and Lebanon Restore Relations.

2008- July 12- France's President Sarkozy brokers an agreement by which Syria and Lebanon will restore diplomatic relations.








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