The government of French President Emmanuel Macron has reacted furiously after a group of French soldiers in service issued an open letter warning that a “civil war” was being prepared for its “concessions” to “Islamism”, weeks after a similar message of military elements shook the elite.
The letter, published on the website of the right-wing magazine Valeurs Actuelles on Sunday afternoon, echoes that published by the same publication last month, but appears to have been written by an unknown number of younger troops still in active service. .
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, a close ally of Macron, on Monday accused the anonymous signatories of the second letter of lack of “courage” while Defense Minister Florence Parly rejected it as part of a “crude political scheme.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Castex told the newspaper Le Parisien that the letter was a “political maneuver” by the far right.
But she was well received by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, seen as Macron’s main rival for next year’s presidential election.
Some in the government had also blamed her on the previous letter, signed by a handful of officers and about 20 semi-retired generals.
“We are not talking about extending your mandates or conquering others. We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country “, said the last letter, addressed to Macron and his cabinet.
The perpetrators described themselves as soldiers of the younger military generation, a so-called “fire generation” who had seen active service.
“They have offered their lives to destroy the Islamism to which you have made concessions in our land,” they wrote.
They also claimed to have served in the Sentinelle security operation in France, launched after a wave of attacks in 2015.
They accused that, for some religious communities, “France means nothing more than an object of sarcasm, contempt or even hatred.”
“If a civil war breaks out, the military will maintain order on its own ground … the civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well,” the letter said.
In contrast to the previous letter, the public can sign the last letter, with Valeurs Actuelles saying that more than 160,000 had done so until Monday afternoon.
“Is that courage?”
A senior military headquarters official told AFP that the armed forces would not drop the letter unanswered.
“The command will make a firm reminder of respect for duty,” said the officer, who asked not to be appointed, adding that maintaining the apolitical was essential to maintaining the army’s credibility.
“You may have personal convictions, but the armed forces are apolitical and have absolute allegiance to the president-elect. If you feel bad, you can leave the army with a clear conscience,” the officer said.
“I think when you do the army you don’t do that kind of hidden stuff,” Darmanin told BFM television. “These people are anonymous. Is it courage? Be anonymous? “
“It’s part of a crude political scheme,” Parly said on the same channel. “It uses all the rhetoric, the vocabulary, the tone, the references that are from the far right.”
Analysts say Macron has been attacking the right in recent months to prevent Le Pen and his National Rally party from exploding a series of attacks in late 2020, blaming “Islamist extremists” who recently emigrated to France. .
The civil war is “preparing,” Le Pen replied during a visit to western France. “In any case, it is a risk. Of course, there is always a risk of civil war, “he said, adding that he welcomed the second letter as he had the first.
“Clearly it is not a call to insurrection,” he said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t support it.”
Castex had labeled the rare intervention in the politics of military figures in last month’s letter as “an initiative against all our Republican principles, of honor and the duty of the army.”
The chief of staff of the armed forces, General Francois Lecointre, said those who signed it would face punishments ranging from total forced withdrawal to disciplinary action.