President Macron Moves to Restore Country’s Lost Middle East Influence
France President Emmanuel Macron is a man on a mission to restore the country's clout in the Middle East. The president has been active in matters touching on the region like mediating on the Lebanon crisis to defending the nuclear deal in Iran. President Macron seems focused on filling the void left by America, which has been labeled isolationist in order to boost France's influence in the Middle East region. Over the weekend, Macron hosted Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon for talks to resolve the predicament caused by the premier's shock resignation announcement on November 4, 2017.
Hariri's Shock Announcement
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that he would resign while in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The shock decision was viewed as a grim escalation of the existing regional conflict for dominance between Iran and Saudi Arabia by proxies based in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and others. Emmanuel Macron, the new French president who was elected on the promise that he would restore the country's international standing especially in the Middle East where it was seemingly irrelevant, strode into the fray. According to the managing director at GlobalStrat, Olivier Guitta, Macron is an opportunist and has already made his move to fill the gap left by the UK and the US in the Middle East region. Mr. Guitta observed that this would position the country as one of the playmakers in the region alongside Russia.
Walking On a Tight Diplomatic Rope
France had influence over both Syria and Lebanon in the early 20th Century. However, that influence waned with every passing year and this corresponded to the country's economic decline. President Macron's invitation to Hariri (who is backed by Saudi) to Paris, holding telephone calls to leaders in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the US as well as planning a visit to Iran in 2018 are all part of his mission. The president is doing all these in the hope that he will be successful in establishing France as a key player in the region.
President Macron, who is viewed as a rookie in diplomatic matters stated that it is important to talk to all countries after he made a surprise call to Riyadh earlier this month. The media in Lebanon welcomed the intervention by Macron in their country, which has been a battlefield for proxy wars. The French President seems to be doing everything opposite of what the U.S. President is currently doing. [Read More]
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