The government of French President Emmanuel Macron has reacted angrily to a group of French soldiers who sent an open letter warning that a “civil war” was coming “due to the legitimacy of” Islam “, a few weeks after the military ousted the elite.
The letter, posted on the front page of the Valeurs Actuelles right-wing magazine over the weekend, is similar to the one published last month but appears to have been written by less active soldiers.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, Macron’s close ally, on Monday criticized those who signed the second letter for lack of “courage” when Security Minister Florence Parly sang it as part of a “political conspiracy”.
Prime Minister Jean Castex then told Le Parisien newspaper that the letter was “politically motivated” by “extreme freedom”.
But he was welcomed by Marine Le Pen’s far-right leader, who sees him as Macron’s arch-enemy in next year’s presidential election.
He is also being held accountable by some government officials for a previous letter, signed by a minority supervisor and about 20 retired officers.
‘A generation of fire’
“We are not talking about growing your career or winning others. We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country,” said a recent letter to Macron and his minister.
The authors identified themselves as young soldiers, so-called “fire generation” who saw the work in action.
“They gave their lives to destroy the Islam that you have conspired against in our country,” he wrote.
He also said he worked for security operations at the Sentinelle in France, which was set up after the 2015 terrorist attacks.
They also said, in some religious contexts, “France means nothing but an object of ridicule, contempt or hatred”.
“In the event of a civil war, the military has maintained order in their territory … a civil war is raging in France and you are well aware,” the letter said.
Contrary to previous reports, a recent letter could be signed by the public, with Valeurs Actuelles claiming that more than 160,000 people did so on Monday afternoon.
‘Is this courage?’
A military official told AFP that the military would not allow the letter to go unanswered.
“We strongly remind you of the labor law,” said the official, who asked not to be named, adding that maintaining politeness was essential for the military’s credibility.
“A person may have his own beliefs but the military is not involved in politics and he is completely loyal to the president-elect. If you are upset you can leave the war with a clear conscience,” he said.
“I hope that when you become a soldier you don’t do this in secret,” Darmanin told BFM television. “These individuals are unknown. Is this courage? To be anonymous? ”
“It’s part of the nonsense politics,” Parly told the same approach. “It uses all the expressions, phrases, sounds, references that are most accurate.”
Investigators say Macron has gone to the right in recent months to prevent Le Pen and his National Rally party from using a number of threats by the end of 2020 to criticize “Islamist” immigrants who have recently moved to France.
Civil war is “beginning,” replied Le Pen on his trip to western France. “In any case, it’s a risk. Obviously, there is always the risk of civil war, “he said, adding that he had received his second letter because he had had his first.
“Obviously it’s not calling for a revolt,” he said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have supported it.”
Castex also said the military had taken immediate political action last month as “a way to challenge all our Republican laws, dignity and military service”.
Chief of Staff General of General Francois Lecointre said those who sign will receive penalties from forced retirement to punishment.