French Foreign Minister: Maybe we should all come back from vacation, non?

posted at 2:41 pm on August 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

It’s not what you think, or at least not what Laurent Fabius meant. No doubt some will see his quip about “the holiday period” as a reference to our own vacationing President, but the context of his remarks on Iraq and ISIS actually cut the opposite direction. While the US conducts airstrikes and mulls options for more effective military intervention to rescue the Yazidis threatened with genocide, the French Foreign Minister was calling out other Western nations to awaken from their stupor — and he may have struck a nerve:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, back from a weekend trip to Iraq, urged his European counterparts to consider supplying soldiers in Iraq’s semiautonomous region of Kurdistan with weapons.

The equipment, he said, would help Kurds contain the advance of Islamist militants calling themselves the Islamic State, who have taken over large swaths of Iraq and neighboring Syria in recent months.

“There is an evident imbalance between this horrible terrorist group which has highly sophisticated weapons, and Peshmergas, the Kurdish fighters, who are extremely courageous but don’t have the same equipment,” Mr. Fabius said on France Info radio. “I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries, but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.”

Several European countries, including France, the U.K. and Italy, have contributed to humanitarian missions in Iraq aimed at supporting Christian and Yazidi civilians who face slaughter by the Islamic State’s puritanical fighters.

But no European country has proposed sending troops to Iraq or joining the U.S. in conducting airstrikes against Islamist insurgents—a hangover from the previous Iraq war, when some European leaders were lambasted by their voters for participating.

In the literal sense, Fabius wants Western leaders in Europe to get back to work ASAP from their traditional August holiday to address this crisis before it’s too late. But Fabius’ remarks apply in a more allegorical sense, too. European leaders got stung for their participation in the 2003 Iraq war, and that has pushed them to ignore the collapse of the Iraqi security forces and the rise of ISIS. Much like the Obama administration over the last three years, Europe has been content to pretend that the war in Iraq was over, and that any issues still active there were within the competence of Baghdad to resolve.

Over the last several months, though, it has become apparent that ISIS is a threat far beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria, and that communities which should fall within the concern of the West — especially the ancient Christian communities that long precede Islam — were on the verge of annihilation. The Kurds on which the West relied for integration and stability appear to be next, and without some significant help in materiel and logistics may not last much longer. Europe, like the US, has mostly been on vacation while these developments snowballed into the genocidal insanity now on display.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the US and France have responded more realistically than others, at least in terms of supplying the Peshmerga with ammunition and competitive arms. The US has also launched airstrikes, with not too much effectiveness, while our NATO partners dither on whether to contribute to those efforts. However, the EU may finally be waking up, at least a little:

The European Union failed on Tuesday to agree on a joint position on supplying weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling Islamic State militants, but said individual members could send arms in coordination with Baghdad.

Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani asked the international community on Sunday to provide the Kurds with weapons to help them fight the militants, whose dramatic push through the north has startled world powers.

EU ambassadors, holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss the crises in Iraq, Ukraine and Gaza, gave the green light for individual governments to send arms under set conditions.

“The (ambassadors) noted the urgent request by the Kurdish regional authorities to certain member states for military support and underlined the need to consider this request in close coordination with the Iraqi authorities,” a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

Diplomats said some EU states opposed sending arms, meaning there was no EU-wide agreement to do so, but that they could not prevent other countries from doing so, if they wished.

The UK’s parliament and government, though, still wants to stay on the sidelines a little while longer. The Obama administration has been working the phones to get more NATO countries to follow France’s lead, with some success. The WSJ report mentions that Turkey has agreed to get tougher on terrorism, and today’s Washington Post notes the belated efforts of the Erdogan government:

Before their blitz into Iraq earned them the title of the Middle East’s most feared insurgency, the jihadists of the Islamic State treated this Turkish town near the Syrian border as their own personal shopping mall.

And eager to aid any and all enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey rolled out the red carpet. …

Alarmed by the growing might of the Islamic State, Turkey has started cracking down. Working with the United States and European governments, Turkish officials have enacted new safeguards to detain foreign fighters trying to get into Syria and launched a military offensive aimed at curtailing the smuggling of weapons and supplies across the border.

But in a region engulfed by a broadening conflict, Turkey is also reaping what it sowed. It is engaging in border shootouts with rebels it once tactically aided. It is confronting spillover violence, a cutoff in its trade routes and a spreading wave of fear in Turkish towns as the Islamic State wins over defectors from rival opposition groups.

And despite the new measures, the Islamic State is still slipping through Turkish nets — raising doubts about international efforts to put a stranglehold on a radical Sunni group known for public crucifixions and the beheading of enemies.

Turkey may be belatedly returning from vacation in an allegorical sense, too, but this headache won’t go away by just closing borders and cutting off access to goods and services. The Yazidis and the Kurds will not be saved by pretending that the entire problem is Iraqi disunity, either. Fabius has a better grasp on that than most of his continental colleagues, which is why his remarks are aimed at them, rather than across the pond.

Update: Just to underscore this, White House adviser Ben Rhodes conceded that the administration has a military operation to rescue the Yazidis under serious consideration. Just don’t call it “combat,” even if combat occurs:

Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told reporters on Martha’s Vineyard that President Obama would probably receive recommendations in the next several days about how to mount a rescue operation to help the refugees, who are stranded on a mountaintop surrounded by Sunni militants. He said those recommendations could include the use of American ground troops.

But he drew a distinction between the use of American forces to help a humanitarian mission and the use of troops in the battle against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, something he said the president had rejected before and continued to oppose.

“What he’s ruled out is reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq,” Mr. Rhodes said. He added, using an alternative name for the militant group, that the deployment of ground troops to assist a rescue was “different than reintroducing U.S. forces in a combat role to take the fight to ISIL.”

He acknowledged that any ground troops in Iraq would face dangers, even if they were there to help the refugees find a safe way off the mountain. He said that like American forces anywhere, the troops would have the ability to defend themselves if they came under fire.

That confirms this morning’s Wall Street Journal report. If they want to rescue the Yazidis, though, they’d better hurry it up — and they’d better expect combat to erupt during the mission, too.

Update: I edited the paragraph after the first excerpt to make my point more clear.


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RAAAAACIST!!!!!!

ConstantineXI on August 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM

When the French are ahead of you…..

Oil Can on August 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Obama is the Sleeping Giant…

When he wakes up from hibernating…

Watch out….

Electrongod on August 13, 2014 at 2:49 PM

UNNNNNNNNNbelievable. We are doomed.

djl130 on August 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Inform the EU that the Kurds and Palestinians are related, the flows of arms and money into Kurdistan would resemble the tidal wave from “Poseidon Adventure”.

Bishop on August 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM

No Ed. He’s talking about the jackass European luxury of 8 week vacations. They are all – literally – on holiday.

Jaibones on August 13, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Europe, they are coming for you next. They’ve openly admitted as much. Yet, you dither and hide. Good luck, you’ll need it.

HumpBot Salvation on August 13, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Obama is the Sleeping Giant…

When he wakes up from hibernating…

Watch out….

Electrongod on August 13, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Yeah, he’s a regular Rip Van Twinkle

HumpBot Salvation on August 13, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Obama is the Sleeping Giant…

When he wakes up from hibernating…

Watch out….

Electrongod on August 13, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Yeah, but it’s Choom induced. When he wakes up he’ll just choom, eat, and fall asleep again.

Oil Can on August 13, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Unimaginable suffering and deaths…

… and ‘The Ruling Class” parses over words.

No doubt Obama will have to take another vacation, since all this mulling has ruined this one…

Seven Percent Solution on August 13, 2014 at 2:56 PM

The Obama administration has been working the phones to get more NATO countries to follow France’s lead, with some success.

How is he doing that if he is on vacation?

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Colonialism starting to take on 3 A.M. hotness.

Lime in the Coconut on August 13, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Just like World War I… God help us.

esr1951 on August 13, 2014 at 2:58 PM

No Ed. He’s talking about the jackass European luxury of 8 week vacations. They are all – literally – on holiday.

Jaibones on August 13, 2014 at 2:51 PM

That’s what I meant by “literally,” but I’ve rewritten that sentence to make it more clear.

Ed Morrissey on August 13, 2014 at 3:00 PM

No Ed. He’s talking about the jackass European luxury of 8 week vacations. They are all – literally – on holiday.

Jaibones on August 13, 2014 at 2:51 PM

They get 4 weeks in France and about 11 national and what’s called “bank” holidays. Many, but not all of French citizens take those 4 weeks in August.

There are actually laws that require certain businesses to retain a staff that can keep the business running. Many times those are seasonal employees.

This sort of vacation/PTO arrangement is common through most of Europe.

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 3:00 PM

US Golfer in Chief and Congress “Non”.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Klein, the Small, weighed in, back in 2007.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 3:04 PM

“Individualism sucks” — Ezra Klein

Must be hell to be a leftist thug.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 3:05 PM

If they want to make up for their week long stupor in ignoring the plight of the Yazidi’s, and other minority groups ISIS has steam rolled, why not send every Osprey onto Mt. Sinjar to get them out of there?

Zaggs on August 13, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Iraq conflict: Cameron pledges to ‘get these people off that mountain’

David Cameron breaks off his holiday early as he suggests British military personnel could be involved in the rescue of refugees who are ‘exposed, starving and dying of thirst’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 3:06 PM

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius[...]

Cunctator no more!

Tzetzes on August 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius = RACIST.

President Mom Jeans gets told he is a pansy by a french. LOLOLOLOL

jukin3 on August 13, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Don’t you think, or don’t you?!

claudius on August 13, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Thee French, are a calling for a Western Wake-Up call,
who knew! (sarc)

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 3:12 PM

This moron has his priorities too.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 3:13 PM

This moron has his priorities too.

Schadenfreude on August 13, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Administration blaming ISIS on climate disruption in 5,4,3,2…

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Consider this is coming from a Nation that had thousands of sick and elderly die during a heat wave because its physicians all took a cumulative summer holiday.

The staff left behind couldn’t handle the emergency.

Maybe that 30 hour work week and lots of paid holiday isn’t the best way to run a Nation.

ajacksonian on August 13, 2014 at 3:17 PM

France you gave us Eva Green and French food but not much else…aside from going broke over and over again due to electing socialists…

sorrowen on August 13, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Update: Just to underscore this, White House adviser Ben Rhodes conceded that the administration has a military operation to rescue the Yazidis under serious consideration. Just don’t call it “combat,” even if combat occurs:

Didn’t they say the same about Vietnam?

ConservativePartyNow on August 13, 2014 at 3:23 PM

I’m actually kind of surprised that the Yazidis thing is getting the amount of attention that it is. Usually the press ignores the Muslim- committed holocaust underway. They even ignore Sunni-Shiite mutual cleansing efforts.

I guess it’s completely irrational. These dopey, narcissistic reporters have no idea what they’re talking about, and for whatever reason they got it stuck in their heads that the Yazidis thing is unique.

On a separate note, at least this whole mess is getting Muslims to kill each other at an even faster pace than usual. In that way, GWB and his butt-buddy Obama might have inadvertently done some good.

Keep arming the Kurds (even though their scumbags too). I’ll make popcorn to watch the Muslim-on-Muslim bloodbath.

I just feel bad for Christians and Jews there.

WhatSlushfund on August 13, 2014 at 3:24 PM

I’d be curious to know what the Rules of Engagement would be if we decide to head in there and start rescuing people on just a “humanitarian mission” or provide help to the Kurds.

Something tells me some of these countries could be setting themselves up for some loss of life if they don’t go in their guns a blazing against these monsters.

nextgen_repub on August 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Less than 10% of Germans still attend church, but not one of their dozen “religious holidays” have been eliminated.

Me: What, another holiday? What is this one?

German: It’s Saint Schnitzel Day!

Me: What did he do?

German: Hell if I know, but I won’t be at work!

Megyn Kellys Lipstick on August 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

when people are dying, you must come back from vacation golfing.

A young man from my area was killed in Afghanistan today.

Hope King Putt is enjoying himself.

WhirledPeas on August 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

DEFCON,…er,…..LEVEL 3:

And,………..Bootys on da ground:
_____________________________________

https://twitter.com/UNIraq

Iraq
59m

UN declares a ‘Level 3 Emergency’ for Iraq amid human rights crisis – @UNIraq
Read more on facebook.com

UN Declares a ‘Level 3 Emergency’ for Iraq to Ensure More Effective Humanitarian Response

Baghdad, 13 August 2014 – The United Nations have declared a ‘Level 3 Emergency’ for Iraq. “Given the scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe, this measure will facilitate mobilization of additional resources in goods, funds and assets to ensure a more effective response to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by forced displacements”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov said.
(More….)

https://www.facebook.com/UnitedNationsIraq/posts/816987324999963
================================================================

Iraq
1h

US would consider using US ground troops to assist Iraqis in rescuing Yazidi refugees, senior White House official says – @nytimes
Read more on nytimes.com

U.S. Could Use Ground Troops to Aid Rescue of Iraq Refugees
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and HELENE COOPERAUG. 13, 2014
**************************************************

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/world/middleeast/us-may-weigh-using-ground-troops-to-aid-rescue-of-iraq-refugees.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Flood of illegal aliens coming across the former border: check
Economy hanging by a weakened thread: check
Blacks starting to riot in American cities: check
Ebola migrating from Africa: check
Russians on the move again: check
China taking threatening actions: check
Jihadis morphing into global avalanche: check
0bama on vacation: check

claudius on August 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

I just feel bad for Christians and Jews there.

WhatSlushfund on August 13, 2014 at 3:24 PM

It’s so magnanimous of you to feel bad about somebody dying over there.

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Inform the EU that the Kurds and Palestinians are related, the flows of arms and money into Kurdistan would resemble the tidal wave from “Poseidon Adventure”.

Bishop on August 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Bishop: Are YOU suggesting, its UpSideDown?????(sarc):0

canopfor on August 13, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I’m near Ft Hood.The arty ranges have been quiet for months.The booms have been going on the last couple of days so something is up.

docflash on August 13, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Let’s just face facts.

Obama. Does. Not. Care. About. Christians.

/Fore

Key West Reader on August 13, 2014 at 3:39 PM

The Islamists are in it for the long haul. Even if we were to go in and break their backs now, they would just bide their time and go back on the offensive as time allows. Will we ever get it through our heads it’s an all or nothing battle? I don’t think so. If not, they win, we lose!

Deano1952 on August 13, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I just feel bad for Christians and Jews there.

WhatSlushfund on August 13, 2014 at 3:24 PM

It’s so magnanimous of you to feel bad about somebody dying over there.

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Huh? Where the hell did that come from? Do you not feel bad about people being killed? What I said is what any sane person would say. Or are you just trolling

(Note: being KILLED. Not just ‘dying’ as you put it. Very magnanimous of you to minimize their suffering in aid of our enemies.)

WhatSlushfund on August 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Huh? Where the hell did that come from? Do you not feel bad about people being killed? What I said is what any sane person would say. Or are you just trolling

(Note: being KILLED. Not just ‘dying’ as you put it. Very magnanimous of you to minimize their suffering in aid of our enemies.)

WhatSlushfund on August 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

You were hell bent on the Muslims killing themselves off. The Muslim sect on the mountain are not terrorists. And neither are the Christians and others on that mountain, or in the other places that people are hiding.

But you only give a shit about the Christians and Jews. The rest. Let them die. Well… that’s real magnanimous of you. Get it?

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Say, when they get back from vacation, will they try and stop the North African muslim imports from killing off the Jews in France?

Oh, wait… those mobs are full of muslim VOTERS.

Will France actually start to see that they ALSO have a problem at home? Or will it be time to wrap the day up early there, and hand Europe over to Islam?

ajacksonian on August 13, 2014 at 4:06 PM

That’s the reason they surrendered at the end of June in ’40.

Last time out, they waited until the Hun was at the Marne and had to blow August.

formwiz on August 13, 2014 at 4:46 PM

France you gave us Eva Green and French food but not much else…aside from going broke over and over again due to electing socialists…

sorrowen on August 13, 2014 at 3:20 PM

So the notion of eating snails and that actress whose fluttering eyes going batcrap put the “dreadful” in Penny Dreadful are the country’s good points?

But hey, at least they’ve managed to stay off of holiday long enough to try to address their financial problems. Too bad it’s by selling warships to Putin.

Gingotts on August 13, 2014 at 5:44 PM

But you only give a shit about the Christians and Jews. The rest. Let them die. Well… that’s real magnanimous of you. Get it?

Walter L. Newton on August 13, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Ah, now I see what you’re saying.

Yes, that is my position. So if sarcasm is what you feel that position should be met with, then your sarcasm was appropriately directed.

WhatSlushfund on August 13, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Gingotts on August 13, 2014 at 5:44 PM Yeah something like that not many good options lol.

sorrowen on August 13, 2014 at 6:54 PM