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French press review 13 March 2018


Washington threatens the use of force if it doesn't get a new 30-day UN-brokered ceasefire in Syria while Pope Francis marks five years in the Vatican.

We begin with the growing concern of the French commentators about the worsening situation in Syria.

This is as the United States threatened on Monday to take action to end chemical attacks and "inhuman suffering".

The warning delivered at the UN Security Council meeting in New York on Monday by the US Ambassador Nikki Haley clearly targeted the Assad regime in Damascus, Iran, and Russia who he claimed continuing to wage war against their political opponents.

L'Humanité regrets that the Turkish military, who have intensified military operation to oust the Kurdish People's Protection Units from the northern Syrian region of Afrin appear left out.

The Communist daily says time is running out to rescue Afrin from the crazy designs of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist allies. For the paper, the catastrophic situation in the enclave could degenerate into ethnic cleansing.

L'Humanité warns that the silence and hesitation by Western nations has lasted too long, adding that they must  find ways of getting the United Nations to stop the Turkish dictator by all means possible to end the carnage.

Liberation says there is substantive evidence of Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria, alongside forces loyal to the Basher -al Assad regime.

The paper holds that even though Moscow denies this, it won't take long for body bags to start being flown back to the homes and families of these soldiers of fortune and for President Putin to start feeling the political ravages of Russians dying in a war they never should be fighting.

Le Monde casts doubt on the prospects of a tri-partite summit grouping the leaders of North Korea, the United States and South Korea on Pyongyang's denuclearization.

Four days after the foes made the blaring and spectacular announcement to attend the summit, it argues, not one is capable of imagining what will happen, when the two erratic and unpredictable come face-to face.

According to Le Monde, the diplomatic drama may turn out to be an outstanding success just as it may produce a disastrous fiasco.

And talking about European lack of trust in the US President, l'Alsace says Brussels made it clear to Donald Trump on Monday that the EU will not waver against trade "bullies" as the row over controversial steel and aluminum tariffs of up to 25 percent deepens.

Washington also threatened to tax German cars if the European Union doesn't lower barriers to US products.

The paper says that the EU which had pushed back the hardest against Washington's shock measures, loudly announced on Monday a list of US products  - including peanuts and motorcycles - it could hit with countermeasures, with the head of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker taunting Trump, saying the EU could match "stupid with stupid."

L'Alsace warns that Europe is facing two risks - firstly the slowing down of the German economy will have deep repercussions on the entire EU.

Secondly, it explains the lowering of Chinese steel exports to the United States could lead to massive dumping in Europe with the consequences of provoking a drop in local steel prices .Such are the reasons why the EU cannot afford to remain indifferent, explains the publication.

Meanwhile, today is the fifth anniversary of Jorge Mario Bergoglio's accession to the papacy under the name of Francis. Conservative Le Figaro is first to answer the question about what he has achieved over the period.

According to the right-wing paper,what has stood out during this stage of his papacy is his prophetic message about missionary outreach as the paradigm for all the Church’s activity” that it is “the entire People of God which evangelizes".

For Le Figaro, it's not worth the trouble to go cracking one's brain to find out if the charismatic complex, good-humored and flexible Pontiff is a leftist or a conservative. What he is for sure according to Le Figaro is that he is the new face of the Catholic Church, in his own might, a whistle-blower of everyone's conscience.

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