The outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke more forcefully and frankly than any other Western leader about the real danger of a nuclear-armed Iran and accepted that it would have to be tackled by military action. He was also stood out as one of the few French leaders of recent times prepared to fight for French and Western Middle East interests.
The role of French special forces, navy and air forces, alongside US and British forces, was pivotal in the campaign to overthrow Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi. In recent weeks, he placed French units on standby in case President Obama decided to intervene in Syria. In the event, the US president pulled back from an operation that was planned to have involved Saudi and GCC armies as well.
France’s successful military showing in the Libyan war brought no political or economic rewards. Indeed, Paris shelled out a million dollars it could ill afford to pay for it. Sarkozy’s opponent Francois Hollande did not make this an issue in his campaign, but it was certainly not lost on the French voter. The French Muslim voter no doubt settled scores with Sarkozy for his ban on the veil and pro-Israeli policies and may even have cost him the presidency, although this issue too did not come to the fore in electioneering.
Full article: Change of French presidents weakens Western front against nuclear Iran (DEBKAfile)