At the traditional New Year wishes ceremony, for fear that the military might shoot the President, the Elysée security service deactivated their weapons (Olivet military base, 9 January 2013).

The military adventures of Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande in Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Libya, Syria and now in Mali are hotly discussed in the French army. And the opposition they face is at a critical point. Some examples:

In 2008, when Nicolas Sarkozy had just changed the mission of the French soldiers in Afghanistan to become supplementary forces of the U.S. occupation, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Bruno Cuche, refused to send in Leclerc tanks. The crisis was so profound that President Sarkozy took advantage of the first opportunity to force General Cuche to resign.

In 2011, it was Admiral Pierre-François Forissier’s turn. The Chief of Naval Staff had publicly expressed his doubts about the operation in Libya which, according to him, took the French forces away from their primary mission of defending the homeland.

In 2012, General Jean Fleury, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, was even more explicit in saying that France has neither the vocation nor the means to attack Syria.

Over the past five years, the senior officers-most often very observant Catholics- have become convinced that the power of the French army has been diverted by Presidents Sarkozy and Hollande to serve private or foreign interests, U.S. and Israeli.

This is confirmed by the very organization of recent external operations. Since 2010, most of them have escaped the command of Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Edouard Guillaud, to accrue to the command of General Benedict Puga, from the Elysée.

This paratrooper, a specialist of Special Operations and Intelligence, embodies both dependence on Israel and the revival of colonialism. It was he who oversaw, in Egypt, the construction of the steel wall to complete the closure of the Gaza Strip, turning it into a giant ghetto.

We know that Nicolas Sarkozy did not enjoy contact with the military. François Hollande, on his part, flees their company. Thus, when he went to Lebanon to urge President Michel Suleiman to support the secret war in Syria, on November 4, he did not see fit to greet the French contingent of UNIFIL. This affront is not attributable to disdain, but to Hollande’s fear of coming into contact with them.

The crisis of confidence has reached a point where the security service of the Elysée fears a military attempt on the life of the President of the Republic. Thus, January 9, at the President’s address to the French armed forces, at the 12th regiment of Cuirassiers d’Orléans base, the Elysée required the neutralization of weapons. The firing pins of assault rifles and machine guns were removed, and pistols were also incapacitated. Ammunition was confiscated and stored in sealed bags. Such a measure had not been taken since the Algerian crisis, sixty years prior.

When François Hollande said: "The military community is a family, with the active units and reserves (...) I know the stability, solidarity and I also appreciate the sense of discipline, cohesion and even of discretion", the behavior of his security services belied his words. The President is afraid of his armed forces. He distrusts his soldiers because he knows he cannot justify the missions he assigns to them.

This crisis will not fail to deepen if the president continues his commitment to extending covert operations to Algeria. Moreover, since the suspension of conscription and the professionalization of the armed forces, many recruits are drawn from Muslim families from Algeria. They will not fail to react emotionally to the rampant recolonization of their parents’ homeland.

Roger Lagassé