VIDEO. Revelations on a secret operation: France would be involved in 19 bombings against civilians perpetrated by Egypt

Since 2013, despite the bloody repression that accompanied Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s coming to power by a military coup in 2013, France sees the Egyptian regime as an opportunity in terms of “soutex” that is, support for arms exports. Especially since this providential client, who saved the Rafale program by buying 24 planes in 2015, also presents himself as a bulwark against Islamic terrorism in a particularly unstable region.

The same year, France discreetly sets up military cooperation with Egypt, worried about the chaos on the Libyan border. To help track jihadists, a secret French mission – its existence has been confirmed at “Further investigation” by the former boss of the Directorate of Military Intelligence – was born in 2016.

A few reminders of French expectations on human rights

This is to say if France maintains with Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s Egypt, despite its repeated violations of human rights, a privileged strategic and commercial relationship. Since the start of his mandate, Emmanuel Macron has only raised his tone publicly on one occasion against the Sissi regime: during his official trip to Cairo, in January 2019. But the recall by the French president, in front of a raïs who did not hide his annoyance, with a “reality” – the imprisonment of journalists and activists – was not going to change anything in the Franco-Egyptian partnership.

As proof, a month later, during a meeting at the Quai d’Orsay with the Egyptian ambassador, “the director of the North Africa and Middle East section [un haut fonctionnaire de l’équipe Le Drian] assured the ambassador that there was no change of position, “it is written in the minutes of the meeting. For the Sirli mission, initiated under François Hollande, nothing was going to change either, despite repeated alerts on his abuses … The Egyptian president continued to be received with honors, and even, in December 2020, with the Legion of Honor, awarded by Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace.

France’s 2nd largest armaments customer

Six months later, the purchase of 30 additional Rafale aircraft (for an amount of 3.95 billion euros) made Egypt the second largest customer of France in terms of armaments.

Before this sale, the Directorate of Military Intelligence, which is piloting Operation Sirli, had nevertheless given the alert. In January 2019, a note recognized for the first time that the information transmitted by the French team had allowed the Egyptian army to bomb civilians. After analyzing confidential documents, sent to journalists by a source wishing to denounce a state scandal, it emerges that France is involved in at least 19 bombings against civilians, between 2016 and 2018.

Extract from “France-Egypt: revelations on a secret operation”, a document to be seen in “Complément d’études” on November 25, 2021.

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