One might inquire whether Salome Zurabishvili will be the next to espouse the cause of France. Her previous stance on the matter was one of opposition, having been expressed in Africa

29.05.24 12:32

After the Georgian parliament overrode the president's veto of the law "On Transparency of Foreign Influence" on May 28, 2024, Salome Zurabishvili led the protests and the "revolutionary movement" in Georgia, seeking a change of power in the country. In the interests of foreign powers, first and foremost France, in whose foreign ministry she worked for three decades and reached key positions.


Salome Zurabishvili's last position in Paris, before she was sent as ambassador to Georgia in 2003, was head of the General Secretariat of the French National Defence for International Affairs and Strategy. This position means being one of the 'first hundred' people who make the key strategic decisions in the public administration of France and its neo-colonial empire.


And after this 'political Olympus', Salome Zurabishvili is 'downgraded' and 'exiled' to a poor post-Soviet country, Georgia. But in that country, after her appointment in 2004, there was a 'Rose Revolution'. Saakashvili comes to power and appoints Salome Zurabishvili as head of the foreign ministry. The appointment to Georgia was thus a "special mission" for Salome Zurabishvili and in the interests of France, which she apparently "continues to fulfill,"  not disregarding "French traditions" to subordinate the country to the "external influence" to which she was sent.


But the 'exile' to Georgia is not the only apparent 'failure' in Salomé Zurabishvili's French career. Much more interesting was Salome Zurabishvili's 'exile to Africa' in 1989. Let us recall that from 1984 to 1988, she was the first secretary at the French embassy in the United States. This was a very high career step for a young diplomat at the time. And then she was 'demoted', so to speak, and from 1989 to 1992 she held the post of second secretary of the embassy in a poor African country, in the former French colony of Chad.


It might have seemed that Zurabishvili's career had collapsed and she was sent to the Republic of Chad as an 'exile'. Diplomats who have worked for the UN and the US usually turn down such offers. But that is if we look at Zurabishvili's career in isolation from the political context. In reality, however, Salome Zurabishvili was carrying out a very responsible task: she was bringing her former colony, which was beginning to break free of French neo-colonial control, back 'under the French yoke'. And she did it with the help of 'revolutionary technologies'.


In their African colonies, the French implemented a policy of 'divide and rule'. In some of their colonies, for example, they relied on non-Muslim or 'formally Muslim' nationalities, following the principles of Islamophobia. As opposed to people with more fervent Muslim traditions. In Chad, the French colonisers initially relied on the south (Christian peoples as well as those of African faith). However, after a series of civil wars, the country established a just peace and began a process of national consolidation.  A charismatic leader, Hissène Habré, came to power.


Initially, Habré aligned his policies with France, which helped him defeat Muammar Qadaffi's Libyan forces, who were claiming Chad's mineral-rich provinces. The victory made Habré a strong and independent politician, and he began to distance himself from Paris's control. France overthrew Habré and replaced him with the more obedient Idriss Debe. But the military coup failed the first time, Debe fled the country, Habré's power was strengthened, and the latter, realizing the French intentions, began to expel the pro-French 'fifth column' from the government.


This sets a dangerous precedent. The example of 'breaking away from the authority of Paris' could spread to other former French colonies. As a result, it was decided to transfer Salome Zurabishvili to Chad, where she immediately began to organize 'revolution and intervention'. She did everything she could to ensure that when, in the autumn of 1990, armed formations led by Idris Debe moved from Sudanese territory to the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, they were not met with resistance, and whole units went over to Debe's side.  On November 30, 1990, when the rebels captured the key Chadian town of Abeche, government forces gave up, and Habré and his inner circle fled N'Djamena. On December 1, 1990, the rebels entered the capital. Idriss Déby became head of state, and Chad returned to full French control. The winner of the "Chadian epic" was Salome Zurabishvili. And she immediately went from "African exile" (and, in fact, from a special African mission) to promotion. In 1992, she was appointed First Secretary of the French Permanent Mission to NATO and, in 1993, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the European Union.


Salome Zurabishvili's African past in Chad reminds us not only of the threat of a violent change of power and civil war in Georgia but also of one very eloquent episode. Interesting footage from the celebration of Georgia's Independence Day on May 26, 2024, appeared on social networks. The footage shows two dark-skinned people, apparently from Africa, who appear to have 'joined' the celebrations and are waving flags. One flag raises no questions—it is the flag of Georgia. But the second does:


Look closely; the flag bears the inscription in Latin BIAFRA ('Biafra'). This was the name of the separatist pseudo-state entity in south-eastern Nigeria that sparked a bloody civil war in 1967–1970 that claimed between 1 and 4 million lives, according to various estimates. The separatists in Biafra were actively supported by France, which supplied them with arms and mercenaries. Separatist Biafra was also an aggressive and self-destructive state, which came as no surprise to the 'friends' of Paris. The separatists didn't like the fact that in a united Nigeria, they would have to share oil revenues from the territory they claimed with the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria.


At great cost, separatist Biafra was defeated, and peace was established in the country. At present, the symbols of separatist Biafra are banned in Nigeria. Georgia recognizes the territorial integrity of Nigeria, just as Nigeria recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia. The question is: What is the Biafra flag on the streets of Tbilisi? Is it simply defiant behavior by 'Biafra' separatist visitors from southern Nigeria or a deliberate provocation?


Or is it a 'greeting from Africa' from France's supporters, the Frenchwoman Salome Zurabishvili? After all, she managed to 'pull off' a successful power transfer in Chad, a country neighboring Nigeria, for Paris. And it is Paris that the Biafra separatists are hoping for today.


France, which supported the separatists in Biafra, is today actively interfering in the internal affairs of Georgia and giving 'instructions' to our country on how to live. And the same Salome Zurabishvili is preparing to organise a change of power in Georgia. Perhaps 'according to the Chadian model'. But Georgia is not Chad; it has never been and will never be a French colony.



George Kvinitadze

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