Skip to main content
Situation in Iraq

Situation in Iraq

Published on September 10, 2014
Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the French Republic

Communiqué by M. François Hollande, President of the French Republic

Paris, September 19, 2014

Yesterday, at the press conference held at the Elysée, I announced my decision to respond to the Iraqi authorities’ request and grant them the air support necessary for combating terrorism.

At 9.40 a.m. today our Rafale planes carried out an initial strike on a logistical depot of the terrorists from the Daesh [ISIL] organization in north-east Iraq. The target was struck and completely destroyed.
Other operations will continue in the coming days.

The Prime Minister will inform Parliament next week of the conditions of our forces’ engagement alongside the Iraqi armed forces and Peshmerga, to weaken Daesh and restore Iraq’s sovereignty./.

 

Preliminary remarks made by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, during his press conference (excerpts)

Paris, September 18, 2014

(…)

My first duty is to ensure France’s security. I have responsibility for this. Yet the world, as I was saying, is threatened. Seriously threatened by a terrorism which has changed dimension. A terrorism which has never had so many financial, military and human resources at its disposal. A terrorism which intends no longer simply to challenge states but to take their place. A terrorism which attacks, of course, the most vulnerable members of the population, whatever their religion.

These are the groups we fought – and what’s more, victoriously – in Mali. Others are taking action in Nigeria, Libya and Somalia, but the danger is greatest in Iraq and Syria. The terrorist movement, which is called Daesh, has thrived in Syria’s state of chaos and – let’s spell it out – also because the international community has continued to stand by.

I also remember what I said – it was a year ago – after Bashar al-Assad’s regime had used chemical weapons. The chemical weapons are no longer there, but terrorism has stepped into the breach. It occupies large parts of the territory and is now in Iraq.

It slaughters all those who stand up to it. It hunts down minorities, particularly Christians. It commits atrocities against civilians, beheads journalists, even crucifies its opponents and kidnaps women. This is the movement we’re up against.

There are hundreds of thousands, even millions of refugees. I’m not forgetting that 200,000 have been killed in the Syria conflict – 200,000! And many others are trying to flee, however they can, and are trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea at great risk to their lives.

Moreover, this terrorist group, Daesh, is attracting combatants from all over the world. In France, nearly 1,000 French or foreign nationals have joined the group in Syria and Iraq. Young people – often even minors – indoctrinated, recruited, are risking their lives – 36 have died – and may return with the worst plans in mind. Everyone remembers what happened at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, with the murders.
It isn’t just Iraq which is threatened, not just the Middle East: it’s Europe, the world!

I’ve come back from Iraq, and in particular Iraqi Kurdistan. President Barzani told me he’d found a tank containing terrorist attackers. He gave me their nationalities. There was a German, a Czech, a Russian and a Libyan. That’s what the movement is today: a movement which comes from everywhere and wants to conquer territories.

So France has shouldered its responsibilities. In August, I authorized the delivery of weapons to the Iraqis. Laurent Fabius travelled to the country to ensure those brave fighters could hold back terrorism. On Friday, along with the Foreign and Defence Ministers, I went to Iraq to meet the new legitimate authorities there. They asked me for just one thing in addition to the humanitarian aid and material assistance we’d already supplied: France’s support for air protection operations. I told them then of my willingness.

At France and Iraq’s initiative, an international conference was held in Paris on Monday. It provided a political framework for support to Iraq in all areas. I’ve mentioned them: humanitarian, security, health but also military. The threat has also been identified by the United Nations Security Council.

This morning, I convened the [Select] Defence Council and decided to respond to the Iraqi authorities’ request to grant air support. Our aim is to contribute to peace and security in Iraq by weakening the terrorists. I say – just as clearly as I state the necessity of this backing and this air support – that we won’t go any further: there will be no troops on the ground and we’ll intervene only in Iraq.

In accordance with the constitution, Parliament will be informed as soon as the first operations are embarked on – i.e. soon. Next week, the Prime Minister will convene the chairmen of the parliamentary groups in the Senate and the National Assembly. It will be possible for a debate to be held in those assemblies.

That’s the decision I’ve taken. It’s based on the vital objective of our own security. It also means that we, here in France, can combat terrorism. At the National Assembly, the Interior Minister – who is today busy visiting the victims of the storms of recent hours in the Hérault [department] – almost unanimously got the bill adopted to combat terrorist networks and ensure that young people can’t be recruited onto battlefields where they have no place.

I’ve heard the appeals from parents, from those mothers, from those fathers who saw girls, young girls, leave without knowing where they were going, only to find themselves on a battlefield, sometimes exploited under the worst conditions. So we must act, with due respect for freedoms. Act for our security. (…)./.


Related articles :

- Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, September 19, 2014)

- Preliminary remarks made by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, during his press conference (excerpts) (Paris, September 18, 2014)

- International Conference on Peace and Security in Paris
Opening speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (Paris, September 15, 2014)

- International Conference on Peace and Security in Paris
Communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, September 15, 2014)

- International Conference on Peace and Security on Iraq
Communiqué – Elysée Press office (Paris, September 15, 2014)

- Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart (Baghdad, September 12, 2014)

- Formation of the government - Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development
(Paris, September 9, 2014)

- Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to RMC/BFMTV (excerpts) (Paris, August 22, 2014)

- Press briefing by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at Pierrefonds airport (Réunion) (Paris, August 21, 2014)

- Interview given by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, to the daily newspaper Le Monde (Paris, August 21, 2014)

- Press briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesman (excerpts) (Paris, August 18, 2014)

- Statement to the press by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Brussels, August 15, 2014)

- Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, August 14, 2014)

- Discussion with the President of Iraqi Kurdistan – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, August 13, 2014)

- Discussion with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, August 13, 2014)

- Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, August 13, 2014)

- Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Deputy Spokesman (Paris, August 13, 2014)

- Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to France Info (Paris, August 12, 2014)

- Letter from M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to Ms Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, and Ms Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response (Paris, August 11, 2014)

- Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, August 11, 2014)

- Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the RepublicCommuniqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, August 8, 2014)

- Remarks to the press made by France’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations (excerpts) (New York, August 7, 2014)

      top of the page