Hakim El Karoui -who published a controversial report last September stating that “French Islam is possible”- tackled the French policy in North Africa and the Middle East in a document named “New Arab World, new ‘Arab Policy’ for France”. According to a member of the Montaigne institute, who is also close to Emmanuel Macron, this policy “relies on a historical heritage that (France) maintains without a prospective vision and without analyzing the facts or the interests of our country.” Furthermore, he deplored “the decline of our influence in a fundamental region for France’s economy, security and identity”.
For Hakim El Karoui “the future of France relies on the stability and the development of this region” because “our two worlds intertwine and influence each other”. He also concluded that it is “urgent to prepare a new strategy and to address a new speech to the Arab world, especially Maghreb countries, with which our relations are more dense.”
Turkey, Egypt and Israel
So, what does the Montaigne Institute propose ? Well, the think-tank is presenting “six propositions to form a new Arab policy”, among which, we find “Containing Islamism” and “ playing a mediating role in the conflict between Riyadh and Tehran”. It should be noted, that the institute believes that France must keep a distance from Gulf countries and target instead Maghreb countries on the economical and cultural level.
“France must put Maghreb countries as a strategic priority of its policy in the region -instead of eastern and Gulf countries- by establishing a policy that relies on three pillars : security, economic development and cultural influence,” explained Hakim El Karoui.
Montaigne Institute has also provided the government with the different strategies to adopt for each country: For instance, when it comes to Turkey, the think-tank is stating that France must be “firm concerning the interference of Ankara in French Islamic organizations”.
Hakim El Karoui also declared that France must help Egypt “find an interior balance”. Last but not least, the institute insists “on developing trade and economic links” with Israel, while underlining that “France should always reaffirm the necessity of two states solution.”