From 2016 to 2019 an officer in the French air force reserve worked for the United Nations in New York in a technology and communications department that helped support peacekeeping missions. Officially the French military had seconded his services free of charge to the UN. But in reality the experienced officer was working for and being paid by France's major defence and electronics firm Thales, according to documents seen by Mediapart. As Yann Philippin and Antton Rouget report, senior figures in the French state were aware of what was going on.
Migration has fashioned Tunisia for over two decades, most notably after the uprising that sparked the Arab Spring in 2011, when tens of thousands left a country riddled with unemployment and inequality once old restrictions were lifted. Now Tunisia finds itself in a double bind. It is resisting pressure to house migrants from other African countries trying to reach Europe via its territory, even as a new exodus of its own citizens gathers pace, prompted by economic, political and social distress. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.
The role of President Nicolas Sarkozy in the military intervention in Libya in 2011 that led to the removal from power and death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 continues to raise many unanswered questions. The original United Nations mandate that Sarkozy and certain other leaders obtained was subsequently hijacked and use to change the regime. As a result the country was left in chaos, helping to empower jihadist groups across various African countries who are still suffering instability as a result. President Emmanuel Macron considers the intervention to have been a “major error”. But is he ready to identify those responsible for it? René Backman reports.
Like most international institutions, the United Nations functions in several languages, demanding the translation of its thousands upon thousands of documents of various kinds into six tongues. But the task of its professional translators is far from straightforward, as Santiago Artozqui, a translator of UN texts from English to French, explains here. Not least is what he calls “a misplaced Atticism” required of French-language documents which “dunks the language in starch and leaves it as stiff as the shirt of a notable”.
Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on the United Nations Security Council to vote a resolution that places those who commit chemical attacks in Syria under sanctions, adding that the Syrian army and the Islamic State group had used chemical weapons agaisnt civilians 'on at least three occasions'.