LV 237: European Deterrence – Economic Sovereignty – Lorgnette : Elections in Iran

Letter from La Vigie, 6 March 2024

European deterrence

Candidate Trump’s recent comments that American protection in NATO was conditional on a European defence effort have reignited the debate on European deterrence. In the event of a strategic default by the US with regard to its European allies, could the French nuclear force take over to protect EU countries? LV takes a detailed look at this sensitive issue at a time of particularly aggressive pressure from Russia.

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Economic sovereignty

The return to favour of the term sovereignty should not conceal the difficulties it implies: is one sovereign in an area when one does not control all its constituent elements? Does the State have the means to defend the companies it intends to keep sovereign? Can sovereignty ignore the management of companies and their legal form? At a time when the world has changed profoundly, a new understanding of the term sovereignty is needed.

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Lorgnette: Elections in Iran

The Iranian elections took place last Friday and were marked by a record abstention rate (41%), even though the conservatives officially won. To conquer without peril is to triumph without glory. This hostility reflects the country’s disappointment with the results of those in power: aspirations for greater freedom have followed one another with yet another uprising (LV 202) last September after the death of Mahsa Amini, who did not respect the headscarf, an uprising that was once again put down in bloodshed. But economic difficulties are also having an impact (50% inflation).

By appointing the Assembly of Experts, the election is also paving the way for the succession of the “Leader”, Ali Khamenei, who is 88 years old. By locking society down to such an extent, the regime is showing a degree of internal feverishness, despite the fact that its diplomacy is gaining ground, succeeding in renewing relations with Saudi Arabia and avoiding confrontation with Israel while at the same time embodying the camp of refusal. Relations with Russia and China have been strengthened.

So Iran is waiting for the American elections (betting on Trump) and the succession of the Leader. Heaven can wait. So can the Iranian people.


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LV 213 / Africa farewell ! | New nuclear issues | Lorgnette : Arab-Persian deal

Letter from La Vigie dated 15 March 2023

Africa farewell!

From the Ouagadougou speech in 2017 to the one in Paris in 2023, one constant appears: the non-existence of France’s African policy. Added to this is the delicate relationship that we see in undiplomatic gestures. Faced with this observation, are we condemned to say: Africa farewell?

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New nuclear issues

Obsessed with the war in Ukraine, we fail to see the profound strategic changes that are taking place elsewhere, for example in the nuclear field: the end of the ballistic monopoly, the ambiguity of carriers, aggressive sanctuarisation, the death of arms control, the questioning of non-proliferation are all issues that are retroacting on the European theatre.

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Lorgnette: Arab-Persian deal

The recent announcement of an Iranian-Saudi agreement, concluded under the auspices of China, sounded like a thunderclap. Arabia had been announcing for some time that it wanted to break away from the Quincy Pact (LV 205). It did not sign the Abrahamic agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain and the recent Israeli stiffening should not reassure it. As for Iran, the continuation of uranium enrichment despite sanctions and the JCPOA negotiations, the agreement with Russia and the recent popular discontent favour a change in strategic posture.

The agreement gives the impression of a simple restoration of diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran. It seems to include a security dimension, the implementation of which will be seen in Yemen, where the Saudis seem to be negotiating while the UAE and the Americans are refusing. Basically, Arabia seems to want to diversify its sources of security and no longer relies solely on the United States. Washington, which has lost interest in the Middle East, is thus paying for its abstention and loss of credit. As for China, it has two of the main suppliers of hydrocarbons: that is enough for it.

The puzzle is moving in the region…


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La Vigie Nr 202: Autumn raspoutitsa | Transatlantic strategic square | Lorgnette : The Iranian street rumbles

Autumn Raspoutista

In the autumn of 2022, the season of the first cold spells and quagmires, we note the multiple strategic bogging down of France: the total and worrying deadlock of the war in Ukraine which saturates the Euro-Atlantic landscape, the swamps in which radical and sceptical intercontinental relations are bogged down, and finally the budgetary swamp of the future army model and of the security investments that need to be made for the security of France and the French. An autumn already well bogged down.

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Transatlantic strategic square

From Moscow to Washington, from Prague to Berlin, the transatlantic strategic stakes have changed over the past month. From the war in Ukraine to questions of deterrence, from an enlarged Europe beyond the EU to the importance of economic issues, everything points to a rise in tensions.

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Lorgnette: The Iranian street rumbles

Once again, Iran is experiencing massive protests, following those of 1999, 2009, 2017 and 2019. Experts tell us that this time things are different, that the new generation is connected, that no one believes in the possibility of reforming the regime anymore, that women are involved.

What hasn’t changed is the regime’s repression, which deploys its squads of Revolutionary Guards and other Basijis. The army remains in the background and could decide the fate of the country if the clashes persist.

No one believes in the legitimacy of the theocratic regime in Tehran. However, it has been able to interpret the interests of the country and to conduct an active foreign policy despite American and Saudi hostility, with real successes, especially in its immediate environment. A fall of the regime would probably not put an end to regional geopolitical rivalries.

But the observer wonders: in the 21st century, can a popular revolutionary movement, even a massive and lasting one, put down a tyranny? The Sudanese and Belarusian examples do not support this view. We shall see.

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La Vigie Nr 121 : There is no cyberwar | Equation of strategy | Lorgnette : Desescalation

La Vigie Nr 121, 3 July 2019

There is no cyberwar

The term cyberwar sounds good and is regularly used by many: Yet it is false, which does not mean that there is no latent cyberconflict marked by opposition by all against all. Moreover, war does not ignore cyberspace because there is on the contrary a lot of cyberspace in the conduct of war and military operations.

Equation of strategy

the Grand strategy is the art of combinations. The equation of the strategy of France is simple to state, mixture of defense of interests, exercise of responsibilities, values assumed, valued assets and compensated weaknesses. In the current strategic slump it is difficult to establish, especially in the presence of a deep European crisis and a breakdown of multilateralism.

Lorgnette : desescalation

Between Iran and the United States, the rag has been burning for weeks and observers are struggling to decipher threatening speeches, avenging invective and provocative statements. It should be noted that the deregulation initiative has come from Washington for the past two years, from a president who has thrown away the Paris Agreement, the Iranian JCPoA, the INF Treaty and any multilateral mechanism that would undermine the position of strength from which he wants to restore the dominance of American interests in the world. It was noted with interest that the European clan had remained united in preserving this agreement with Iran and that it had engaged in resolute resistance to the American position. The West is nothing more than a fiction, interests and methods diverge.
There remain two embarrassed countries that are trying to get in touch with each other with the assets to do so, Japan and France, whose strategic analyses are converging more and more, particularly on maritime issues. At the last G20 meeting, which was quite disappointing, they were also responsible for de-escalating the situation.
De-escalation is the great strategy of which France must be the tireless craftsman in the world (LV 89).

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The withdrawal of the United States from the Vienna Agreement: an injustice for Iranians

Following our number 95 (read here for free), we are pleased to welcome Master Ardavan Amir-Aslani who is a business lawyer in Paris. He has published several books on Iran and the Middle East, the last of which, From Persia to Iran, 2500 years of history (L’Archipel, 2018).

On the 8th May, the United States withdrew from the Iranian nuclear agreement signed in Vienna on the 14th July 2015. This decision brought about the re-establishment of sanctions which had been lifted, as well as the implementation of new sanctions on multinationals who want to invest in Iran.


This decision has been seen as an injustice in Tehran, especially when considering Iran’s full compliance with the provisions of the nuclear agreement, which was officially confirmed by the AIEA in eleven successive reports, the last of which intervened on the 9th of May by Yukiya Amano, President of the IAEA. Continue reading “The withdrawal of the United States from the Vienna Agreement: an injustice for Iranians”

La Vigie n° 95 (free) – 23 May 2018 : Trump, Iran, and impotent Europe – An impossible regulation – Lorgnette : Iraqi populism

Lettre n° 95,  La Vigie 23 May 2018


Photo credit: IAEA Imagebank on / CC BY-NC-ND


Trump, Iran, and impotent Europe

Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal only surprised the gullible. It confirms an electoral promise and implements its policy of questioning the state of the world. Of course, it has consequences in the Middle East and on the nuclear order. Above all, it has very deep economic effects that affect Europeans first and foremost. These are in the hour of truth, realizing that the rogue state is not the one they believed. Will they react firmly or will they demonstrate, once again, their helplessness?


An impossible regulation

Control and regulate the strategic nuclear system has been a long process slow to establish itself in the bipolar world of the cold war. Deregulation began at the end of this one with multipolarity, tolerances, exceptions and manipulations. It is growing with the US withdrawal of the 2015′ Iranian agreement that threatens the exit of the Korean stalemate, ignores the need for nuclear power, sends countries to reassure towards a creeping military nuclear proliferation. Nuclear disarmament is not for tomorrow.

Lorgnette :  Iraqi populism


Photo credit: IAEA Imagebank on Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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N° 86 : Strategic dead angles and French vulnerabilities – Revolts: season 2? – Lorgnette: Missile manouver

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Strategic dead angles and French vulnerabilities

What are the blind spots of our national defense and our national security? Certainly, our defense of the national territory, although imperfect, is always up to France. But our position of internal security remains weakened by the conceptual deficiencies of a national strategy whose coherence is insufficient. It is necessary to put in capacity not only social, political and judicial but also military to ensure the necessary public order guarantee of the rule of law.

Revolts: season 2?

In early 2018, two popular movements affect Iran and Tunisia. If they refer apparently to the previous troubles (respectively in 2009 and 2011), they are distinguished by their mainly social nature. Above all, this means that if political systems are not challenged, internal balances are a problem, whether complicated alliances in Tehran or the coalition in place in Tunis. The hypothesis of a regime change is unlikely, but the absence of an internal political alternative is likely to provoke other similar crises.

Lorgnette: Missile manouver

The « Decertification » by Mr. Trump (TFN)

Certification of the Iranian nuclear deal, beyond political communication

1 – The Iranian nuclear question, central in political communication is not the heart of the Iranian problem. If Iran is confined, from an economic point of view, it is for a very different reason : the country is the laboratory for counter-globalization. If it bothers us, it’s because it has put in place an extremely elaborate ideological system extolling the re-establishment of border control, the perpetuation of identities and having globalism and its motor as a designated enemy.

Iran: Trump garde l'accord sur le nucléaire mais va imposer d'autres sanctionsSource

2 –  Since the beginning of his electoral campaign, President Trump has advocated an isolationist line for the United States, therefore opposing the warmongering neo-conservatism of Hilllary Clinton. But this opposition belies on one issue : Iran. On this particular issue, there is a switch in the position of the two former candidates :Trump wanting to dismantle the agreement wanted by Obama with Iran. The american president is therefore only faithful to the neoconservative line with regards to the Iranian question, that is no doubt non-negotiable for him. He cannot publicly support the driving force of counter-globalization.

3 – In the battle of power that is being waged in Washington, the isolationist positions of Mr Trump have been methodically undermined. His close advisors have been systematically pushed aside. The President is, for all intents and purposes, the next on the list. Incidentally, the question of impeachment is openly brought up with the republicans today. In this context, the non-certification of the Iranian nuclear deal is a token given to the neo-conservatives by Trump, allowing him some respite.

4 –  In Iran, President Rohani, who governs subtly in the center, being mindful to give his opposition some free space (thus how  Ahamadinejad came back onto the political scene), is the man who managed to negociate the nuclear deal. If this deal becomes null and void, the conservative opposition – who already consider him to be a traitor to Iran because of his ability to negotiate with his opponents – will take advantage of the situation to marginalize him. A  hardening of the Iranian State Apparatus would then follow. It is the reason why Israel doesn’t necessarily want to disturb the existing status quo, the geo-economic confinement of Iran, using the nuclear pretense.

5 – If the deals is not certified, we must see that the interpretation that Iran will have will be nothing like we imagined. Shaped by our Roman judicial culture, we would imagine a unilateral end and failure. Nothing of the sort in Iran where every deal is renegotiated infinitely until its death. The history of the oil contracts between Persia and Great Britain is proof of that to us. In any case the Iranians view Trump as an american version of Ahmadinejad. A man who makes a lot of noise but has trouble making any progress on foreign policy issues. They don’t expect anything of him. As a matter o fact, it is likely that certification or not, the impact on Iranian economy will be non-existent. Indeed, the previous agreement did not reopen Iran up to investments.


Thomas Flichy de La Neuville