|Wishing to write his name into the history books, Jaacques Chirac resolves to establish the THIRD FRENCH EMPIRE.
He secures the agreement of some major Arab states (Lebanon, Syria and Palestine) to join a French commonwealth leading to a merger of states. Many other Arab states consider the motion, hoping to create a counterweight in the region to the US/Israel bloc and considering the sizable number of Arabs living in France.
As for Africa, Chirac decides to take it outright as part of the new French empire. Some Arab countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia will be allowed to maintain puppet goverments for historic reasons, however.
As a sign that he means business, French marines land at Valletta with CAS from 70 Rafales from the CdG. SEAD neturalizes Malta Int’l Airport. Malta’s Bulldog fighters are no match for the French airforce. Sorties are launched from Corsica and CdG to destroy Malta’s military capability. French Legionnaires from Djibouti land and take Hal-Far and other important military objectives.
Once air supremacy is achieved, Malta’s military forces are identified, targetted and neutralized, and regular French army units supported by 100 LeClercs land at the ports of Birrzebbuga and Marsaxlokk, sealing Malta’s fate.
Africa watches in shock as the French Tricolore flies above Malta’s Parliament. Chirac publicly proclaims that Malta will serve as the stepping stone to ops in Africa should some countries be non-compliant.
Coffee literally flies out of Tony Blair’s nose as he reads the morning paper: FRANCE TAKES MALTA IN LIGHTNING ATTACK.
For historic reasons, he would like to free Malta. However, a few quick phonecalls reveal that the EU and the US will not interfere in this matter.
In fact, the US is glad that the French will be taking a more active role in the ME and too many of their forces are engaged in Iraq to help out the Brits anyway. This will be another Faklands type war, Bush advises.
Chirac calls and tells Blair that he must condone and accept the French invasion publicly. Chirac will be beginning his Africa drive and doesn’t want any hiccups.
Blair stares into space wondering what he can do faced with this ‘fait accompli’… If he chooses to rush to Malta’s aid, it won’t be the Belgrano he’ll be facing but the CdG in a warzone dotted with French military bases… should he really stir up the hornet’s nest?
The Question IS:
Does Britain have the military wherewithal to wrest Malta from the French without (1) going nuclear (2) receiving aid from other countries (3) attacking France proper (for fear of escalation)?