France Honours a Saudi Prince with the Legion of Honour: Quid Pro Quo

Last week, Corrière della Sera reported something that was broadly ignored by mainstream media: France rewarded a Saudi Prince, Mohammed ben Nayef, with the Legion of Honour. The whole thing, apparently, was done very hush-hush by the French government which not only raised the ire of the Gaul across the aisles of the political spectrum but it also raised some serious questions about François Hollande's true intent. Therefore, we are going to look into the meaning of honour and to see why the need for such a deference towards the Saudis.

Reflections on Honour

Honour: "nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness. Privileges of rank or birth" (Dr Samuel Johnson, 1755)

There are quite a few definitions of this abstract concept but they all agree that honour implies merit, great privilege and good reputation. More refined minds, obviously, take the concept to loftier levels such as nobility of the soul, despise for low behaviour, scorn of evil, righteousness, and good standing. However, when we look at the world today, we easily conclude that refined minds are scarce and honour is no longer what it used to be.

Today, honour means ego. Nowadays, honour may still mean 'privileges' but these are granted to haughtily losers; to people with very low behaviour, to individuals who thrive in relativism; to folks who loath ethics as something pertaining to the fool; to sub-humans who work with the “Dark side of the Force” and to creatures who creep through the mud of bigotry – of all sorts.

Honoré Balzac was so correct when he moaned that men of character “tired of giving without receiving, they remain at home, and leave fools to reign over their territory”.

Legion of Honour

The Legion of Honour (or la Légion d'Honneur, in French) is the highest-ranking order and decoration in France. It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte, in May 1802, as a general military and civil order of merit "conferred without regard to birth or religion provided that anyone admitted swears to uphold liberty and equality." (in Britannica)

In 2016, France confers such an honour to people who do not uphold neither liberty or equality. France justified granting the Legion of Honour to Prince Mohammed ben Nayef for his “fight against terrorism and extremism” - how quaint, given the known fact that Saudi Arabia sponsors terrorism and extremism, in particular. France now pretends to have forgotten that it suffered numerous terrorist attacks (in 2015 alone it suffered five attacks in January and six coordinated attacks in November) by groups that profess Wahhabism, an extremist Islamic school of thought that is mainstream in Saudi Arabia.

François Hollande's people deemed it fit to honour a Prince whose country is the very antithesis of “liberty and equality”. So what exactly is the deal here?

Quid Pro Quo

Enough has been said about the French weapon-trade with Arab nations, so we don't need to get into that. Enough has been said about the good old French Arab Policy, so we do not need to get into it either. Enough has been said about France collaborating with despotic states and fomenting civil wars for its own immoral reasons, so we definitely do not need to get into it. But not enough has been said about the intelligence trade that France carries out with Arab nations.

France wants to be a huge influence in the Middle East – we get it, after all they are co-architects of the Sykes-Picot Agreement; and to achieve that goal it is willing to do anything (including derailing Israel). Furthermore, the Gaul are losing Africa to the Americans so, again, we get it. But what Dissecting Society does not want to get is how a nation that gave birth to the rights of men; a country that fought for liberty, fraternity and equality, can now sacrifice those values so blatantly. DS cannot understand how France dares to propose itself to trade the life of European citizens with information, with a false notion of power. No wonder the Americans may not have been totally forthcoming regarding terror attacks in Gaul: it seems the French cannot be trusted.

Without wishing to sound Machiavellian, I must present a different scenario where France bestowed the Legion of Honour to a Saudi Prince for a more straightforward reason: as a message that Arab Royal Families are the only ones France is willing to recognise, accept and work with in the Middle East. If so is the case: be careful with what you wish for (as Merlin would've said).

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. All nations act in their own self interest. There may well be other hidden quid pro quos.

    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      Naturally. But what self-interest could France have in violating its own values and suffer terrorist attacks on top of it? Are the French going to stay silent? That is the million dollar question. My sources say the reality on the ground is being ignored by the French government.

      "There may well be other hidden quid pro quos"

      I wouldn't be surprised.

      Rummy, thank you so much for your comment :D.


  2. Never liked the Frenchy so I don't trust them. They are always in bed with the wrong people. Question: I thought there were only Arab royal families, are there any other that I don't know of?

    1. Hi Jake :D!

      The French people are not the problem, the politicians and their failed policies are.
      Answer: stay tuned.

      Jake, thank you so much for your comment :D.


  3. Max, it is a good thing you aren't half as cynical as me! The "rights of man" were always a cover for raw "anti-Popery" or "anti-Christianity". But we can't say that except in private, so we must dress it up in moralistic sounding language. Thus, the "rights of man" were never a French value. The true objectives are fully shared by a Mohammedan prince, so it seems to me Hollande is being perfectly logical and consistent.

    1. Looney, the question is what true objectives are those in concrete?

    2. Anonymous, I would search the European business pages over the next few days for an announcement of a significant sale of airplanes or military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

    3. Or that 4 Muslim individuals - a woman and three men - have been arrested by the French authorities suspected of plotting a major terror attack. Was it really a result of the Belgian CT raid or did Saudis give their names and location?

    4. Hi Looney :D!

      LOL LOL I have been accused of being cynical, so...

      « The "rights of man" were always a cover for raw "anti-Popery" or "anti-Christianity".»

      I see. So, since the Prince is Islamic, rights of men do not matter. That would explain why the feminists remain silent when women from the Middle East are physical and sexually abused and when Muslims rape western women in Europe. Got it...

      After hearing you, I can't help but to think that you may be right concerning Hollande...thank you, Looney *bowing*.

      And cheers for a superb comment :D.

  4. Another futile action that will result in nothing. The French are convinced they can get higher influence in the Middle East but that ship has sailed, Russia is the man now. Honor? Ha, gone out the window. And what is sad is the French, Obama, Merkel and others are proving that being a strongman like Putin is more honorable.

    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      Good point. I don't know whether Putin is more honourable or not but I'd say he's more politically savvy and adjusts more quickly.

      Anon, thank you so much for your comment :D.



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