Palmyra has been liberated. "Who should we thank? We should thank Putin," journalist and essayist Ivan Rioufol writes, in his op-ed for the French newspaper.
Even those who are "prejudiced against the former KGB agent cannot detract from this result: It was thanks to the preliminary airstrikes on Daesh's positions by Russian aviation that Bashar Assad's Syrian army was able to free Palmyra on Sunday," he adds.
"The Russians, who made a withdrawal from the battlefield, in order to make recovery of the ancient city possible, came out the winners in this symbolic re-conquest. This event also revealed the weakness of the US and their French allies, in their absence among the liberators."
Ultimately, Rioufol suggests, "the lesson which should be learned from Putin's strategy is simple: only force can push Islamist ideology back; it is the only language that it understands."
"Of course, Putin's brutality is unpleasant for the sophists. They are always ready to indulge in a discussion over the ignorance of the Koran, about 'moderate Islamism' and the 'quietist Salafism', just as on the eve of the fall of Constantinople in the fifteenth century, when the wits were equally willing to submit to the invaders…"
Russia, Rioufol notes, does not mix words in relation to its enemy, calling a spade a terrorist spade. At the same time, "when Francois Hollande speaks of 'annihilating Daesh', it sounds so unconvincing that it can only draw the wrath of the terrorists, who promise him the apocalypse, and hold to their word. And it will not be by minutes of silence or candles at the Place de la Republique in Paris that the [Islamists], which operate in both Syria and France, will be defeated." The fight against them, he suggested, "must be fierce."