Death of François Colcombet president of Femo Foundation for Middle East studies

By the editor

François Colcombet, eminent magistrate and former deputy, died in Paris on April 3 at the age of 85. He had chaired the Foundation for Middle East Studies (FEMO) since 2017. FEMO paid tribute to his invaluable contribution and expressed its condolences to his relatives and friends for the loss of this great conscience of our times.

François Colcombet was one of the founders of the Syndicat de la magistrature, which he chaired in 1973 and 1974, before becoming president of the chamber at the Paris Court of Appeal, then adviser to the Court of Cassation. Mayor of Dompierre-sur-Besbre (1983-2008) and general councilor of Allier (1985-2004), he was elected twice as deputy in the district of Moulins (1988-1993) (1997-2002). This brilliant thinker was first as a trade unionist during the 1970s and then a member of the editorial board of the magazine Esprit, taking part in the intellectual effervescence of that time.

This true defender of justice, human rights and democracy, founded with other French personalities, the French Committee for a Democratic Iran (CFID), with the aim of supporting the fight of Iranians for democracy and rule of law.

In his numerous contributions, François Colcombet had sought to shed fundamental light on the crises in the Middle East and in particular on the Iranian question on which he had collaborated in several works.

Co-author of "Where is Iran Going", Éditions Autre, this specialist in the constitution of the Iranian Islamic Republic had warned against the expansionist nature of Islamic fundamentalism:

"The regime directly interferes in internal affairs or conspires against the states of at least 8 countries in the region: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan. Finally, while proselytizing Shiites, the Iranian regime does not hesitate to support Sunni extremist groups to destabilize its rivals. The preamble of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic is explicit: "The Constitution prepares the ground for the continuation of this revolution at home and abroad. More specifically, it will serve to develop international relations with other Islamic movements and peoples in order to pave the way for the advent of a universal, unique community, in accordance with this verse of the Koran''. The export of terrorism and the expansion of fundamentalism is therefore one of the pillars of the Islamic regime in Iran and a strategic component for its security. »

In a post entitled "The "black terror" and its historical root in Iran", François Colcombet wrote in the Huffington post:

"The 'black terror' is indeed inscribed at the very origin of the Khomeinist regime which advocates in its Constitution 'the export of the Islamic revolution' and 'the union of the Muslim world under the tutelage of the supreme guide'. In other words, an Iranian "caliphate" proclaimed long before that of Daesh. The latter is in a way only a by-product of this disastrous drift which bloodies our planet today.

It is not without reason that the Iranian democrats (united in the coalition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran) declare themselves dumbfounded to hear today certain circles proposing to ally themselves with the regime of the mullahs to fight terrorism. It is for them an aberration which amazes (...) But it is also urgently necessary to reflect and act to eradicate the evil at its "historical root". Remembering that if the dynamism of militant Islamism took off with the "Islamic Revolution", it will only disappear with the change of regime in Iran towards democracy. We must give the floor and the means to the Muslim democrats of this country who in reality represent the great majority and who have already organized themselves for a long time in the opposition, to constitute a democratic alternative. »

His outspokenness, his political integrity, his intellectual lucidity, his responsible relationship to work and responsibility and above all his humanity, his qualities recognized by all those who met him, guided the work of the Foundation for Studies for the Middle East,

The Middle East Studies Foundation (FEMO) will continue to pursue the work begun under François Colcombet's presidency, particularly in terms of research and analysis on geopolitical and security issues in the region, as well as on the promotion of democratic values and human rights.

We would like to salute François Colcombet's unfailing commitment to justice, peace and democracy, as well as his intellectual and moral heritage, which will continue to inspire future generations and will continue to support the Iranian people's desire to move from religious dictatorship towards a real democratic and secular republic.