France, Libya, Khalifa Haftar, United Nations, Government Of National Accord, Western Europe

France, Libya

How France’s role in Libya has grown deeper year on year

France's President Macron recently said that France does not support warlord Haftar, but its history of actions in Libya suggests otherwise.

7/1/2020 4:23:00 AM

France 's President Macron recently said that France does not support warlord Haftar, but its history of actions in Libya suggests otherwise.

Paris moved against international consensus to prop up a warlord and destabilise the UN-backed government in Tripoli. Here's a list of the major French interventions in the Libya n conflict.

In the same year, reports also emerged that Francesentspecial forces to Libya in order to support warlord Haftar’s offensive against two coastal towns - this at the cost of serious destruction and credible suspicions of war crimes.Sources suggested that the French from the Directorate-General for External Security did not take part in the fighting, though they were in operation on the front line. Estimated at a few dozen, they provided advice, training, and information.

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Macron's insistence on involving Haftar in the Paris Summit also sparked criticism. According to Libya expert,, it was a stark reminder that "France is helping transform him from a rogue warlord into a legitimate political actor, thereby encouraging his plans to conquer and rule the country as a whole.”

2019Le Monde, France has gone out of its way to ensure the warlord is fully armed, even deploying French special forces for the training of his militias. Along the way, Paris ended up antagonising Italy, a NATO partner. Matteo Salvini, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, last year

accusedFrance of supporting Haftar and showing "no interest in stabilising the situation". Salvini went on with his critique and declared that its European neighbour was going against NATO's position on Libya because its oil interests were opposed to those of Italy. 

In April, Al Jazeera’sreportemerged that armed men crossing from Libya alleged to be French spies. The media outlet obtained copies of the passports belonging to the French team arrested in Tunisia. Furthermore, Tunisian border guards discovered some sort of communication devices with the group that may be linked to Haftar's militia. 

The French radio station, Radio France International, also reported that 15 French intelligence officers had arrived in mid February in the city of Gharyan, 100km southwest of the Libyan capital, to aid Haftar in his preparation for the attack on Tripoli. This is all according to a Libyan source close to the government.

In July 2019, an investigation led by the Pentagon concluded that Paris had supplied American-made anti-tank missiles to Haftar's forces. Each missile isand the US only sells it to "close allies," such as France. 2020This year, the UN-recognised government of Libya slowly and steadily regained the control of territories lost to warlord Khalifa Haftar since 2015. France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and NATO member, was not happy about it. 

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Paris’s Libya policy seems to be coming under scrutiny bothdomesticallyand internationally. In view of decisive defeats faced by Haftar, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, held a phone call last Friday, in which they discussed Libya. The conversation took place a few days after Macron spoke critically of Turkey's role in Libya, accusing Ankara of playing a "dangerous game."

As a NATO member, France even prefered to engage inwith Russia as both countries have sided with Haftar and therefore against the internationally recognised government.Recently, Bloombergreportedthat the reason why Macron holds a hostile attitude against Turkey, is to cover his failures in Libya. In an article titled "Turkey Has Eclipsed Emmanuel Macron's Libya Dreams," the media outlet stated that "Macron’s pronouncements on Libya have devolved from hyperbole and hypocrisy to something approaching hysteria."

Blaming Macron for supporting a "suspected war criminal" in the war-torn country, the article expressed that "all Macron had really done was to legitimize the rebel commander," in reference to Haftar. Read more: TRT World »


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