04.03.2016 Author: Vladimir Platov

France’s Undeclared War in Libya

2618818-3x2-940x627Working hard to turn the planet into a unipolar world, the US has been demonstrating more explicitly than ever its disregard for the established international rules and institutions. It has also been employing half-illicit techniques to persuade a growing number of countries to support its policy.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) of Washington and the European Union as well as the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) were founded by Washington to apply its standards and derive benefits. Their purpose is to be alternatives to the existing trade and economic international organizations like WTO, the ASEAN, and APEC. Their target is to put American corporations in full control of the trade and economic relations in Europe and the countries of the Pacific Rim.

The US acts in the same manner when engaging in military interventions unauthorized by the UN: Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1999, Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003 and today’s shelling of peaceful cities in Syria and Iraq.

By engaging its NATO allies in these criminal activities, Washington, ultimately, encourages them to implement similar military actions in other corners of the planet by supporting their UN-unauthorized military operations. The French newspaper Le Monde‘s in-depth report about preparations for and commencement of a French military campaign in Libya is a good example supporting this notion.

In the recent months, France and Great Britain, faced with the problem of illegal migration, have come to realize that the infiltration of radical jihadists, ISIS militants and other terrorist organizations, coming to Europe with the flow of refugees, poses a serious threat to their security. Special services agents of these countries see this threat as incoming from two directions: from the countries of the Middle East via Turkey and the Balkan states, and from the North African states, mainly from Libya.

What are Paris and London doing to address the threat? They are trying to shift the responsibility of dealing with the flow of migrants from the Middle East to Germany and the countries of the Central Europe.

Meanwhile, in view of the fact that both France and Great Britain already have a considerable number of migrants from Africa residing in their territory, they have set it as a priority to counteract the threat posed by the refugees from North Africa.

There are many reasons for Libya to be perceived as the number one security threat to these European states. First, the 2011 military intervention of France and Great Britain brought chaos and anarchy to Libya. Among the results of this “campaign,” unleashed by the Western allies, were the bringing down of the much disliked by Washington Muammar Gaddafi; the uncontrolled proliferation of weapons across the region; the engagement of various armed groups and extremist units in the struggle for control over the natural resources of that country, accompanied by repressions of the country’s population. These circumstances will continue to be a source of anti-French and anti-British sentiment among Libyans and citizens of other countries of North Africa even many years down the road.

Second, the active anti-terrorist actions of the US and Russian coalition in Syria and Iraq contributed to the fact that Libya is turning into a key Daesh base. And those are precisely the armed groups operating in the Libyan territory that have recently been playing a vital role in the dispatch of illegal migrants, including Daesh militants, to Europe.

That is why Paris has been focusing on the preparation of a disguise military campaign in Libya with the participation of special units of the French Ministry of Defense and the country’s Special Services to counter Daesh. In his speech in the wake of the November act of terrorism in Paris, the French President, Hollande, made a statement confirming the country’s intent to wage war against Daesh, including in Libya. Using secret channels, he coordinated these actions with Washington. The latter promised to support France’s actions by providing specific intelligence information and by sending American and British military instructors to Libya.

At the end of January, The Financial Times reported that, in the previous several months, the US military forces had been preparing for a military operation in Libya. According to the newspaper, US experts had paid visit to Libya to establish contacts with local military groups and their leaders in anticipation of a military campaign there to be carried out against the ISIS militants in partnership with its allies France and England.

There are pictures of American military personal with soldiers of the Libyan army on the al-Watiya Air Base that have been freely available on social networking websites.

According to The New York Times (and this data was confirmed by the Pentagon), on the morning of February 19, American warplanes launched an airstrike on the town of Sabratha in western Libya. Several dozens of people, including militants and civilians were left dead (According to The New York Times the number of militants killed amounted to at least 30. Reuters reported that 41 died and six were injured. Al Arabiya mentioned 46 victims). Earlier, it was reported that the US military personnel in Libya had carried out at least one more air strike in November of last year. Thus, just as it was planned, the US opened the third front of the struggle against Daesh in addition to its combat campaigns in Iraq and Syria.

As for the participation of French military personnel in the operation in Libya, according to the information of a number of French news sites, French units were deployed to Libya as early as back in mid-February and have been posted to the eastern regions. One group is operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense. The second—is a unit of the French DGSE intelligence services. In addition, according to l’Opinon, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was deployed to the Libyan shores. About one thousand French military forces, directly reporting to the Elysee Palace, have secretly arrived in Libya. According to the French military doctrine, special and secret units are regarded as advance forces. American internet news source, the Huffington Post, with reference to Huffington Post Arabie, has also confirmed the arrival of French military personnel in Libya for a ground operation against Daesh.

Libyan authorities, however, oppose an international intervention, which France has been planning for several months. They have come to terms with the strikes carried out against Daesh, but resist the idea of the presence of a foreign coalition represented by France, the US, Britain and Italy in the country.

Furthermore, many experts believe that the “secret” military operations of the US, France and Great Britain against Daesh in Libya may instigate armed conflicts in other countries of the continent. Even if this Western coalition launches air strikes against the Daesh positions, and even if its special forces carry out “undercover raids” in Libya, there remains some doubt as to finding reliable ground forces in situ, able to hold ground seized from militants. This dilemma might “entice” Americans and French to deploy their ground forces in Libya to “resolve specific technical issues,” similar to the Syrian and Iraqi scenarios. And that could result in yet another hotbed of tension in the world.

Although the actions of the West directed against terrorists of Daesh in Libya can be somewhat justified, it should still be understood that they are not legally valid since they were never authorized by the UN and violate international rules. If disrespect for international rules and laws as well as for international institutions recently demonstrated by the US and its western allies on many occasions continues, the UN will be consigned to oblivion. In this case, decisions in any future conflicts and disagreements will no longer be generated through international negotiations, which will submit the world to the overwhelming domination of the US and bring about the general subordination of the planet’s population to the rule of Washington. To assure this scenario never materializes, it is crucial for any actions unauthorized by UN to cease.

Vladimir Platov, expert specialized on the Middle East region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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