Could Libya be a new victim of Françafrique-style intervention?
Over the last decades, France has been known to be the one country and the one country only that intervenes in African countries’ internal affairs, not only politically, but also militarily, socially, and economically, given that France was for quite a long time – and to some extent is now – occupying many African countries.
In Algeria, Mali, Nigeria and the list goes on, France has been the number one country to jump in and use its power in favor of one party over the other: the party that best serves its interests in the African continent.
In Libya, France has always been present since the days of Gaddafi regime and onward when it supported February revolution, yet a bit later after the 2011 revolution, the French policies had taken a U-turn; one that saw them fluctuate positions and give no clear vision on how they wish to see Libya: a civilian state or a military-ruled one.
Paris, which has always benefited from African countries through its Françafrique policies, have seen Libya as a potential target for resources and economic cooperation and thus it worked on one side of the Libyan post-revolution conflict in which it saw the gate to its interests, namely the military rule.
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, hosted last July and last Tuesday two conferences for Libyan rivals in the aim to end the crisis.
The French president said he would like to see Libyan go to elections regardless of whether the people of Libya were able to obtain a constitution or not, which really had ushered some of the real intentions of the French toward the current issue in the oil-rich North African country.
In one way, his call seems to seek democracy and an end to the chaos, but looking at the stakeholders he invited we can see that Macron hosted the Libyan retired general Khalifa Haftar as one of the main figures to broker peace with other legitimate bodies such as the Presidential Council, High Council of State and House of Representatives which are all approved by the Libyan Political Agreement brokered by the UN on December 17, 2015.
To most observers, France which publicly confessed to operating some aerial assistance to the forces led by Haftar in eastern Libya, when ex-president Hollande said three French pilots died as their helicopter was downed when they were “on a reconnaissance mission,” is really neck-deep in taking sides in the Libyan conflict and in pushing for more engagement of military figures such as Haftar in the peaceful and political process, by keeping on inviting him as a main party who should agree to every deal to end he crisis as if he was legitimate at the first place!
So the question is: Does France want to turn Libya into a Mali, Nigeria or any other African country under the umbrella of Françafrique, just by making sure that a military commander is ruling Libya?