France waging secret war in Libya
French President Francois Hollande ordered French elite armed forces and the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) to take part in clandestine military operations in Libya, the French newspaper Le Mondereports.
“The last thing to do would be to intervene in Libya. We must avoid any overt military engagement, but act discreetly,” a senior military source told Le Monde.
The French secret war in Libya involves occasional targeted strikes against IS leaders preceded by discreet ground operations.
The US and British armed forces are also said to be involved in the secret operation aimed at weakening the jihadist group in war-torn Libya.
The French Defense Ministry refused to comment on the report but a source close to Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Le Mondehe had launched an inquiry of the “breaches of national defense secrecy” to reveal the source of the leak. If the sources are found and tried, they may face up to three years’ imprisonment.
While secretive, the French operations are apparently nothing illegal under international law, Ricardo Baretzky from the European Centre for Information Policy and Security told RT.
“Any operation under the international treaty for combatting terrorism is a legal operation,” he said.
Joaquin Flores, editor-in-chief of Fort Russ House, believes, that France is pursuing its own interests in Libya, rather than fighting IS.
“We should not be surprised that France is really interested in its economic position – they were heavily investing in the Libyan Investment Authority… Libya, of course, has vast natural and mineral resources,” he told RT.
“I think that what we should be looking more closely at, rather, is to the extent that they [the French authorities] are picking winners over losers; that they want to get behind their friends and the factions that they’re supporting against the ones that have not guaranteed French investment opportunities,” he added.
French President Hollande said the country was at war against IS after the jihadist group claimed responsibility for the November terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Last month Defense Minister Le Drian said that the rise of IS in Libya posed a major risk to Europe.
“Daesh (Arabic acronym for IS) is installing itself,” Le Drian told French TV, the Local reports. “I have been very worried about Libya since September 2014. They are there, nearly 300km from the coast, and they are spreading,” he added.
Sources in Libya say French special forces are among those working against Islamic State in the country. A small French detachment has been operating from Benghazi’s Benina airport, the sources have reported, assisting forces of the internationally backed Libyan authorities in Tobruk.
According to Le Monde, special forces units, alongside France’s external security directorate, the DGSE, have been in Libya for several months, and coordinated the November US strike on Derna which killed the most senior Isis leader in the country, Iraqi Abu Nabil al-Anbari. The Pentagon has confirmed that US forces were deployed there in January.
At foreign affairs select committee hearings in London earlier this month, UK Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood declined to comment on British special forces operations, but said the RAF was flying missions over the country in preparation for possible attacks on Isis. Italy announced on Monday that it would allow armed US drones to strike Libyan targets from bases in Sicily.
Isis fighters stormed the centre of the coastal town of Sabratha on Tuesday, four days after 41 of their number were killed in a US bombing raid there, and battled through the night with local militias. The police station was overrun, and when it was recaptured militia forces found the bodies of 11 beheaded police officers.
Fighting continued at daybreak after battles around Sabratha’s hospital and football stadium, with Isis fighters redeploying to a western suburb of the city, which lies 30 miles from Tripoli.
its not very covert or secret if we are seeing it in mainstream news..
“We should not be surprised that France is really interested in its economic position – they were heavily investing in the Libyan Investment Authority… Libya, of course, has vast natural and mineral resources,”
ahh i see..
“The French secret war in Libya involves occasional targeted strikes against IS leaders preceded by discreet ground operations.”