No simple explanation for intervention in Libya

In recently declassified e-mails, one learnt that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would have been aware of the so-called real reasons behind France’s military intervention against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. French intelligence officers would have assessed that France’s economic interests were clearly at stake after they discovered that 143 tons of gold and a same amount in silver, valued at more than $7 billion, were accumulated – prior to the rebellion – by Gaddafi and was designed to establish an Libyan alternative to the French franc (CFA).

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy justified French intervention by the need to protect civilians as stated in UNSC resolution 1973 while in fact the main purpose was allegedly to disrupt Gaddafi’s plans for French-speaking (Francophone) Africa. Although it’s true France showed continued determination to defend its interests abroad – France has been the world’s 2nd most military engaged country abroad for years – one has to remember that considering Gaddafi’s implication in decades-old terrorist plots, the French government always wanted to “punish him” exactly like the United States said they would, back in the mid-1980s.

Of course, Libya’s security and political situation has become an impending threat to Europe and North Africa, and Libya’s general situation has turned worse today than when Gaddafi was still in power. However, said former senior military officers like General Henri Pinard-Legry, letting Gaddafi rule Libya as he did for several decades wasn’t a good solution either. Indeed, Pinard-Legry explained, Gaddafi’s authoritarian rule was both fueling the rebellion and a possible jihadist takeover.

Summing up, doing nothing would have just delayed what happened eventually, that is Gaddafi’s overthrow and/or the country’s deep destabilization. Thus beyond US President Barack Obama’s “worst mistake” there was the national interest of France, which just lost three soldiers in counter-terrorist operations in Mali and has been the main crucial force, the UN agreed, against those who seek to further destabilize Africa.