“We were dragged along by a French enthusiasm to intervene, and the mission then moved from protecting people in Benghazi, who arguably were not at the kind of threat that was then being presented… Indeed, on the basis of the evidence we took, the threat to the people of Benghazi was grossly overstated.”
Crispin Blunt — chairman of the UK parliamentary committee
A further insight into French motivations was provided in freedom of information disclosure by the United States State Department in December 2015. Besides self-interests, Sarkozy’s plans were driven by a desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production, as well as the fear that Gaddafi would establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar, which was seen as a direct threat to France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
A UK parliamentary report has severely criticised the intervention by Britain and France that led to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The foreign affairs committee accused the then PM David Cameron of lacking a coherent strategy for the air campaign.
“This report determines that UK policy in Libya before and since the intervention of March 2011 was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of the country and the situation.
Other political options were available. Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at a lesser cost to the UK and Libya. The UK would have lost nothing by trying these instead of focusing exclusively on regime change by military means.
Having led the intervention with France, we had a responsibility to support Libyan economic and political reconstruction. But our lack of understanding of the institutional capacity of the country stymied Libya’s progress in establishing security on the ground and absorbing financial and other resources from the international community.
The UK’s actions in Libya were part of an ill-conceived intervention, the results of which are still playing out today.”
Sarkozy’s motivation: Self-Interest
On 2 April 2011, Sidney Blumenthal, adviser and unofficial intelligence analyst to the then United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reported this conversation with French intelligence offers to the Secretary of State:
[The following is an email dated 2 April 2011 from Sid Stone Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton. Blumenthal explains the rationale behind President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to bomb Libya. This document speaks for itself!]
“Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver.
During late March, 2011 these stocks were taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli and moved to SABHA.
This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar.
This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).
French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.
According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:
a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his internal political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long-term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa.”
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