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France’s "Secret War" in Libya Not So Secret Anymore

© AP Photo / Mohammad HannonLibyan security forces stands guard in Benghazi, Libya (File)
Libyan security forces stands guard in Benghazi, Libya (File) - Sputnik International
French newspaper Le Monde has been accused of compromising state secrets after reporting that the France was waging a "secret war" with Libya. Its report based on sources blogging on the ground suggests that French Special Forces are in eastern Libya, engaging in covert operations against Daesh along with the US and UK.

In what Le Monde called "France’s secret war in Libya", it claimed President Francois Hollande has authorized "unofficial military action" by elite armed forces and intelligence commandos from the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) in Libya. 

The newspaper quoted a senior French defense minister saying: "The last thing we do would be to intervene in Libya. Avoid any open military engagement, we must act discreetly".

It’s believed that the discreet strikes against leaders of Daesh are being carried out to stem the growth of the radical Islamist group, which is increasingly taking ground and control of oil fields across the region.

However, according to French language radio network RTL, the DGSE has since launched a criminal investigation against Le Monde to investigate how the newspaper obtained the classified information.

A rebel soldier gestures atop a car as he heads to Brega, in Ajdabiya March 2, 2011. - Sputnik International
Then and Now: Chaos Rules Five Years After Libya's 'Day of Rage'

A senior Libyan military commander has said that French military advisers have been helping coordinate Libyan forces to fight Daesh militants in Benghazi.

"The French military group in Benghazi are just military advisers who provide consultations to the Libyan National Army in its battle against terrorism, but they are not fighting with our Libyan forces," Wanis Bukhamada, Special Forces commander told Reuters.

Libya in Chaos

When it first emerged that the US and France had been pushing for military action in Libya following a meeting in Paris, Dr Arturo Varvelli, head of terrorism research at the Italian think tank ISPI, told Sputnik that any Western military intervention in Libya to stop its seizure by Daesh militants would be perceived as "intrusive and neo-colonial", suggesting it could strengthen Daesh’s control instead.

Dr Varvelli said that Italy and its allies, including France, should re-focus on forming an official government – not resort to military action again.

© AP Photo / Sergey PonomarevLibyans pray during Friday prayers, in the rebel-held Benghazi, Libya, Friday, July 8, 2011.
Libyans pray during Friday prayers, in the rebel-held Benghazi, Libya, Friday, July 8, 2011.  - Sputnik International
Libyans pray during Friday prayers, in the rebel-held Benghazi, Libya, Friday, July 8, 2011.

Following the invasion of Libya by France, UK and NATO in 2011, the North African country has descended into chaos. Libya has been left under the rule of tribal militia groups, stuck in a civil war leaving the country open to exploitation by Daesh.

Arms used by NATO and rebel groups to overthrow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi are now in the hands of Daesh militants who are using them to take over swathes of the country.

Uncertainty Ahead

Western allies have been accused of contributing to the lawlessness after failing to unify Libya’s national government after Gaddafi was killed.

Speculation is rising that if Libya fails to form a national government, western countries will push to split Libya into three states: Tripolitania in the northwest, Fezzan in the southwest and Cyrenaica in the east.

A formal vote on the formation of a national government by MPs in Tobruk has been delayed.

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