A year ago today, on June 26th, 2019, the city of Gharyan, in the far east of the Infusen mountains, was liberated from the Libyan Armed Arab Forces (FAAL) of Khalifa Haftar which took control of the region on April 3rd, 2019. A surprise attack forced FAAL militias and mercenaries to retreat after suffering heavy defeats. However, the FAAL benefited from considerable military support including an air force provided by the United Arab Emirates with its drones, American anti-tank missiles and the Russian anti-aircraft systems Pantsir and battalions of mercenaries from various other regions.
If the release of Gharyan, a strategic city, was an important step to repel the offensive of Haftar troops determined to take Tripoli, this has revealed some unassumed support for Haftar. This is the case of France’s support.
Indeed, the release of Gharyan allowed the GNA forces to get their hands on American manufactured javelin anti-tank missiles, belonging to France. The FAAL had precipitately abandoned a base in Gharyan where these missiles were stored. Missiles that cost more than $ 170,000 each and are generally sold only to nearby American allies. On July 10th, 2019, following an article in the New York Times, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces finally admitted that it was France that bought them from the United States, while denying that they were given to Haftar’s FAAL.
And it is thus that this episode marked a decisive turning point in Libyan opinion regarding the position of France.
It was a year ago. Today, as the crimes are exposed, France is struggling as much as it can to prevent any independent investigation which could reveal that the Arabs, wherever they are, are at the service of France.
In a dispatch on June 25th, 2020, AFP wrote: “Paris, Rome and Berlin call for an end to all interference by foreign actors in Libya and urge the Libyan parties to immediately and unconditionally cease the fighting” in a joint statement released Thursday evening.
It is clear that this declaration is an initiative of France. However, the latter insists at all costs on the immediate and unconditional cessation of fighting. And “unconditional” is important. That would mean that we will pretend that nothing ever happened. And that the mass graves and all the other horrors should be forgotten, which will let Haftar’s horse to be put back into the race.
What contempt for the Libyans and the families of all the victims of the horrors of the Haftar Libyan Arab Armed Forces (FAAL) this is!