The French newspaper Le Monde wondered: Will the disappointment in Chad change Paris’s view of the Libyan theater? Will it contribute to its reassessment of Haftar, who it considered “the supposed guardian of Libya’s southern borders”, from which came the Chadian rebel attack that killed the Chadian President Idriss Debi was launched?
The newspaper pointed out that it was not hidden from anyone that France had invested heavily on Haftar, and that it was a strategic bet for it, as evidenced by the security, diplomatic and political assistance provided to him, which was a source of concern to the European partners of Paris and a source of tension within the French establishment itself.
The goal – as the newspaper explains – was to give Haftar the opportunity to create a safety cordon in the south for the “Barkhane” operation carried out by France in the Sahel region. There is no better evidence more than what Ghassan Salama said, when he was head of the United Nations mission in Libya, that “France’s vision is more regional than Libyan,” according to the newspaper
“Le Monde” concluded from this that the recent Chadian unrest came against Paris’ expectations, and it became clear that relying on Haftar was a matter of deception, as not only did the “border guard” not stop the infiltration operations coming from Libya, but the rebel group ” The Front of Change and Accord, ”which dealt the fatal blow to President Debi, was among the heterogeneous military alliance that surrounds Haftar, who generously recruited Chadian and Sudanese“ mercenaries ”(from Darfur), not to mention the Russian Wagner fighters that Moscow put at his service.
The newspaper believes that Haftar’s inability to prevent his Chadian followers from attacking his “friend” Debi has revealed a lot about the fact that the brigade controlled southern Libya, as a former United Nations official says that “Haftar’s presence in Fezzan is not a continuous line, it is a set of points.” Nevertheless, France has repeatedly described Haftar’s position in the political equation as “inevitable” under the pretext that he controls “80% of the Libyan lands,” according to the newspaper, which saw this as an exaggeration in the assessment of Haftar’s ability to maintain areas of control by him and his allies.
Le Monde wondered what was left of France’s strategic bet on Haftar, who randomly bombed entire neighborhoods densely populated, at a time when France provided him with invaluable technical expertise in intelligence matters, from which he benefited to fuel his ambitions for a more comprehensive invasion of Libya, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper said that the results for French interests from a wider regional perspective appear to be more mixed, because the attack launched by Haftar in the spring of 2019 on the Government of National Accord in Tripoli led by Fayez al-Sarraj at the time, and officially supported by the United Nations, had only one tangible result, And that is, in addition to the humanitarian catastrophe, the door was wide open for the entry of foreigners, as Russian fighters affiliated with Wagner arrived on the side of Haftar, and Turkish soldiers on the side of the Government of National Accord.
Now, as the newspaper says, France has every reason to bite its fingers in regret, because the establishment of a new quasi-sovereignty in western Libya on the border with Tunisia overtly frustrates French interests in the Mediterranean, and accepting to deal with the game of Wagner fighters is also fraught with doubts. Although France is contrary to the American perception, it considers that the Turkish danger is more “threatening” to its interests than the Russian danger, despite Moscow’s plans to enter sub-Saharan Africa, especially the “back garden” countries of France, according to the newspaper.