By Rayomand Bhacka
Picture Credits: Google Images
Is France disrupting prospects of security in the East Mediterranean
French Naval Presence in the East Mediterranean
In June, 2019, during a summit involving European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, French President Emmanuel Macron echoed his demands for Turkey to stop illegal oil drilling activities near the Cypriot coast. This, according to Macron, is a part of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Furthermore, Macron vowed to push the European Union to take some action on the same.
The Turkish response came two days later where the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slashed the statements made by Macron in the summit. Recently, after a G20 summit in Osaka, Erdogan told reporters that –
“I told Macron, you have no right to speak about the Cyprus issue. You have nothing to do with Cyprus. On this matter, I speak, Greece speaks, Britain speaks, the EU speaks, but not you.”
France is a powerful nation as far as its military capabilities are concerned. It has Europe’s most powerful and NATO’s second most powerful military force. Therefore, an increasing French naval presence in the East Mediterranean and its growing interest in Cypriot affairs concerns many powers already involved in the region, especially Turkey, who has high stakes in the East Med.
In January, 2019 Macron stated (in his speech in Nicosia) the strategic importance of Cyprus as a port state for the Naval Task Force which has been formed around the French Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Aircraft Carrier. Two months later, in March, 2019 the Charles De Gaulle Naval Task Force visited the port of Limassol in Cyprus.
Thereafter, Cypriot commanders paid a visit to the Charles De Gaulle in respect, which stood stern off the southern coast of Cyprus. The next day , the French Navy Chief of Staff – Admiral Christopher Prazuck paid a visit to the Naval Base at Mari, which happens to be near the Cypriot port of Larnaca. Thus, the French continue to build cordial relations with Cyprus and continue to indulge into the oil drilling issue which broadens its distance with Turkey. This according to me, is a diplomatic tool which may allow Macron to insinuate into the East Mecditerranean Gas Crisis.
In May, 2019 the Franco-Cypriot bromance increased as the Defense Ministers of both nations signed a Statement of Intent which called for the expansion of the naval base at Mari so that it could accommodate larger Warships which were needed in such a dynamic region. Another, subordinate aim of this agreement was to strengthen Cyprus’ Military Capabilities as well as lay the foundation for a deal enabling strategic cooperation between France and Cyprus.
The Turkish press saw this as a shrewd move by France to insinuate into the East Mediterranean Gas crisis in order to have a share of the resources in the region. According to media sources in Ankara, there is an article in the Franco-Cypriot agreement expressing hostility towards Turkish interventions in the region – “French Navy will protect the French petroleum company Total, which is active in Greek blocks, from any Turkish intervention”.
The French Petroleum company Total is a joint license holder, with its partner, the Italian Petroleum Company ENI. These companies have a joint management license for blocks declared in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone near the coastal regions of Lebanon and Crete. In February, 2018 the Turkish Navy blocked an exploration vessel leased by ENI off the Cypriot coast not once but twice. Thus, such aggression on the high seas concerns the French of a brutal Turkish domination of the East Mediterranean.
On the other hand, many think tank experts suggest that in spite of energy disputes raging in the East Mediterranean on a regular basis, gas isn’t the only reason attracting French presence in the region. The East Mediterranean is ranked by think tankers as one of the most volatile geopolitical regions in the world. This can partly be attributed to its energy resources and partly to its strategic location which is crucial for International Trade and geopolitical influence. Thus, making it the focus of French Foreign Policy since the past few years. This strategic importance has, ever since, spearheaded French involvement in Libya and Syria where France seeks to establish its influence by choosing sides in conflicts.
Mona Sukkarieh – a political risk consultant and the co-founder of the Middle East Perspectives Think Tank, believes that French presence in the East Mediterranean cannot be analysed just from an energy perspective. She also said –
“The region has attracted renewed attention over the past few years, with conflicts in Syria, Libya, continued concern over stability in countries like Egypt and Lebanon, growing security risks, illegal immigration, in addition to promising energy potential. All these factors have led to a race for influence in the region, driven mostly by geopolitical interests rather than commercial ambitions. This explains why the French maintain a quasi-permanent naval presence and activity in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Vincent Tourret, who happens to be a security expert at the Foundation for Strategic Research clearly said that French Colonial Legacy and security reasons drive France into taking interest in East Mediterranean affairs. He also said –
“France has always held a special attention to what we call the Levant due to the large French communities there, the cultural and economic penetration in these regions and the perceived threat from these regions in terms of terrorism.”
In addition to that, he mentioned that these Geopolitical and commercial interests have led France to deploy forces in the region to deter aggression and for Humanitarian missions focusing on evacuating Non-Combatant forces in war-zones such as Syria and Libya.
French geopolitical interests in the East Mediterranean are evident in its role in Syria, since 2011. Ever since the Arab Spring led to a huge political dissension in Syria, French vessels have been patrolling Syrian coasts.
In April, 2018 France launched a joint operation with the United States and Britain to bombard Chemical Factories in Syria after Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s government used Chemical Weapons on Syrian civilians. As part of the operation, missile strikes were launched by the U.S-Anglo-French coalition from vessels located in the East Mediterranean.
Vincent Tourret also said – “Another security topic from the last years is the potential spill-over of the Syrian civil war. First, it forced France to intervene to uphold international law. France conducted the operation to retaliate against chemical gas use from the Syrian regime.”
In addition to that, he said – “Second, because of its consequences, a strengthened Hezbollah, the proliferation of Shia militias in general and the continued presence of ISIS and returning French national jihadists, pose real and long-term risk in the region and directly on our national soil.”
According to him, Cyprus provides a strategic forward base for France to conduct military operations in the East Mediterranean. Secondly France and Cyprus had signed a decade long defense cooperation treaty in 2007. They updated it in 2017 for another term of 10 years.
Mona Sakkarieh commented on this Franco-Cypriot relationship by saying that – “France sees Cyprus as a reliable and strategic staging post in a region with increased geopolitical stakes in which it wants to maintain influence and where other, more traditional stopping off points may be threatened in the future. Cyprus sees France as a reliable EU ally, particularly after Brexit and uncertainties over where Britain stands amid rising tensions with Turkey.”
Thus, it is evident from such deals that French presence in the East Mediterranean is not just about energy. France, with the most powerful military force in Europe acts as a shield for Cyprus, to protect it against Turkish Aggression. In return, France gets to maintain its influence in the East Mediterranean and station its troops in Cyprus so that they are prepared for any operations in the East Mediterranean.
France playing Doubles in Libya
French role in Libya was a million dollar question asked time and again. This was since Libyan General Khalifa Haftar launched his invasion of Tripoli.
Officially, France is committed to supporting the Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj and his Government of National Accord backed by UN recognition. This government, formed under the 2015 Skhirat Agreement, is based in Tripoli and acts as Libya’s official representative. In spite of a strong French commitment towards supporting the GNA, France has developed strong ties with General Khalifa Haftar and his LNA based in Tobruk.
A credible evidence of this two sided French game is that the French forces are operating under cover in Libya. In April, 2019 13 illegally armed French intelligence officers were busted and arrested on the Tunisian-Libyan border. Sources say that the border guards, after arresting them, discovered that they were carrying communication devices. This could be linked to General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Three years prior to this incident, three French officers belonging to the French Special Forces squad in Libya were killed in a plane crash. This happened in East Libya while flying towards Cyrenaica, which happens to be a province under Haftar’s direct control.
Thus, these specifications suggest that while France officially remains aligned with the UN backed Government of National Accord, it maintains connections with Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Since Haftar launched his invasion of Tripoli, France has been facing a lot of criticism for its two sided play in the Libyan crisis.
On a legal footing, France, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a protector of state sovereignty, should support Fayez Al Sarraj and the GNA, backed by the UN.
France also officially supported the UN’s efforts to forge a political solution. All parties concerned could be included, starting with the UN backed Government of National Accord in the Paris Agreement. Despite these efforts, at the same time, France is dealing with the GNA’s main foe, Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army. Haftar happens to be one of the biggest threats to Libya and has, since 2019 established his importance in Libya. This has been done by means of his military resources supplied by Russia, the U.A.E and Egypt.
Libyan Friendships with France
One reason giving relevance to Franco-Haftar relations is the French desire to not lag behind in Geopolitical and Energy scrambles in the East Mediterranean. Thus, France maintains its relations with Haftar so that it can gain some political and commercial influence. This motive as stated by French officials is the main reason behind Franco-Italian tensions on the Libyan Crisis. This has crippled the influential space of the European Union.
While Italy has recently extended more support to the GNA and limited relations with Haftar to just protocol trips, France has gotten closer with Haftar and the Tobruk based LNA. There is no vagueness in this behavior. France is just being practical and looking out for its own interests in Libya even if it tries to officially deny this. In 2019, Haftar looked inevitable and thus, Russia, U.A.E, Egypt pinned their faith on him. This belief made France cultivate relations with the Libyan General if it wanted any influence in the North African nation. However, today, the tide has turned in favor of Sarraj’s GNA and Turkey.
The disruptive Franco-Libyan relations have a long past behind themselves. Since the erstwhile Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi decided to annul a Nuclear Programme in 2003, France has developed a lot of interest in tapping the energy and commercial benefits provided by the Libyan market.
This soft power framework was well taken care of during the former French President Jacques Chirac’s term and relations reached its peak during the term of Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy initiated a series of strong relations between France and Libya and had a key role in ousting Gaddafi’s government in Libya. Furthermore, post Sarkozy presidencies of Francois Hollande and Emmanuel Macron have maintained this policy towards Libya.
The real position of France in the Libyan Crisis in terms of alliances has never been made clear by the French Government as it is officially committed to ensuring Political Stability in Libya. But it is now clear that underlying factors forcing France to intervene in Libya go well beyond ensuring Political Stability.
One such factor is the African Migrant Issue. Libya today is like a common departure location for African Migrants who want to travel to Europe. France, which is not one of the most migrant friendly nations in Europe, wants to curb the inflow of Migrants to Europe through its intervention in Libya. Thus, France wants to curb rising levels of African migrants entering Europe by closing migrant connections with illegal migration agents in Libya.
Security Issues posed by Libya are another cause of contention for the French. These concerns are not just confined to the risks posed by Libyan Instability to the European Union. Whereas these risks concern France also because they pose a threat to Libya’s Geographical Neighborhood (Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Chad and Niger). This issue is really important for France as it leads incursions against the Daesh in West Africa and the Sahel region and is party to the G5 Sahel Forces. While all regions of Libya pose a threat to French interests but serious challenges are posed by illegitimate activities carried out in the Western and Southern provinces of Libya where it shares borders with Algeria, Chad and Niger. Illegal Trafficking, including Arms Trafficking and emergence of radical islamist activities across the southern borders of Libya pose grave concerns for the French military in the Sahel region.
At the same time, the French have some long-term classical goals in Libya too. These include France’s will to ensure privileged access to the economic and energy opportunities provided by Libya. The preservation of French diplomatic influence in Libya which will enable France to further its interests in the region.
France’s role in leading Libya into Anarchy
By giving military support to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, French President Emmanuel Macron has undermined the authority of the UN backed legitimate government of Libya – the Government of National Accord.
Macron is complaining about a raging Turkish involvement in Libya, thus, labelling Erdogan’s interference as a “dangerous game” in Libya. Thereafter, Macron went forward to warn Turkey that its brutal interference in Libya won’t be tolerated either by France or by its allies. His comments came months after Turkey announced military support to the GNA after a formal request by its leader Fayez Al Sarraj when the LNA militias started capturing Tripoli. Now, when we talk about the legalities of Turkey’s intervention, it is considered legitimate under the Libyan State Laws as well as International Law. Thus, Turkey annulled French accusations against its intervention in the war torn nation. Thereafter, Turkey mentioned that French intervention in Libya is the sole reason for Libya’s Political Stability.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Askoy sternly mentioned in a statement, “The greatest obstacle to peace and stability in Libya is the support provided by France and some other countries to the illegitimate entities, which is contrary to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” France has also faced swathes of criticism from its fellow European Union members of supporting a warlord who mercilessly murders civilians in his quest for Political Domination in Libya.
Speaking with reference to a brutal attack in a Migrant Detention centre in Libya, which killed 44 civilians, the former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini stated, “Haftar is responsible for a criminal attack. I do not mention the French, who for Economic and Political reasons support an attack on civilian targets.” Analysts too, have accused France of prioritising Economic Interests over the safety of civilians in Libya. Their arguments mention that – under Gaddafi, Libya was a major exporter of Crude Oil to France. After his death and a political conflict in Libya, France anticipated that another influential figure in Libya, General Khalifa Haftar is capable of making sure that Libya, once again, becomes a trustworthy source of energy to France.
French military actions in Libya have, time and again proven that it’s on ground behavior is contrary to its official commitment of supporting the GNA. French support for Haftar has taken place through two arenas – At the diplomatic level(including Haftar’s repeated visits to the Elysse) and at the Military Level(through weapons and troops). In July, 2019, the Pentagon discovered that the Anti-Tank Missiles it supplied to France had ended up in the hands of Haftar’s militias. France has even deployed its Special Forces in Libya to train Haftar’s militias – who are accused of conducting war crimes against civilians in Libya.
Libyans often argue that if France labels Turkey’s involvement as aggression, then how is it’s own involvement in Libya different. British Libyan psychiatrist Dr Ahmed Sewehli, a commentator on Libyan affairs once stated that – “France has invested heavily in destabilising Libya and putting a stop to the progress in the democratic process that started in 2012.” Sewehli said that the French “gave the diplomatic support that Haftar needed for his violent campaign. The Libyan government never invited France into Libya. This is in contrast to the official agreements signed between Libya and Turkey. France has no right to interfere in what agreement Libya signs with friendly countries.”
France’s Libyan Projections Crumble
After having interfered in Libya since the Arab Spring of 2011 and rearming Haftar, who, at any cost, wants to seize power in Libya, France is still denying its involvement in the Libyan Crisis. Thus, France has reached a vacuum point in Libya. It has no idea of the path it should take to further its interests and is entangled in the war. Many diplomatic sources have mentioned facts to the Daily Sabah, one such source said that, “France ostensibly supports a political solution to the country’s conflict” and that, “It pretends as if it is not fanning the flames of war in Libya.”
This particular source, emphasised on the situation for France after the Libyan Warlord Khalifa Haftar launched his offensive on Tripoli. This period has left France in a rather blind state. It doesn’t know the method and direction of its approach to protect its interests in the region. This state has caused Macron to pursue an “Ill-Tempered” policy. This anonymous source also mentioned, “Turkey is of the view that French decision makers are headed in the wrong direction.”
France has recently been growing aggressive in its statements about Libya and the current scenario where the country is placed. This aggression has been evident ever since the UN backed Government of National Accord under Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj backfired General Khalifa Haftar’s 14 month long offensive on Tripoli, backed by France, U.A.E, Egypt and Russia. The GNA, with Turkish military support has been successful in warding off Haftar’s offensive to some extent and in retaking some strategic locations, thereby flouting Haftar’s control over those regions in Libya.
In July, 2020, The Turkish Foreign Minister – Melvut Cavusoglu told Turkish news reporters after Macron accuses Turkey of illegally supporting the GNA against Haftar’s militias that, “France, which (French President Emmanuel) Macron governs, or rather which he can’t manage to govern at the moment, has been in Libya only for its own interests and ambitions with a destructive approach, in the same way that it pushed Africa into instability in the past with a colonialist approach and bombed and quit Libya in 2011.”
Speaking about French interests in Africa, how can we forget the Sahel region. Ranging from the Atlantic coast of Sub-Saharan Africa to the Red Sea and covering the countries of Mauritania, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mali, this dynamic region is facing serious challenges. This is in terms of an exponential growth in terrorism resulting from immense amounts of poverty in these countries, making them extremely vulnerable and fragile. France has been a traditional influencer in the region with its presence dating back to its colonial domination of this region in the 19th Century. Recently, the French Government passed an order to add 600 more troops to its 4500 strong Military Force deployed in the Sahel Region.
France strongly mentions that its largest operation in the region – Operation Barkhane exists only for counterterrorism efforts, in the name of “collective security”. However, there is a growth of dissent among Francophone states against any French intervention in the Sahel region. This dissent lays its roots in an Anti-French sentiment in these former French colonies, growing at an exponential rate. As a result, Public Opinion is against any French military presence in the Sahel region. This is because of the incessant fear that French military presence might undermine their national sovereignty. France claims that it’s efforts in the region are purely aimed at ensuring collective peace and security in the region. However, it is clear that France has Political and Economic interests in the Sahel region. Another motive of the French is to curb rising levels of African Migrants. They aim to do this by deploying its military in the Sahel region in the name of maintenance of collective peace and security.
French military presence has been growing exponentially over the recent years on the pretext of “conducting counterterrorism operations.” Its presence publicly unravelled for the first time when, in 2016, 3 French soldiers were killed in a Helicopter crash during an intelligence-gathering mission in Libya. These soldiers were the first western casualties recorded a year after it was publicly announced that Foreign Nations had deployed their special forces in Libya conducting ground operations in the North African country.
France took a central role in the NATO Air Campaign aimed at ousting Muammar Gaddafi and his government from Libya in 2011. Since then, Libya descended into chaos with the emergence of two power hungry factions – the GNA in Tripoli and the LNA in Tobruk. Thereby France started playing two sides in the conflict, forming a distinction between its official commitments and its on ground military activities.
The French have been working with Haftar’s LNA, who rejected the official Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat in 2015. In July, 2019 missiles belonging to the French Special Forces were discovered on a base in Southern Tripoli, belonging to Haftar’s militias, when the UN has imposed an arms embargo on Libya. Although France admitted that those missiles belonged to its forces stationed in Libya, it denied giving them to Haftar’s militias and said that the French Military lost track of those weapons while operating in Libya.
Abdennour Toumi, who happens to be a North Africa expert at the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) said, “Although France never officially acknowledged providing weapons, training, intelligence and special forces assistance to Haftar, it seems that Paris had been involved in Libya probably since 2015 by training and setting up Haftar’s military forces. It’s not fooling anyone or ‘un secret de polichinelle,’ as the French would say.” In addition to that, he said, “In the context of the Libyan civil war, the French have a military presence in the North African state, which is no secret to anyone, despite all the efforts by the French ministries of defense and foreign affairs to hide the fact that there is a French military and intelligence presence in Libya, supporting Haftar.”
Libya’s Oil Resources
The UN backed legitimate government of Libya has, time and again blamed the French Government for supporting the Libyan Warlord Khalifa Haftar. In addition to that, the GNA also feels that French support to Haftar undermines its democratic ideals, thus criticizing the French Government for its involvement on legal and democratic grounds. Whereas an intense reason for a French interference in Libyan affairs is France’s desire to gain a potential advantage over Libya’s extensive oil resources for its oil company Total, which has been operating in Libya. In July, 2019 the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a written statement mentioned that France supported Haftar and his militias in order to dominate Libya’s extensive Natural Resources Still, French support isn’t limited to commercial reasons, it also wants to gain strategic superiority in the Sahel region through its intervention in Libya.
Abdennour Toumi says, “France is the second importer of Libyan oil; this could be tied to Paris’ alignment with the Emirati, Saudi and Egyptian regimes, to whom it has sold billions of dollars of weapons and who also back Haftar.” Whereby he noted that the French Foreign Minister – Jean Yves Le Drian was the one who persuaded Macron to build diplomatic ties with Haftar. This was a policy Le Drian has been pursuing since his days as the French Defense Minister.
Abdennour Toumi further said that France’s policy in Libya has turned out to be a colossal failure and the recent events on the ground have placed them in a disastrous situation. Furthermore, he went on to say that the French policy in Libya has taken an assertive position and has, in principle, established a new doctrine in its Foreign Policy in the MENA region. Thus France is moving further away from its “Realpolitik” and more towards adopting a “Riyalpolitik” Foreign Policy stance. Thus, its foreign policy is now based on uncompromising ideologies rather than the practicality or rationality of the situation on the ground.
Anadolu Agency’s Libya Correspondent – Enes Canli went on to stress that Macron’s military support for Haftar’s forces in the Libyan conflict cannot be ignored.
Labelling France’s active support since Haftar launched his invasion of Tripoli, he brought attention to the capture of three French soldiers working for the French Intelligence services, at the Libyan-Tunisian border. At the time, the French Embassy in Tunis mentioned that these officers were men of secretive military profiles attached to the French Diplomatic Mission in Libya. Furthermore, the Embassy mentioned that this movement belonged to a routine transfer of security staff between Tripoli and Tunis. Later, Radio France International, while quoting a credible source, reported that the three men cited as diplomats were actually intelligence officers, quite contrary to previous claims by the French Embassy.
Despite France’s denial of such accusations, the GNA’s interior ministry announced that it had suspended all relations with the French Government in view of the extensive French support to LNA leader Haftar.
Canli also accused France of deliberately behaving like a bystander while Haftar went on a sadistic frenzy, killing civilians at an appalling rate and still recognized the latter as the legitimate diplomatic representative of Libya. The GNA was founded in 2015 by means of a UN-led agreement at Skhirat. Nevertheless, initiatives for a long term political solution were thwarted by Haftar’s offensive. Haftar’s militias have been the reason for the deaths of about 1,000 civilians as well as conducted numerous war crimes against innocent Libyans, including planting landmines in civilian regions while retreating from strategic locations. One of their latest brutalities includes the mass graves in Tarhuna province where bodies of children were found.
Recently, this feud between Turkey and France has escalated at an unimaginable rate over a wide range of issues like the Libyan Crisis, the Syrian Crisis and Energy disputes in Cyprus’ EEZ.
Abdennour Toumi, while referring to Turkey’s cooperation deals with the GNA, rightly said, “Paris’ tense relations with Ankara are amateurish and senseless because it feels like Paris does not know what to do or how to approach the role of Turkey, which is not the Turkey of 1920 anymore.” He added, “Turkey emerged as a real pivotal state in the region and imposed itself on the world stage and this did not please Paris or its axis.”
The Libyan conflict has become the main cause for contention in the wider sphere of Franco-Turkish relations. France has been accused of supporting Haftar, selfishly trying to fulfil its economic ambitions at the cost of innocent civilians and supporting Russian influence in Libya. This was vehemently opposed by NATO.
Turkey has, time and again, justified its intervention on legal grounds and condemns France for being an uninvited guest to the Libyan conflict. It entered the conflict only after the GNA submitted a formal request for its help. Whereas France has intervened arbitrarily in favor of a murderer only to secure its Political and Economic Interests in Sahel and the MENA region.
When France accuses Turkey of flouting the UN arms embargo on Libya and supplying weapons, troops and analysts to Sarraj’s government. France has also labelled Turkey as a real obstacle for a political solution in Libya. Furthermore, France complained when, on 10th June, one of its frigates named Courbet was bombarded twice by a Turkish Naval Defense Radar, while participating in a NATO mission aimed at maintaining maritime security in the Mediterranean, known as the Sea Guardian Mission. Turkey responded by demanding an apology from the French Government for making false claims about the naval incident. Thus, France responded by withdrawing its participation in the Sea Guardian Mission(temporarily). Thus, consensus is something which isn’t around the corner for France and Turkey.
Thus, eventually this article helps in understanding that France’s behavior in the Mediterranean can be compared to that of a child whose toy has been snatched away from him. France has shown its willingness to go to any extent to uphold its interests in the East Mediterranean. While Turkey can be blamed for the Cypriot oil drilling incident, Macron must take a part of the blame for destabilising Libya. Today, I ask – What was it worth?
France has come to a standstill in Libya as Haftar retreats. Public Opinion in the Sahel region is against France and the U.S.A. France’s main military supplier is thinking about its withdrawal from the Sahel region and France is already stuck in a mad scramble in Syria. In totality, France’s Riyalpolitik view of the MENA region is costing it. With a change of the Prime Minister and the cabinet in France, I hope that France stresses upon a practical Foreign Policy to improve its image, secure its interests and promote peace and security in the MENA region as a permanent member of the Security Council. As a country with a strong military, France has a clear scope of success. However, it also depends on how Macron strives towards it by promoting cooperation with Turkey and establishing its stance in the Libyan Crisis.
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