The effect of the Libyan Civil War on the relationship between France and Italy

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The effect of the Libyan Civil War on the relationship between France and Italy

After the Muammer Kaddafi is overthrown in the year 2011; the rival groups’ desire of
obtaining power by controlling the lands and oil resources of Libyan have been increased and
it caused a civil war in Libya. In this process, France and Italy are two of the main political
actors that work for gaining foreign political interests by using the outcomes of the civil war
in Libya. After the elections done in June 25, 2014; the second civil war erupted, and two
independent governments occurred in Libya which divided the state in two regimes. One of
them is called House of Representatives which placed in the far east of the country; Tobruk
and headed by Aguila Saleh Issa. Therewithal, the government against it which is named as
Government of National Accord is established under United Nations through mediation of
Italy and by the guidance of the Libyan Political Agreement that signed on 17 December
2015. Then, on March 30, 2016 the Government of National Accord came to Tripoli with 18
ministers under the leadership of Fayez al-Sarraj. Thereby, the conflicts and disagreements
between two governments has been officially started. The results of conflicts and recent
developments that emerge during the civil war can be easily influenced by the economic and
politic competition between these two countries: France and Italy.
On the side of France, the policies that are implemented during the war can play the
key role about having the control over the Africa’s coastal region by using Mediterranean’s
strategical location and gathering the countries like; Chad, Sudan and Niger which are
neighbours of Libya and under a political sphere to achieve two-staged population area.
That’s why France Government continue to support the Caliph Hafter by increasing its’
diplomatic actions about military and economy in domestic and international level. In
addition, we can show as an example the fact that they gave antitank missiles which made by
United States to Hafter in July 2019. Besides to military and financial aids they did, the armed
struggle that they went into against the Government of National Accord had caused the
French government to reconsider its policies against this civil war. On the other hand, the
Italian administration evaluates the situation under geopolitical reasons by highlighting Libya
is a neighboring country to Italy and the country being the only country where Italy maintains
'private' relations among North African countries. Due to these reasons, Libya has a crucial
role in Italy's foreign policy in terms of economy and security. Italy has been the most
affected European country by the civil war, as it invested heavily in Libya, including in the
energy field. Due to the important role of Italy in Libya, the Macron government aims to

strengthen its relations with Italy in order to achieve its strategic goals. In addition, the
relationship between the two countries has gained importance to eliminate the problems that
emerged in the Rome due to the French stance on Libya and to fill the strategic leadership gap
in the European Union (EU). Although the Italian government has implemented a partial
balancing policy against France, the civil war in Libya has been a key factor in emerging a
strategic and economic competition between Italy and France.

This article written by Yaşar Bora Togo

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