French Defense Minister Jeans-Yves Le Drian has offered military support to the Libyan government to help the nation secure its southern border with Mali, saying it was up to Libya to decide on the scope of that aid.
After the NATO-imposed regime change in Libya, large quantities of looted weapons sparked a civil war in Mali. After the French military invaded Mali in January, many of the Islamist fighters in that area fled north, into Libya.
Libya had no shortage of internal problems already since the regime change, but the influx of Islamists, many of them linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has left the southern deserts of Libya a mish-mash of different factions, none of whom particularly like one another and all of them, thanks to the French and the rest of NATO, armed to the teeth.
Le Drian reiterated pledges that France would not unilaterally deploy troops to southern Libya, but insisted that they would do so either with Libyan government permission or UN backing. He added that France was committed to “curbing terror” in North Africa, though he appeared not to notice how much of the heavy armament of militants in the region is a direct result of their past operations.
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