[Map] The Mediterranean - Libya and the Franco-American Split
The Warring State of Libya: Franco-American Split

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Title: Libya and the Franco-American Split

Author: Hubert Douglas - The Mediterranean

Date: 7th August 2026




A Brawl Between the Two Republics

During my lecture at the 7th Hall of Perspectives Conference in Seattle, I elaborated on the current challenges faced by the United States. In meticulous detail, I explained that not only that the country’s veneer as a military superpower has shattered, but it also caused many of our key allies to question our reliability as a security partner. And it would be a matter of time when the international scene becomes multipolar again, with China standing tall as the global hegemon.

Despite the obvious shift, few such as Republican Senator Horatio Jabarti objected to the premise. He argues that the “unprovoked” attack on their flagship merely reinforces China’s reputation as a global pariah, and it will unite the many democracies of the world to stand against their growing influence. His assessment, however, became faulty as Australia made some rather cynical retort in their 2022 Defense Papers, which states that our aggressive policy puts their country’s economy and even security at risk.

And who could blame them? Since 2020, we’ve faced blunder after blunder in the most humiliating way possible: We lost 200 soldiers during the Taliban ambush in Spin Boldak, pivoted Indonesia to China due to a pathetic grandstand for human rights concerning West Papua, convinced Erdogan to commit a detente with Assad, and faced another scandal in Libya concerning dead U.S operatives. I could name more, but I think I made my case over how impotent we’ve become since the sinking of the USS Reagan.

But then there’s Emmanuel Macron - the Little Napoleon of the 21st Century. While many of our allies make condolences for our loss in the South China Seas, he made a scathing retort over how the United States has become the “Sick Man of the World”, and rightfully so. But there’s more to him than just simple advocacy for European independence from Anglo-American influence as his rhetoric veers towards the sense of French Exceptionalism, boasting their unique role in history and the current political stage between China and the United States.

His policy against the United States has the consequence of provoking a schism within NATO, especially concerning Libya. Facing two of the worst crises Europe has ever faced since the spillover from Syria, many of its members bicker over how to approach the worsening situation. Exacerbated by the hijacking of a French naval prototype - the FSS Treville, and the suspicious appearance and death of U.S operatives in Ghat, both are adamant about solving the crises, yet their strategies differ vastly, especially which over which local body they should support: The Presidential Council exiles in Washington D.C or the remnants of Haftar’s Libyan National Army.

Little Napoleon and the Grand Marshal

Emmanuel Macron recognized Haftar’s House of Representatives as the legitimate government of Libya during his time at the 2020 World Economic Forum, citing the rampant factionalism and Islamic fundamentalism within the Government of National Accord as his rationale. Despite being condemned by many, especially by Germany and the United States, he received little but strong support from Turkey. Since then, they’ve enabled the Libyan National Army to swiftly take over Western Libya during Haftar’s Operation Unity offensive, providing them with diplomatic (and allegedly, military) support.

Initially, it was a worthy investment. It was enough for Macron and Erdogan to pat each other’s back over Haftar’s triumph, boasting their success with a massive grin during their diplomatic broadcast at Ankara. With both the GNA and PC in exile, a massive pool of foreign investment begin to funnel for the reconstruction of Libya: Turkey made investments to repair highways and the Great Manmade River, while France supported Haftar’s ambitious plans concerning mineral extraction and domestic arms manufacturing.

All seems rather well, especially when massive progress was made during the first few months of Haftar’s 4 Year Plan. But then he died, succumbed to years of struggling against withering age. As a result, the country once again plunges into crises and civil strife. To save face, both countries initially abandoned remnants of the Libyan National Army in favour of the Presidential Council. However, their efforts were futile as they show contempt and distrust towards them, forcing them to pivot back towards the LNA.

While France still considers Libya as a potential threat to their national security, they refuse to support any form of military invasion, citing the already worsening Neo-Barbary Crisis as an example of its potential consequences. Instead, they provide support to the remnants of the Libyan National Army, which rules over the hinterlands of Eastern Libya. And since many officials of the HoR (now residing in Paris) still recognize the LNA as a part of their government, they’re the only legitimate force that who are still present in the civil war.

Officially, they merely recognize them and reject any notion of assisting the LNA beyond diplomatic support. However, just like the rumours during Operation Unity, it wouldn’t be surprising if they provided them with intelligence and military assets. There are still hearsays of French operatives scattered across Eastern Libya, especially during their offensive against the Shura Council. Rumours of DGSE contingents within the country has also become a subject of contention, with the arms bust in Al-Jawf implies their involvement in organizing covert deals. Despite the strong cases from both local and journalistic testimonies, Macron denies any involvement in military intervention.

However, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is more outspoken in his support for the Libyan National Army, especially after the U.S (and their belligerents) blocked them from participating in any future ventures involving NATO. Since then, they have provided the LNA with military assets ranging from heavy weapons to light UAVs. The normalization with President Al-Sisi also enabled them to send out Syrian and Turkish volunteers, crossing through the borders along with their Russian counterparts. Like France, Turkey is concerned with the worsening crises affecting the Mediterranean Sea: Despite being virtually untouched by the Neo-Barbary Crisis, many Libyan refugee funnels to Turkey as they house over 75,000-100,000 people, which already put them under political pressure from domestic opposition.

However, out of all the countries that could’ve sided with France, it seems that Greece is willing to support its advocacy for soft intervention. Initially aligned with the United States’ initiative for a proactive military invasion and opposed Turkey’s frequent traffic across the Aegean Sea, they shifted their disposition when the Neo-Barbary Crisis took place. With its sprawling islands under the threat of squatting refugees and illicit piracy, they find common grounds with both Macron and Erdogan; enough to provoke them into a planned naval exercise with Turkey in 2028.

Despite the support from other countries such as Hungary and Albania, many aren’t keen to stand up with Macron’s approach to the crisis. While you have folks like Baerbock who’ll ramble about the necessities of a “humanitarian intervention”, most are unwilling to alienate the United States due to two reasons: the potential consequence they’ll face similar to Turkey’s and the Novorossiya takeover of Kharkiv. Most members neither have the political will nor the rationale to align with France, especially when the latter seems to have a growing reputation as the next black sheep within NATO.

Saving Libya in the American Way

In tradition to spread freedom and democracy across the entire globe, the United States Congress once again contemplates bombing another country on the farther side of the Atlantic Ocean, this time against Libya to restore the Presidential Council. While the congressional hearing of two Libyan activists won’t be summoned until December this year, the prospects are slowly attracting bipartisan support: President McCallum supports intervening in the civil war during the 2023 Presidential Debate, and Senator Horatio Jabarti lobbies for the authorization to commit military actions since 2020.

The strong ties between the United States and the Presidential Council trace back to 2016 when they decide to rival China’s deal with an unusually generous foreign aid programme concerning mineral exploration, resource extraction, and infrastructure development in Fezzan. It became the only few diplomatic triumphs managed by the United States as it strays the country from its rival’s hands, enabling a government friendly to their interest. According to the 2021 Capitol Leaks, contracts are expected to be given by Freeport-McMoRan and Davison-McLafferty’s and own 53.24% of its shares for deposit extracted.

However, all of their ambitions fell apart when Haftar waged an offensive again Western Libya. The United States refused to recognize the House of Representatives and retaliated by imposing sanctions against him until the previous government is restored. Despite their threats, the House of Representatives seems apathetic and sideline their bilateral ties in favour of other powers such as France and Turkey: both are willing to bear the consequence as they view his triumph as their own.

To this day, the United States has yet to recognize any warring parties within the civil war: They are either perceived as illegitimate pretenders (Libyan National Army & House of Representatives), extremist agitators (Green Army & Islamic State of Libya), or perpetrators of crimes against humanity (Free State of Sabha & State of Hun). Those who don’t consider the following three are either ignored due to the lack of proper communication or because they’re irrelevant in the stage of the civil war.

And in accordance with the Libyan Sanction Act (2020), they isolated the country from even essential sustenance and supplies, which inadvertently lead to a food crisis. However, despite the draconian embargo, their efforts slowly backfire as many looks towards the south for trade, especially with their African neighbours. These findings provoke the fear of a prolonged conflict and probable establishment of safe havens for terrorist organizations; with U.S Secretary Russell Gilligan during his 2022 interview stating that the worsening civil war will pose a grave domestic security crisis if left unabated.

Despite the strong sentiment for military action against Libya, both from foreign allies and bipartisan advocates, the question of when they’re going to launch the operation has yet to be answered. Many asserted that the invasion would occur before 2025, but that has proven false. However, with the upcoming congressional hearing, we should expect any course of action before 2030, assuming if President McCallum could garner enough support to let him win his second term.

We also have to realize that we lack the proper bases to even stage a military operation against Libya. While there are a few installations in countries such as Niger and Chad, they are merely small installations to conduct drone operations. And despite President McCallum’s efforts to convince Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt to allow official use of their territories, all of them refused to toy with such a proposition; citing the failed 2022 Algerian Intervention and the potential humanitarian spillover as their rationale to reject his plea for permission and the concession that follows.

Germany and Spain show their support for military intervention: both necessitate the need for humanitarian intervention to impede the worsening crisis and support the formation of an international coalition. Japan also has become an interesting player since the revision of Article 9: the JSDF provided support in the revival of the defunct Airbase 201 in Niger, usually under the pretense to deter China and uphold international security.

The Twilight of the West

If the sinking of the USS Reagan sliced a tear in NATO’s supposed cohesion, then the current crisis in Libya merely infest it into a blistering wound. It’s a phenomenon that has attracted grave concern from the so-called Atlanticists, especially when China and Russia are becoming more assertive in imposing their national interest. They are rather keen on the call for dialogue and mutual understanding to mitigate it, assuming that the split is merely an operational crisis, and therefore, can be mended.

However, this is a faulty assumption since France is not the only country to forsake common security for their agendas. Germany, despite their rhetoric against Russia during the 2016 Eastern Crisis, continues their venture for gas import and begins talks for a third pipeline as demand grows. This also extends to Russia’s normalization with their Baltic neighbours when President Aleksandr Lomachenko took office, enough for Lithuania to withdrew from the 54th Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise.

And despite the majority support for the U.S’ hard intervention, few seem to be actually willing into sending thousands to their deaths. Spanish Ministry of Defense advocates a similar strategy to those conceived by Macron, especially over the utilization of special forces to support local proxies instead of sending an entire battalion in Libya. This statement contradicts the official accounts made by their executive ministry, causing a minor fallout between the executive body and the Spanish Armed Forces.

We’re witnessing an incoming watershed in their history, and Libya seems to be their gravest challenge yet. It could either mend the organization, uniting its members under Washington’s umbrella, or it could be a massive blunder, proving that Macron is right to challenge the United States and advocacy for a new federal army. Only time will, and the congressional hearing in December will decide whether this is the case or not.
 
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Author's Note

Some of you folks (especially @Eparkhos) might be facing some image error issues lately. I changed the link to make the piece render properly. Hopefully, there are no more lingering issues to deal with. Also, I'm in the process of writing a follow-up piece. I didn't do that for the last one, so I might as well bring it up to the next article.

Anyway, have fun with the map, fellas!
 
[Literature] Character Introduction: Hubert G. Douglas - International Relations Analyst
Character Introduction
Hubert G. Douglas - International Relations Analyst.


Hubert-Douglas.jpg

Hello, everyone. My name's Hubert G. Douglas. I'm an International Relations Analyst, basically someone who figures out the relations between two or three countries. You may know me as the man who wrote TIME's headline article - The West is Red and my recent piece on Libya and NATO. Here, was generously invited by my friend and colleague, ShahAbbas1571, to contribute topics surrounding recent matters, so I thank him for allowing me to write this piece in the first place.

I wrote about a lot of stuff since 1991: I wrote about how Iran's geopolitical strategy and how they outsmarted the United States and Co. over the regional influence of the Middle East (From Cyrus to Khameini), a piece about the optimistic future of West Africa and the role they'll play in the future (The Jewels of the Atlantic), how neoliberal institutions failed to curb down the rising tides of the extreme spectrums of both the right and left in this current political scene (The Noble Failure of Liberalism and Humanism), and how the prospect of authoritarianism is more complex than one might assume (One Man's Tyrant; Another Man's Hero). I also contributed some pieces in the Northern Front and The Mediterranean, lectured in decent institutions such as The Halls of Perspectives.

Anyway, I'll be posting screenshots of my Twitter threads because the link doesn't seem to work here, and I might publish my articles here for free. If you have any questions concerning Libya and developments in IR in general, just ask away! In the meantime, I hope you people have a wonderful time. Goodbye!
 
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Author's Note.

I'm still writing the follow-up for the last two posts. It's a long piece, but nothing I can't handle.

In the meantime, here's one of the first characters I wrote for the timeline: Hubert G. Douglas. I thought using him as a proxy could serve as a fun gimmick, where he details the world from his perspective.
 
Very interesting premise and updates, I just have a few questions

Sorry for the massive delay, my dude. I wrote a draft to address your questions, but it got inadvertently deleted during a clean up over the browser. Anyway, here's what I could provide so far. Better late than never, right?

What caused the radical change in the LNA's nature?

Considering that both Russia and Turkey are more open about their military affairs, I assume that some semblance of professionalization would occur a lot faster. I imagine they sent military advisors to drill militias to comprehend small unit tactics and even help some leaders over operational planning. And I wouldn't be too surprised if Haftar would send a small contingent of his young officers to be educated in military academies in Moscow and Ankara considering his early history as a foreign graduate, and some of them eventually took commanding roles during the offensive.

When it comes to their size, I did clarify that his army is also comprised of foreign mercenaries. And while I didn't mention the local militias, I would imagine they would make up a sizable chunk of his army too. Plus, they formed two new divisions serving as their truly professional formation, while the rest of the brigade was of mixed value. Admittedly, I set the numbers to 80,000 because it's the first estimate that comes to mind. It was later mind-boggling to realize that their numbers are rather low during their recent battles, especially concerning the Western Libya Offensive in 2019. So if I were to rewrite the extent of their numbers, it would've been around 45,000. But I wrote it under the context of personal bias from its author, so I rather leave it be.

Lastly, I used the term professional rather loosely. It's not that they've become a capable and well-equipped force in less than a decade, but the support they've received made them relatively better than the bickering militias to their west. Their only professional core is the two model divisions they recently formed for the offensive since they're expected to receive heavier losses compared to the centre, which is why they're placed on each side of the theatre. I would've contextualized the idea that they're under the process of initial professionalization and most of their army is still incohesive, but that means I'll be wasting more time on their description instead of the offensive itself. So my priorities over the writing lie elsewhere.

How does the LNA sustain itself financially?

IIRC, they can only sell it legally through the National Oil Corporation. There's nothing much that says they couldn't sell through other means, especially when the corporation is pretty much split between the east and west and the fact that they have some history of smuggling oil to countries like the UAE, at least from what I've read. So ITTL, I wouldn't be surprised that the LNA keeps selling it at a lower price despite the UNs condemnation, to the point that their schemes are profitable enough to cover most of their expense. Also, there's an interesting trivia where Nigeria imports more refined oil than it exports, so I would imagine that they would establish an illicit route there too. However, I'm not well-acquainted with the matters of its central bank, which I'll keep in mind in the following future.

Actually, I did cut a section explaining how some of them get paid. In the old draft, I wrote how soldiers in the new divisions received a generous amount of salary. In contrast to the brigades on the centre, they receive token stipends that barely cover their expenses. So this usually resorted them to petty banditry, especially in Pro-GNA areas: They loot every store and house they came across and extort local pedestrians dry. Some of them conjure a scheme of fencing stolen goods, even forcing people to buy their stuff. Haftar pretty much tolerates it since they don't have enough money to pay them adequately, which is why the centre is rather slow and risk-averse compared to the determined and well-motivated divisions. I would've added this since it gives a tragic perspective on the offensive, but since the article is too technical, I scrapped it.

Why does Sarraj refuse to abdicate ?

The creative decision behind this is rather barren, tbh. Other than his wiki page, I don't have much material to work with his character. Hence, his downfall is merely a plot device to make the whole scenario happen, and I wouldn't be exploring much of his role in the timeline anyway.
 
[Map] Khalifa Haftar's Operation Unity - A Follow-Up
Khalifa Haftar's Operation Unity
A Follow-Up

Introduction

As with all for my content, I write a follow-up piece to flesh out the scene, either to elaborate the creative process behind my work or to add some context concerning the timeline. I initially tried to post it a few days after the publication, but as usual, my personal duties forced my hand to postpone it. But that’s all done now, and I’m going to set some interesting trivia I have in mind with this follow-up.

Mapmaking Process

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1.1: One of the two main inspirations for the map.

The first I have to consider is the design, more specifically the aesthetic itself. I’ve been experimenting with maps that illustrate the movements and formations since 2019, but they usually come with mixed results. It wasn’t until my map on Tripoli that I managed to get the hang of it: It was easier for me to convey information about certain conflicts without overwhelming the map with pointless graphical markers and queues.

However, I later struggle to come up with the proper style, at least the one that fits with the description and scale. At first, I try reusing the techniques I implement from my older maps, but the results are underwhelming since it looks grey and cold. There was a certain struggle over whether I should postpone the project or scrap it entirely; something usually ended up considering the latter.

But instead of that, I took to Google for inspirations and design influence and did end up finding some good materials. The first one is a map illustrating the final years of WW2 on the European Front, and the last one is based on the frontlines of the African Theatre. Both of them strike a balance between being technical and visually stunning, so I take the parts that work while discarding the rest. I even added my own spin to some of the designs, especially on the topography where I colour each elevation with different shades of yellow instead of giving it a monotone scheme.

After I was done with the general aspects of the map, I tried to iron out some of the graphical quirks that I thought need tweaking, I also tried to solve the strokes obscuring some of the text, but I retread back since it doesn’t look as good as I thought it would.

Khalifa Haftar and the Civil War

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2.1: Arguably the best shot of him I could find, lol.

Khalifa Haftar is interesting, to say the least. Not in the sense that he’s as whimsical and arbitrary as Gaddafi, but rather how he even managed to climb to power despite the odds. He reminds me of Putin in certain aspects: He rose to prominence when the country was suffering from a great crisis, took advantage of the situation to his benefit, and eventually ended up being the infamous warlord we all know and love today. While the page doesn’t do justice to his multitude of escapades, I highly recommend reading his wiki to learn his exploits.

ITTL, Haftar’s as much of a ghost as Gaddafi. Both of them are haunting legacies of the past that many have yet to reconcile, leading to unexpected consequences that impact the course of the civil war. While his regime lasted for 8 months, it was enough for people to become nostalgic over those brief moments of peace. He is also responsible for many young officers who took part in Operation Unity, who eventually regrouped with the remaining loyalist in the eastern hinterlands.

And this is the first time where I explore his character in this setting, and thankfully so. The entire premise of this project hinges on his unexpected demise and the consequences that follow, so it’s a disservice to leave him as a mere footnote that I could fling around for flavour text. It’s fun to explore the implications of his short-lived regime and how it affects the civil war, especially concerning his near-megalomaniacal policies such as his hastily-developed arms industry and personality cult.

With that in mind, it makes me realize the necessity to flesh out worldbuilding pieces of the premise before 2026. There are a lot of events that are worth exploring, such as the Scourge of Tripoli and the Algerian Intervention. I especially want to dive deeper into Khalifa Haftar’s regime and the nonsense that follow; there’s a lot that he did that inadvertently lead the country to civil strife and eventually civil war.

Conclusion

Well, that’s pretty much it from me. The next post will be about the contents that I postponed for the near future. I think you folks might find it interesting, especially when it fleshes out the politics outside Libya.

Goodbye, folks!
 
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When it comes to their size, I did clarify that his army is also comprised of foreign mercenaries. And while I didn't mention the local militias, I would imagine they would make up a sizable chunk of his army too. Plus, they formed two new divisions serving as their truly professional formation, while the rest of the brigade was of mixed value. Admittedly, I set the numbers to 80,000 because it's the first estimate that comes to mind. It was later mind-boggling to realize that their numbers are rather low during their recent battles, especially concerning the Western Libya Offensive in 2019. So if I were to rewrite the extent of their numbers, it would've been around 45,000. But I wrote it under the context of personal bias from its author, so I rather leave it be.
Funnily enough, assuming the article is written with a Pro-LNA slant, the figures stated in the article would not too far off what the OTL LNA purports it's numbers to be.
The creative decision behind this is rather barren, tbh. Other than his wiki page, I don't have much material to work with his character. Hence, his downfall is merely a plot device to make the whole scenario happen, and I wouldn't be exploring much of his role in the timeline anyway.
I may have been slightly too dismissive of Sarraj in all honesty, he was willing to threaten the stability of the anti-LNA alliance through attempting to diminish Misratan influence on the GNA to solidify his position (while also serving as a middle finger to his influential Minister of the Interior Bashagha).

Out of interest, does the LNA continue to co-opt local militias into its ranks? Haftar's motivation for the Western Libya Campaign appeared to be an attempt to tilt the dynamics of the West in his favour (along with securing a legal source of revenue), rather then actually "liberating" Tripoli. He has showed no qualms in recruiting and granting official positions to the brutal criminal militias such as the Al-Kani's. Keep up the good work!
 
Funnily enough, assuming the article is written with a Pro-LNA slant, the figures stated in the article would not too far off what the OTL LNA purports it's numbers to be.

If you read the title, then you'll know that the author writes for the Northern Front. The website is an exaggerated take on Russia's South Front, and their coverage of the Syrian Civil War is rather sympathetic towards the Syrian Arab Army. The former is basically the LNA's equivalent: They make great coverage on the civil war but just be careful of their commentary and Pro-LNA undertones.

Out of interest, does the LNA continue to co-opt local militias into its ranks?

Most of them but not all. I imagine that there are some who he deems too unpredictable to co-opt, which leads to some forced disbandments and such. Actually, he's in a difficult balance between professionalizing his army and pandering to the militias, especially when he doesn't want to suffer another post-2011 situation.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks, my dude! I mentioned exploring his brief but consequential regime, so I imagine you'll be interested in that.
 
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