At the London summit of 2 November 2010, France decided to pool defense assets with the British, who depend on the United States.

It was France, the United Kingdom and the United States who submitted to the UN Security Council the text which was adopted as resolution 1973, establishing a no-fly zone over Libya.

This initiative must be understood in two ways:
First, vis-à-vis public opinion at home Barack Obama could not afford to take on a third war in the Muslim world after those in Afghanistan and Iraq, where his country is still mired. Washington thus preferred to delegate this operation to its allies.
Secondly, acting on behalf of U.S. interests favourable to the "special relationship" between London and Washington, Nicolas Sarkozy’s priority since the beginning of his mandate has been to bring French and British defenses closer together. He achieved this through the defense agreements of 2 November 2010 and found in the Libyan crisis an opportunity for joint action.

With France’s reinstatement in NATO’s integrated command, voted on 17 March 2009 and ratified at the Strasbourg-Kehl summit of 3-4 April 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy abandoned the principle of an independent French defense.
Through the Treaty of Lisbon, of which he claims to be one of the principal architects, Sarkozy had already forced the European Union to forego any form of independent defense and to rely permanently on NATO.
A half-century later, his policy consecrates the triumph of the European Defence Community (EDC) principle, historically opposed by the Gaullists and the Communists.

Under the pretext of implementing economies of scale in times of crisis, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy dismantled the latest gains by the nationalistic gallo-communist front and concluded two treaties.
The first one provides for increased co-operation as well as the pooling of materials and equipment, including aircraft carriers. Above all, it establishes an ad hoc Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, composed of 3 000 to 3 500 men, subject to deployment, with notice, for bilateral NATO, EU or United Nations military operations.
The second treaty calls for industrial and research-development projects. In particular, it envisages the pooling of technologies for nuclear laboratory tests. This implies that the French nuclear deterrent will no longer be independent, while the British deterrent is under U.S. control.

To launch the Franco-British expeditionary force, the competent ministers of both countries, Liam Fox and Alain Juppé (Minister of Defense from 14 November 2010 to 27 February 2011) planned a large-scale joint air exercise codenamed Southern Mistral, scheduled to take place from 21 to 25 March 2011,

The peculiar Air Operations Command logo: the gladiator does not protect the bird of freedom, but entraps it in his net instead.

It should feature "Composite Air Operations and a specific air raid (Southern Storm), delivering very long range conventional strike. Over 500 personnel will contribute to this bilateral exercise", according to the Southern Mistral website edited by the Air Defense Command and Air Operations.

"Six Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s, one tanker Vickers VC-10 and one Boeing E3D will be deployed together with French Air force Mirage 2000Ds, 2000Ns and 2000Cs operating with a fleet of around thirty aircraft including helicopters, Boeing tankers and Awacs radar aircraft (...)
Simultaneously, Paratrooper Commando Air 20 (CPA20) will receive its British counterpart in Dijon: the RAF Regiment. Together they will train for air base protection missions on operational theatres in compliance with what is achieved today in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, RAF Regiment members will train in Captieux to helicopters’ air policing measures. These specific procedures are implemented on a daily basis by the Quick reaction Alert FAF air defence helicopters to intervene against “slow movers”, further specifies the official

This exercise was to be directed by Generals Desclaux and de Longvilliers (France), air Marshall Garwood and air commodore Maas (United Kingdom).

Coincidence or by design? Be that as it may, what was launched on 19 March 2011 was not an exercise but the real operation in application of UN Security Council resolution 1793. Only France, the United Kingdom and the United States participated in the first day of the operation. Pending the enlistment of other NATO member states and the constitution of a coalition command, all operations are being coordinated from AfriCom Headquarters in Stuttgart (Germany) by U.S. General Carter Ham. Naval forces - including Italian and Canadian vessels that are joining the area - and the tactical command have been placed under the authority of U.S. Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, on board the USS Mount Whitney. All that in accordance with NATO’s precooked preparedness plan [1]. We are far from the official rhetoric regarding the French initiative, but squarely within a logic of subservience, as described above.

The French component of the operation has been denominated Harmattan, after the dry and dusty wind that blows across West Africa.

Its British counterpart is called Operation Ellamy.

But "Odyssey Dawn" applies specifically to the U.S. component, so that everyone understands that it marks the dawn of a U.S. odyssey in Africa [2]. It is important here to note that, contrary to the soothing and misleading speeches by Atlanticist leaders, Resolution 1793 is couched in terms so vague that it may authorize the landing of colonial troops in Libya. Indeed, the ban "excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory" does not apply to the creation of the no-fly zone, but only to the operations of civilian protection (§ 4). This point was raised by the Russian and Chinese Ambassadors to the Security Council who received no response, hence their abstention during the U.N. vote [3].

During his press briefing at the Pentagon on 19 March, Vice-Admiral Gortney explained that the U.S. missile strikes were intended to shape the combat operations theater for allied operations.

For the first day of Harmattan, the French forces deployed the equipment which was to be used in the Southern Mistral exercise as well as the two anti-aircraft and air defense frigates (the Jean Bart and the Forbin) stationed offshore from Libya. They seemingly destroyed four armoured tanks. On their side, the Anglo-American forces used a Trafalgar class British submarine and eleven U.S. battleships - including two destroyers (Stout and Barry) and three submarines (Providence, Florida, and Scranton) - to launch 110 guided Tomahawk missiles.

This military operation could endure if the Libyan forces oppose a resistance. At all events, the logic at play should lead to the situation which had prevailed in Iraq between Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom: a de facto partition of the country between loyalists and rebels.

[1Press conference by Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Libya, by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Voltaire Network, 10 March 2011.

[2On the manipulation of the Libyan crisis and U.S. designs on Africa, read "Proche-Orient : la contre-révolution d’Obama", by Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, 16 March 2011.