Operation Odyssey Dawn, the war Nicolas Sarkozy wanted more than anyone else, began on March 19, 2011, after an “international coalition” of UN, EU, US and Arab countries met in Paris. It started dropping Tomahawk missiles on some 20 Libyan targets. Italy made seven military bases available. But Sarkozy was the first one to target Libyan government forces.
Was Gaddafi’s fall instrumental to cover up the Libyan funding of Sarkozy’s electoral campaign four years earlier? It’s a legitimate question, after Sarkozy was taken into police custody, pending an investigation into allegations his collaborator Claude Guéant had taken €5 million from Libya between the end of 2006 and the start of 2007.
Sarkozy first dragged the UK and US into the war, then Italy — in agreement with President Giorgio Napolitano, the Democratic Party and Berlusconi, who then authorized Italian bombings. The former French president craved the war. Hours before the first missile launch, he had already ordered French jets to hit Libyan tanks — to the joy of Libyan rebel forces, watching the attack on Qatar’s TV Al Jazeera.