THEa France provides intelligence to the Egyptian authorities which are used by Cairo to target traffickers at the Egyptian-Libyan border, and not jihadists as expected, says the investigative online media Sunday, November 21, 2021 Disclose, citing “confidential defense documents” testifying to the misuse of this mission. According to the media outlet, the French intelligence mission “Sirli”, which began in February 2016 for the benefit of Egypt in the name of the fight against terrorism, was hijacked by the Egyptian state, which is using the information to carry out air strikes on vehicles of suspected smugglers.
“In principle, the mission (…) consists of scanning the western desert to detect possible terrorist threats from places in Libya”, using a light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft (ALSR) hired from the Directorate of military intelligence (DRM), written Disclose, specializing in embarrassing revelations for the French armies. “Theoretically, the data should be able to be recovered in order to assess the reality of the threat and the identity of the suspects. But very quickly, the team members realized that the intelligence provided to the Egyptians was being used to kill civilians suspected of smuggling. A drift of which they will alert their hierarchy at regular intervals, ”in vain, continues the online media, despite several blunders in the field.
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France involved in 19 bombings against civilians?
According to documents obtained by Disclose, “The French forces would have been in at least 19 bombings against civilians, between 2016 and 2018”. The DRM and the Air Force are worried about the excesses of the operation, as evidenced by a note sent to the French presidency on November 23, 2017, cited by Disclose : “Due to a lack of means of surveillance, the identification of collections cannot be carried out without any other element of assessment than the initial overflight of which they were the subject. Also, the identification of certain vehicles and prohibition strikes that could be subject to warning ”.
Another note dated January 22, 2019, for the attention of the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, before an official visit to Egypt with French President Emmanuel Macron, reports “proven cases of destruction of objectives detected by the aircraft” english and considers “important to remind the partner that the ALSR is not a targeting tool”. However, no agreement will be signed nor the mission called into question, assures Disclose, which affirms that “the French army is still deployed in the Egyptian desert”.
Florence Parly calls for an investigation
“Egypt is a partner of France with which – as with many other countries – we maintain relations in the field of intelligence and the fight against terrorism (…) in the service of regional security and the protection of the French . For obvious reasons of safety and efficiency, we will not communicate more on the nature of the implementation devices in this area “, replied Sunday evening the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, specifying that Florence Parly had” asked that ” an investigation must be made on the information disseminated by Disclose“.
Despite Paris’ declared desire to refocus its arms exports to Europe, Egypt is one of the main recipients of French military equipment. These sales were reinforced with the coming to power of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2014, mainly between 2014 and 2016 through the sale of Rafale fighters, a frigate, four corvettes and two helicopter carriers. Mistral. President Sissi was received in December 2020 by Emmanuel Macron, who awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, the highest French honorary distinction. This decision, in a country accused by NGOs of violating human rights and using armaments against civilians, had received outrageous reactions on social networks, while Egypt is a key country in many cases in the region. .