Who and what does Paul Soler, Macron’s special envoy to Libya, do.
Emmanuel Macron, through his special envoy to Libya, Paul Soler, has chosen a more pragmatic strategy to mark the return of Paris to the Libyan table.
In fact, since March, Emmanuel Macron’s discreet “Mr. Libya” has returned to the front line to manage this strategic file for France. Problem: the security of the Mediterranean basin.
Diplomatically, France scored points with the organization, on 12 November, in Paris, of the international conference on Libya, prepared in advance by Paul Soler. The main contractor of French politics in Libya had a lot to do to force the return of Paris on this crucial geostrategic question. Especially since two foreign actors weigh their full weight on the Libyan chessboard: Turkey and Russia.
Ankara and Moscow have in fact strengthened their influence in the country through the presence on the ground of the Turkish military forces and through the Russian paramilitary company Wagner. For its part, the European Union (EU) is struggling to speak with one voice while Paris must establish calmer relations with the Libyan transitional government.
Having long supported Khalifa Haftar, the Elysée is now considering different scenarios. Since the start of the electoral process, Paul Soler has multiplied discussions with the main candidates: Abdulhamid Dabaiba, Fathi Bachagha, Khalifa Haftar, Aref Ali Nayed, etc.
The special envoy also took part in the latest meeting of the joint military committee known as 5 + 5 in Tunis, whose goal is to bring the army together. But the game is not going to be easy.
Paris therefore appears to have instructed Paul Soler to reconsider his position towards Khalifa Haftar.
His last visit to the French capital, where he has been received multiple times, was in March 2020. His chances of winning the elections are mathematically low, which is why Khalifa Haftar may cling to an alliance with candidate Fathi Bachagha, former minister of the who would also be able to work synergistically with the president of parliament Aguila Saleh.
However, according to many observers, France has not completely revised his approach. And it continues to model its strategy on that of the United Arab Emirates.
Indeed Paul Soler has long been the leading figure in Paris of this Libyan policy still loyal to Abu Dhabi. And by consecrating him as a special envoy for Libya in early 2021, the Macron presidency has shown that loyalty to the UAE remains an immutable reality.
Despite his proximity to the marshal, the Elysée has always ensured that he did not support Haftar militarily. Paris had organized the La Celle-Saint-Cloud conference in July 2017, then a new meeting in 2018. No tangible results.
For France, support for Haftar has also achieved the goal of stemming the rise of Al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia, favored by instability. Indeed, Paris through the Directorate General for External Security (DGSE) had provided intelligence support to Khalifa Haftar. So why this project failed
The problem is that the Haftar card worked well on paper, but Libyan specificities were not sufficiently taken into account. Tribal alliances have been neglected, as evidenced by the failure of the conquest of Tripoli.
But who exactly is this advisor
Army commander of the 13th Parachute Dragon Regiment (RDP) specializing in intelligence collaborated with the Armed Staff and the Special Operations Command (COS) and was on site during the operation in support of the people’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 He also returned in 2016 when the government of the national accord of Fayez el-Sarraj was installed.
But above all, he has already managed the Libyan file from 2017 to 2019 as an advisor to the private staff of President Emmanuel Macron. The absence of his name in the Elysée organization chart had aroused some perplexity. Paul Soler was then commissioned by the head of state to define the French political line in Libya, together with the African adviser of the Elysée, Franck Paris, and the former diplomatic adviser, Philippe Etienne.
In contact with various local actors, Paul Soler had multiplied the appointments on the ground at the time. The rapprochement with Haftar then created dissent with the French ambassador to Libya, Brigitte Curmi. This one, which had favored discussions with the Tripoli authorities, will be replaced in July 2018 by Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen.
In 2020, Paul Soler was appointed first advisor to the French ambassador to Jordan. A departure due to the failure of his mission in Libya
It is probable. We will now see concretely if Paris will be able to stem the Turkish and Russian presence.

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