Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya had economic relations with France, because Southern Europe is the ideal importer of Northern Africa’s raw materials. But there was also traditional rivalry between the two countries, because Colonel Gaddafi did not like France’s great influence over North Africa. One of the thorns in the French-Libyan relations was that Libya wanted to annex the rich in uranium Aouzou Strip at the Libyan-Chad borders.
France imports most of her uranium from North Africa, and France and Gaddafi were at the opposite sides during the wars between Libya and Chad and during Chad’s civil war. Libya managed to annex the Aouzou Strip in 1976, but Chad’s army pushed the Libyan army away in 1987, I guess with French support too.
Map 1 Aouzou Strip
I guess that Gaddafi was not happy with the French present in Niger either. France gets most of her uranium from Niger.
It is not a coincidence that when in 2011 the Arab Spring broke, the French were the first ones to attack Gaddafi. Sometime before the attack, during his public appearances in Libya, Gaddafi was saying that he had given money to Sarkozy, and that Sarkozy was a retard.
The alliance between Gaddafi, Berluskoni and Putin at the time definitely played a role in France’s decision to attack Libya. It was the time that Berluskoni and Putin had agreed on the South Stream Pipeline, and the Italian ENI would get a larges take in this project. The Italian public is ENI’s largest shareholder. Now things have changed, because the South Stream Pipeline has been cancelled, and it was replaced by the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. In Nord Stream 2 the Russians gave a stake to the French (ENGIE) but they left the Italians out (ENI), and the Italians are not very happy.