The risk of a clash between Turkey and Egypt in Libya is becoming more tangible
This post was published in Krasnaya Vesna. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
MOSCOW, (BM) – The confrontation between Egypt and Turkey has reached a critical point, writes Ilya Polonsky, a journalist of the Military Review, in his article.
Currently, Turkey continues to build up military forces in Libya. At the same time, Khalifa Haftar, against whom the Turkish troops are fighting, said that he intends to completely expel the Turkish military from the country. Thus, the tension between the sides increases and approaches the critical point.
Recently, the Government of National Accord (PNC) of Libya, which is supported by the Turkish army, has been concentrating more and more forces in the Sirte region. The city is again becoming the decisive venue for the confrontation.
Resources supporting the PNS report the possibility of sending the S-400 air defense systems recently delivered by Russia to Turkey to Libya. Observers have called such a move by Turkey provocative and unlikely. But if the Egyptian army joins the fighting in Libya, the situation will radically change. The journalist believes that despite the fact that the Egyptian army is qualitatively inferior to the Turkish armed forces, Egypt seriously wins due to its location and logistics.
In recent months, a number of PNS military victories over the Haftar army have been associated with the presence of the Turkish military in the country. The Turkish military were spotted in the area of Al-Vatiyya air base, recently recaptured from Haftar supporters. The observer suggests that now the Turkish military will be fixed at the air base.
Since the beginning of summer, Turkish military aircraft have already completed 27 flights to Libya. Turkish Airbus A400M military aircraft deliver to Libya weapons, equipment and mercenaries whom they recruited in Syrian Idlib. An agreement on military cooperation between Turkey and Libya (PNS) was signed at the beginning of July, and now Turkey is officially deploying ground forces, air defense and UAV command in Libya.
The observer says that Turkish anti-aircraft systems MIM-23 Hawk, which were attacked by airplanes of the United Arab Emirates on July 5, have already been deployed at Al-Watiyah airbase.
At the same time, Egyptian troops are on alert and show determination to intervene in armed conflict in the event of active hostilities by the PNS and Turkey. The Ministry of Defense of Egypt announced the conduct of land and sea maneuvers “Decision 2020”, the purpose of which is designated “the destruction of mercenaries and terrorists on the Libyan border.”
Thus, Egypt is concentrating more and more armed forces on the border with Libya. On July 9, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said that Egypt would not tolerate the approach of militants from Libya to its borders.
At the same time, Turkey claims that since Turkish air defense systems were destroyed at Al-Vatiyya airbase, it will continue to attack Sirte and Al-Jufrah.
Thus, the risk of a military clash between Egypt and Turkey on Libyan territory is becoming increasingly tangible. The military observer recalls that this is no longer the first in the history of the military confrontation between Turkey and Egypt.
February 15, 2011 in the Libyan city of Benghazi, during the so-called “Arab Spring”, riots broke out, quickly spilling over into the beginning of the civil war in the country.
On October 20, Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was killed.
On October 23, the main phase of the war ended. The death toll during the civil war exceeded 50 thousand people. The official power in Libya finally passed to the opposition National Transitional Council (PNS), created by the opposition.
The overthrow of Gaddafi did not lead to peace in Libya. The civil war continued permanently, conflicts were torn by the country between various rival Islamist groups and tribes.
On July 7, 2012, elections were held in the Libyan parliament – the General National Congress.
On February 14, 2014, General Khalifa Haftar announced the resignation of the Libyan government and the dissolution of the General National Congress.
May 16, Haftar announces the start of a military operation against the Islamists in Benghazi. So begins a new large-scale civil war in Libya.
On June 25, elections were held in the new Libyan parliament – the House of Representatives of Libya. Parliament moves to the north-east of the country in the city of Tobruk.
On November 6, the Libyan Supreme Court, located in Tripoli, invalidates the parliamentary elections and announces the dissolution of the Libyan House of Representatives. Parliamentarians do not recognize court decisions.
Libyan civil war in 2020
In Libya, armed clashes are currently taking place between supporters of different leaders. The country is led by the Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Saraj, the “eastern government” led by Abdullah Abdurrahaman at-Thani.
The eastern government is supported by the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar.
Recall that January 13 in Moscow, negotiations were held between the heads of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalif Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA) Faiz Sarraj. Also present were members of the Foreign Ministries of Russia and Turkey.
On the meeting the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has notified Russia about the conditions for continuing negotiations on the signing of a peace agreement in Libya.
According to the requirements of Haftar, the militias operating in Libya are required to surrender weapons in the period from 45 to 90 days. This process should be controlled by a special commission created by the LNA together with the UN
Haftar also refused to recognize Turkey as an intermediary in resolving the situation in Libya, since the Turkish side is not neutral and supports the Government of National Accord (GNA).
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