The unlikely war between Egypt and Turkey in Libya

Libyan Army forces attend "Operation Peace Storm" of the Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) against the forces of warlord Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli, Libya on 27 March, 2020 [Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency]

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) forces in Tripoli, Libya on 27 March 2020 [Amru Salahuddien/Anadolu Agency]

Many countries are engaged in what is a complex conflict in Libya, and so some obvious proxy wars are shaping up. For several reasons, Egypt and Turkey are the most involved due to the profound impact of what is happening in Libya on their national security and vital interests.

The Turkish intervention to support Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) came after the signing of an agreement last year for the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries. Turkey wants to secure a greater role for itself in the planned exploration for natural resources in the Mediterranean, and is seeking to weaken the anti-GNA forces of renegade Field Marshal Khalifa, who is backed by Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia, France and even Greece.

The US position on Libya is inconsistent and confused due to the lack of strategic interests. Washington put Libya on the margins of its military and diplomatic efforts, but Russia’s increased involvement in the conflict changed the US position, leading Moscow to impose a limit on its own intervention.

READ: Washington welcomes lift of force majeure on Libya oil exports

Italy supports Turkey and the GNA, while France supports Haftar’s forces and Egypt. Greece’s role in support of Egypt and opposed to Turkey is limited to that of a spectator. Meanwhile, the UAE and Saudi Arabia back Egypt but have different perceptions, as Saudi Arabia goes no further than verbal support while the UAE cannot provide more backing to Haftar, and Egypt has exceeded its capabilities and capacity to do anything.

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1 reply

  1. oil wealth is really a curse … it attracts vultures … from East and West and North and South …

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