UI – Part 651 – Libya’s Chaos
Developments in Libya are worth some understanding. Note, these developments are confusing as well. After Ghadafi’s demise, the Benghazi-Clinton (Hillary) disaster, and militant political divisions attempting to establish their rule, Libya remains in turmoil. ISIS factions are training in the vast desert areas. France and Turkey are trying to intervene, but with different objectives in mind. Neighbor Egypt is involved. Even Russia. In the latest war of words the week of July 1, 2020, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of “criminal responsibility” in Libya while Ankara slammed France’s “destructive” approach.
Turkey supports the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA)(Sarraj’s government). GNA is fighting rebel strongman Khalifa Haftar. France is thought to be supportive of Haftar, as well as Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates also support Haftar. At the same time France claims they are neutral in the conflict. Not really!
Turkey has little in terms of energy resources, which is not the case in Libya, thus the attraction to Erdogan to gain access to Libya’s oil and gas. The area focused upon lies in the Mediterranean. The geopolitics involve control of the Mediterranean.
Turkey’s Criminal Irresponsibility
Turkey has been accused and it has become known they are providing arms to Libya as well as moving Turkish troops into the area. That is a concern, and considered overt and irresponsible. There is an ‘embargo’ on arms and certain materials to Libya, and Turkey is in violation.
High level advisors, Erdogan admits, have been provided. In addition a few hundred troops from Ankara are on Libyan soil as well as an estimated 3,500-3,800 Syrian mercenaries. This is not a joke, there are apparently Syrian mercenaries.
The Nordic Monitor (www.nordicmonitor.com) in April 2020 reported, “A Turkish intelligence officer and retired colonel who had extensive knowledge about links between the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and radical jihadist groups was most likely sent to certain death in Libya in order to eliminate a key witness to the crimes of the Islamist government in Turkey.” Erdogan has been reported to have, or have had, relationships with Al Qaeda in Libya.
In 2016 an agreement among parties established a policy to protect Libya from becoming a campground for terrorists, or a platform for other nations to expand their own territories. NATO is the policeman, yet is not doing the job. Macron, President of France, feels strongly that NATO is favoring Turkey, and overlooking actions being taken by Erdogan to gain a greater foothold in Libya.
Turkey has problems with conservative and religious groups growing, even gathering in Libya. He prefers pushing his (Erdogan’s) Islamist agenda, as he is also doing in Turkey itself.
Who is the legitimate Libyan government? Whoever it is has the potential to control the oil resources in Libya, resources that France and Turkey both desire. France at one time had a colony in Libya, which at that time provided them access to these essential energy resources. France would like to maintain their interests. Turkey wants that to change. Where are the Libyan’s in all this?
From Wikipedia, “The Government of National Accord (GNA) is codified in the Libyan Political Agreement signed on 17 December 2015 at a conference in Shkirat, Morocco. This agreement has been unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council which has recognized that the Government of National Accord is the sole legitimate government of Libya.” But is it the ‘sole’ and is it ‘legitimate’? I guess much depends on your respect for the UN and NATO. It was formed as an ‘interim’ government. Yet a rival parliament was formed, and conflict began. The Libyan House of Representatives sides with the GNA. The General National Congress opposes. It is confusing but persons in the House and General Council support the GNA and oppose the GNA. It is not unified. Political, tribal and ideological lines of division are a constant. Thus the makings of a civil war. The factions: a divided Libyan government, anti-Islamist groups (Tripoli), Islamist groups (Misrata), and the internationally backed (NATO) Libyan House of Representatives (Tobruk Government). Such a mess Erdogan sees as an opportunity, and a concern for France.
Stabilization of Libya
France and Russia seem to seek a more stable Libya. Sectarian overtones exist in this desire. Finding a government with a common ground for the various factions is not easy. Recently Egypt’s al-Sisi warned of possible Egyptian military intervention in Libya should Turkey gain ground there. From ahramonline.com, “The Egyptian move comes in response to calls by the Libyan parliament speaker, Libya’s House of Representatives.” This is not from the (UN recognized) GNA. During a speech (6.28.2020), El-Sisi warned forces loyal to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli not to cross the current frontline with Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of rival Haftar in the East, whom Egypt supports. Egypt’s concern: The risk of terrorist militias from northern Syria crossing the border from Libya into Egypt and the possibility of Turkey gaining a foothold in eastern Libya close to Egypt’s western border and setting up military bases. (Read more).
Russia, Egypt, Sudan, and France are resisting Turkey, backing Haftar and not the NATO sanctioned GNA. As recently as June 26 Russian mercenaries protected Libya’s largest oil field (Sharara field). To control this oil, it appears, is to control the Country. No oil production, thus no revenue to the GNA. What is the objective? Is Russia wanting less oil from Libya so as to bolster their own production, along with OPEC? Every party involved has their own reason, but the consensus appears to want Turkey/Erdogan gone. Has a fire been lit under this Libyan caldron that may soon result in this stew of interests reaching a boil?
What about Russia aiding Turkey with regard to Syria, and now opposing Turkey with regard to Libya. That story is still unfolding.
The End Game
How this multiplicity of interests will be resolved is currently unknown. I feel strongly Turkey should exit and leave the indigenous population to resolve matters. That will not be easy, but the 3rd party elements with selfish desires can only create more conflict. Turkey’s selfish desire has to do with energy.
The Middle East and associated entities provides fodder for many discussions. Majority Muslim nations are not unified. To the extent some have a more singular voice the sword of the Islamist in charge all too often falls on the necks of dissenters providing a false picture. In my view until the Apostasy Law of Islam is eliminated and freedom, independent thought, and common sense is permitted, to be experienced by the presence of freedom of religion (other religions), the disunity in the Muslim world will remain as a characteristic of Islam itself.
Grace and Peace