Proxy wars in and against Libya which have been fought for eight years between substitutes, is close to becoming a direct war between the original players. Regional and international involvement in the Libyan crisis warns of the transformation of a conflict of “low intensity and tension” into a regional and international hot zone—or perhaps even an incendiary one.
Oil and gas are the keywords to understand what’s happening in and around Libya, and to understand the European divide over this sprawling country and its struggle.
Italy and France have put tremendous effort into supporting their Libyan allies, in order to secure an appropriate share of Libyan oil reserves. It is not just oil, though, that is bringing these colonial powers, past and present, to the forefront of the Libyan crisis. The threat of African migration to Europe is a constant challenge to Europe’s security and stability, which is affecting Germany in particular.
The threat of terrorism, which may have found a home in Libya and a passageway via the Mediterranean, is also another risk to Europeans, pushing them to increase security levels. Russia, for its part, has not been distant from the crisis. As an heir to the dissolved Soviet Union, it is an ally of the defunct Gaddafi regime, and, as a rising regional power today, it is also searching for a “foothold” in Libya. It would, if necessary, give the green light to the Wagner Group – the Russian equivalent of the US’ Blackwater – to send in mercenaries.
The conflicting Arab-regional powers combating in Libya have had, and still do have, a large share of “hard intervention.”
However, the conflicting Arab-regional powers combating in Libya have had, and still do have, a large share of “hard intervention.” There are forces on the ground, in the sky, and across the seas, and there is direct involvement in strengthening Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces or the defense forces of west Tripoli. This is a fact, documented by photographers and media coverage, and confirmed by reports from international organizations, including the United Nations and its Special Representative, Ghassan Salamé.
Oil-thirsty Turkey wants to turn into a global center and passageway for its most important pipelines and routes and is on the prowl for the “aroma of gas” everywhere. Therefore, it could not miss the opportunity to get on the Libyan boat, from the western gate of Tripoli, where the “Islamists” – with their various names and references – manage the capital and the “legitimate government” and also control its destination and direction, under a heavy guise of validity.
Ankara and Tripoli have signed two controversial agreements: The first, a demarcation of the maritime border – ignoring the accounts and sensitivities of participating and partner countries in the Mediterranean basin. And the second, a military security agreement which could put the Turkish army on an advanced front line with Ankara’s regional adversaries – Egypt and other Gulf states.
Ankara considered the maritime border demarcation agreement a “transgression” of what it believed was unfairly inflicted upon it under the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres.
Ankara considered the maritime border demarcation agreement a “transgression” of what it believed was unfairly inflicted upon it under the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, which was considered the final declaration of the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
“Ruled by history,” Ankara has decided to expand geographically, a great distance away from the borders of its Ataturk’s republic. It was also responding from west Tripoli to the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum—a club that was closed in the face of Turkey, in order for us not to acknowledge that it had originally been designed to contain Turkey’s influence and expansion.
The high-level communications, militarily and politically, that we are witnessing today, and the speed with which the Turkish parliament approved these two controversial agreements with Tripoli indicates that Turkey is on the verge of becoming directly involved in Libya, and may be in the process of launching “Operation Peace Spring 2.”
Such an event, if it occurs near the Egyptian border, and in the face of Haftar’s Arab and Russian friends, would cause the region’s crises and the proxy wars in it, to enter a new, more dangerous, more difficult, and far-reaching stage.