Politics /

Speaker of the Libyan House of Deputies (parliament), which is based in the northeastern port city of Tobruk, Agila Saleh, has alluded to the possibility of inviting the Egyptian army to directly intervene in Libya.

“We will do this if Turkey makes a full deployment of its troops in our country,” Saleh said on January 12 in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

In a gesture of major symbolism, Saleh, 75 and the speaker of the Tobruk-based legislature since August 2014, co-presided over a session of the Egyptian parliament.

He said Egyptian state institutions had been actively working to find a solution to the crisis in Libya since the North African state descended into chaos after the downfall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011.

Fears

Egypt, Libya’s eastern neighbor, has become a main party to the crisis in the country, given the huge impact the unrest in the North African state is having on Egypt’s security.

Egypt, which battles a branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Sinai, has stood at the receiving end of the smuggling of arms and militants from Libya.

This is why it throws its full weight behind the Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls most of eastern, southern, and central Libya and is now in a new drive to control Libyan capital Tripoli and the northern city of Misrata.

Turkey

Saleh’s allusion that his parliament might invite Egypt to directly intervene in Libya comes a short time after Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declared that his country had already sent troops to Libya, in the light of a security cooperation memo signed with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in late November last year.

The reality is, however, that most of those sent to Libya by Mr. Erdogan were Syrian mercenaries, some of them arrested by the LNA.

Turkey also signed another memo with the GNA for the delimitation of maritime boundaries between Turkey and Libya, even as the two states do not share maritime boundaries.

A ceasefire sponsored by Russia and Turkey started coming into effect from the early hours of January 12.

Nevertheless, the LNA sticks to the areas it liberated from GNA control in the past days, including the northern city of Sirte. It is not known whether the LNA will go back to the pre-April 2019 lines as the GNA demands as a condition for maintaining the ceasefire.

Alarm

In Egypt, preparations are in full swing for any emergency on the joint border with Libya or in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Egyptian army is now conducting a full-scale drill, codenamed ‘Qadir 2020’. The training brings together all divisions of the Egyptian army. It also includes a rare amphibious landing along the Mediterranean coast. This is latest in a series of military drills Egypt is conducting intending to raise the level of preparedness among its troops for any emergency, especially from Libya.

Egyptian parliament Speaker, Ali Abdel A’al, was probably very clear on the length his country is willing to go to defend its security against what is happening in Libya and Turkish involvement in the country.

Political solution

Abdel A’al said his country does not prioritize military solutions over political solutions.

“Nonetheless, Egypt has a power to demonstrate if its national security is threatened,” Abdel A’al said.

Egypt, he noted, repeatedly warned against applying military solutions to the crises in Syria and Libya.

He said his parliament had previously invited all parties to the Libyan crisis to meet in Cairo and find a negotiated settlement to the conflict in their country.

Abdel A’al lashed out at GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj for signing the security cooperation and maritime boundary delimitation memos with Turkey.

“These memos are a flagrant violation of international law and the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council,” Abdel A’al said.

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