More complications appear in the Libyan crisis with possible new directions. The most prominent indicators of the new directions are the sudden rapprochement between Egypt and the GNA, followed by the visit of the GNA Foreign Minister to Moscow, which raised concern about the government’s tendency to solve the Libyan crisis.
Analysts believe that the GNA is seeking to gain a Turkish-Russian-Egyptian cooperation, to draw a roadmap that could prevent an explosion in the country, especially after the mutual threats between Turkey and the forces of G. Khalifa Haftar. Others believes that the Turkey-backed government is looking for alternative support, as Ankara’s presence in Libya is rejected by the US and EU.
On January 2, an Egyptian security delegation held talks in the Libyan capital Tripoli and met with the Interior and Foreign Ministers of the Accord government for the first time since 2016.
The GNA Foreign Minister, Mohammad Al-Taher Siyale, has also visited Moscow at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss the latest developments in the political and military situation in Libya.
Gaining Russian Support
The visit to Moscow coincided with the talks about solving the crisis concerning the two Russian citizens held by GNA security services, who were released three weeks ago.
In the context, Omar Anwar, a Libyan journalist, believes that Siyale’s visit to Moscow came within the GNA attempts to gain Moscow’s support, in order to prevent the explosion of the situation in the country and to guarantee a political solution and elections, backed by Russia. The journalist indicates that the GNA has realized that any political solution will not be accepted by Turkey, that in contrary intends to escalate the situation.
Anwar points out that this visit came at a critical time, with a breach of truce and a return to war in the vicinity of Sirte, especially as tensions escalated due to the Turkish tone and military position that call for the expelling of the army from the oil regions.
Anwar conforms to MENA Research and Study Center that the recent Turkish moves demonstrate the unwillingness of Erdogan for a political solution, as he continues to intensify the Turkish military presence in Libya, and this reveals Ankara’s desire to follow a bone-breaking policy against Haftar forces.
It is worthwhile that Turkish Defense Minister Khulusi Akar heading a military delegation visited Libya a few days ago, following the threats of the retired General Khalifa Hafedh to Turkish forces in Libya, and calling his fighters to expel Ankara’s troops out of the country.
Last month, the Turkish parliament has approved a resolution of extending the presence of Turkish soldiers in Libya for another 18 months.
In addition, the GNA concluded a ceasefire agreement in November with the forces of Haftar, to put an official end to the fighting and prepare for elections at the end of this year.
However, GNA pointed out a few days ago in a speech in Benghazi, that confrontation with “the Turkish colonizer” is looming and that there would be no peace under the colonialization and Turkish presence on Libyan soil.
The Egyptian security delegation’s visit to Libya was pre-planned, according to the political analyst Khalil Fahed, who confirmed to MENA Research and Study Center that the Russian foreign minister’s invitation for Syiale was revealed even before the Egyptian delegation’s visit to Tripoli.
Fahed points out that the Egyptian delegation’s visit coincided with the Turkish presence in Tripoli, considering that the visit has three indications. First is a confirmation of compliance with the red line that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke about; second is a proof that Cairo is open to all parties in Libya, the third an Egyptian-Russian coordination to save the region from war, which impacts will not be confined to the Libyan lands.
The Egyptian President has previously confirmed that foreign interventions in Libya have contributed to building safe havens for violence and terrorism, stressing during his visit to the western military region in Marsa Matrouh Governorate, that any direct intervention by the Egyptian state has international legitimacy, asserting that the GNA violations in Sirte and Jufrah regions are a red line for Egypt.
Cairo’s new position is based on the famous saying, “there are no permanent friends but permanent interests.” Egyptian analyst Amjad Mustafa says that “Egypt’s rapprochement with the GNA does not necessarily mean that Cairo will abandon its strategic ally, General Haftar, as it is currently the most important card. Egypt will likely open up to other parties, whether in the eastern region or in Tripoli and Misrata.
Mustafa considers that the retreat of Haftar’s forces and the visit of the Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, in which some Egyptians saw a provocative movement, is what pushed the Egyptians to search for other partners, so that the strings of the game do not slip through their fingers.