Libyan Tribes Create Competition between Egypt, Algeria

More Algerian fear a possible violent conflict, as Egypt tends to arm Libyan tribes and bring them into conflict, whereas Algeria wants the tribes to have a role in formulating a political solution by pressuring the Libyan parties to sit at the negotiating table, ending the fierce war in Libya.

The statements made by Algerian President Abdel Majid Taboun in his last TV interview suggest that there is a big “gap” between Algerian and Egyptian positions. “Such initiatives will turn Libya into a new Somalia,” Taboun said.

“We recently saw an attempt to engage Libyan tribes in the conflict, and this is very dangerous”, Taboun said in a sharp tone.

The Algerian President declared his rejection of the separate state decisions and imposed the de facto policy as he said: “We will not support any individual decision. Countries cannot make initiatives alone and then ask for Algeria’s. This is not possible. Our response to those, who ask for our support is: did you ask us before taking any steps?”

Observers have linked the statements of President Abdel-Majid Taboun with the sudden visit postponement of the Speaker of Libyan Parliament Tobruk Aqila Saleh to Algeria. It was scheduled early last week, and he was expected to meet President Abdel Majid Tabun, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sabri Bogadom and Parliament Speaker Suleiman Shanin, to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan conflict, especially after the latest Egyptian move in arming tribes and intervening in Libyan affairs.

On the other hand, the Command of Algerian Army has denied false statements attributed to the Chief of Staff, Shanqriha, which were published on Arab websites, announcing Algeria’s support for Egypt in the event that could cause a war against Turkey in Libya.

A statement issued by the Algerian Ministry of Defense, on July 30, describing these news as “rumors and fake news, aimed at causing confusion and directing the public opinion to line up behind suspicious agendas. Those do not serve the honorable endeavor and the consistent position that Algeria has always taken towards the situation in Libya. That position was stressed on by the President of Algeria on many occasions“, the statement said. The Army Command stressed that “Algeria stands at the same distance towards all parties of the Libyan conflict and calls for a serious dialogue that leads to a political solution.”

Negotiation Card

In a statement to MENA Research and Sturdy Center, Ahsan Khalas, a journalist and political analyst explains the Algerian fears of arming Libyan tribes. He says that such a support could pave the way for a civil war, turning Libya into another Syria. Such a scenario would let the situation get out of control, where Algeria’s mediation endeavors will no longer be useful.

The analyst notes that the consequences of arming Libyan tribes that extend across the borders to the neighboring countries would be dire, especially for Algeria, which has Arab Al Shaabna tribes (the most famous and largest tribes of the Algerian desert and the most numerous and powerful, occupying a large area of the Algerian desert) in addition to other tribes in the provinces of Ouargla, Wadi Souf, and Touareg.

He believes that due to this situation, the Algerian army could remain on alert along the border strip.

In a related context, Akram Khraif, an expert in military and security affairs, explains to MENA Research and Sturdy Center the reasons for Algeria’s refusal to push Libyan tribes into the war. He says that arming those tribes may open new crossings, from which terrorist groups deployed in North Africa can dispatch arms. Moreover, Khraif stresses that Algeria wants to use Libyan tribes – most of which are neutral- in negotiations and not in war.

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