It became clear that Turkey’s position calling for a political settlement of the Libyan crisis and its warning against any military adventure by Haftar against the legitimate government in Tripoli intersected with the positions of countries that were until recently the most prominent supporters of Haftar’s aggression against it in April 2019.
It also clearly shows how the Turkish position coincides with the efforts of Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha. To pull the rug from under Haftar and neutralize the countries that support him in the aggression by extending bridges of relations and cooperation with these countries, which has begun to bear fruit recently.
A strict Turkish response
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar warned Haftar and his supporters on December 27 in front of a number of his forces in Libya against any attempt to target the Turkish forces, adding: “Let the criminal Haftar and his supporters know that we will consider them a legitimate target everywhere after every attempt to attack our forces.”
In a military parade marking the Independence Day in Benina, Benghazi, Haftar called on his militias to confront what he described as “Turkish colonialism” and to resist it until they leave Libya or die.
The strict Turkish stance that warns Haftar of any military operation he wants to carry out is consistent with the positions of three countries that were supportive of Haftar, namely Egypt, Russia and France.
A different French role
The French position has changed drastically, and it rejects any military attempt that threatens the ceasefire. After Haftar’s speech on the anniversary of independence, the French Foreign Ministry called on all Libyan parties to support political dialogue, refrain from carrying out any hostile actions, and focus on forming a new government. There is no military solution in Libya, and implementation of the ceasefire agreement should be the priority.
The French statements came after the visit of Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, to Paris last November, during which he met with the foreign minister, “Jean-Yves Le Drian”, the interior minister “Gerald Darmanan” and the minister defense, “Florence Parly”.
During his visit, he signed memoranda of understanding to enhance security cooperation, especially in the areas of training, border and coastal security, as well as an agreement to purchase helicopters and biometric systems for use in security and civil purposes.
Egyptian rapprochement with the GNA
In the same context, a major change appears in the Egyptian position, after the visit of the Egyptian delegation, which included officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Intelligence, headed by the Undersecretary of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, and the head of the Egyptian Committee concerned with the Libyan file, Major General Ayman Badai ‘in the first visit of an Egyptian delegation to Tripoli since 2014, they met Some of the leaders of the reconciliation government, headed by Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, to discuss ways to support the ceasefire agreement, and the outputs of the 5 + 5 committee; And support for the UN efforts on political dialogue.
After this visit, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called Foreign Minister Mohamed Sayala. To confirm the results and dialogues presented by the Egyptian delegation, also Bashagha visited Cairo last November at the invitation of the Egyptian government, to discuss cooperation and common challenges facing the two countries, to enhance joint cooperation on the security level, and to unify efforts, to confront the threat of terrorism and organized crime.
Resentment of the Emirati role
Egyptian media reports said that the visit of the Egyptian delegation to Tripoli, came as a result of Cairo’s dissatisfaction with the Emirati move, to incite Haftar to a new war in Libya.
The Italian newspaper “De Post International”, citing Egyptian sources, revealed a new orientation of Cairo’s policy towards the reconciliation government aimed at preventing the UAE’s incitement to Haftar on a new military adventure.
The newspaper added, in a report it published entitled “Libya from military threats to the resumption of relations,” that the Egyptian authorities seem angry with the Emirati policy recently, especially with the emergence of the Emirati role in normalization with “Israel”, which threatens the historical role of Egypt.
The newspaper said: The Egyptian rapprochement with Tripoli counts many points that made the Egyptian Emirati interests in Libya contradictory, and Cairo’s fear of reducing Egypt’s historical role in the Libyan file.
Former Egyptian diplomat, political analyst and researcher in international relations Tariq Diab said in a statement to Al-Jazeera that the disagreement between Egypt and the UAE came; Because of the UAE’s attempt to control the scene, indicating that Egypt was rejecting zero-battles as this was impossible, unlike the UAE.
The “Mada Masr” news site quoted sources – not disclosed – that the visit of the Egyptian delegation to Tripoli was due to Egypt’s desire to “move in advance against more Emirati incitement on a military adventure.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last December that his country and Egypt are seeking to define a roadmap regarding their bilateral relations, explaining that communication with Egypt at the intelligence level continues to strengthen relations, and dialogue is based on the level of the two foreign ministries, indicating that there are efforts to move, according to the principle There is no conflict in international forums.
Cavusoglu added that there are contacts with figures from the eastern region in Libya, and that the Special Representative of the Speaker of Tobruk Parliament visited Turkey, and before that, the Speaker of Tobruk Parliament, Aqila Saleh, intended to send his deputy to Turkey, but this visit did not take place.
Russian rejection of war
The Russian position in support of Haftar through the Wagner mercenaries has also changed, as it seems, clear signs of this change were evident, and was represented by Moscow’s welcome of Foreign Minister Mohammed Sayala, last December.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that his country is looking forward to “stabilizing the ceasefire in Libya despite some violations.” Moscow also extended an official invitation to Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha to visit it in January.
Moscow’s recent statements come after a meeting between Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu in “Sochi”, where the two sides agreed to “continue to fully contribute to the normalization of the situation in Libya through comprehensive dialogue between all the main political forces, in addition to that Tripoli’s release last December of the two Russians, who were arrested in May 2019; On charges of espionage.