Hulusi Akar’ın Almanya Ziyareti Ne Anlam Taşıyor?

Geçen hafta Almanya’yı ziyaret eden Türkiye Savunma Bakanı Hulusi Akar
Alman meslektaşı Karrenbauer tarafından hem büyük bir nezaket hem de siyasi
olarak “kulağa hoş gelen bir söylemle” karşılandı. Türkiye’nin NATO’nun çok
önemli bir üyesi ve aynı zamanda Almanya için çok önemli siyasi ve ekonomik
bir ortak olduğunu ifade etti.

Son yıllarda Alman ve Türk siyasilerin birbirlerine karşı sert söylemleri ile ‘’Berlin
ve Ankara’daki sağır kulaklar’’ artık tam anlamıyla ortadan kalkmamış olsa da,
Almanya halen Türkiye’nin AB içindeki ‘’avukatı olma’’ rolünü devam ettirmeye
devam edecek gibi görünüyor.

Türkiye’nin son yıllarda icra ettiği başarılı askeri operasyonların Almanya
tarafından çok yakından takip edildiği ve başta Silahlı İnsansız Hava Aracı (SİHA)
konusunda Türkiye’nin geldiği teknolojik seviye en üst noktaya gelirken, Alman
ordusu tarafında, halen, SİHA’ları envanterine katıp katmama konusunda ortak
bir kanı oluşmadığı görülüyor. Türkiye’nin on yıllardır en önemli silah ve
teknoloji tedarikçisi olan Almanya’da, son aylarda Türkiye’ye yönelik var olan
olumsuz yaklaşıma rağmen, Alman Koalisyon Hükümeti pragmatik bir yaklaşım
ile Türkiye’ye hem askeri ambargo konulmasını önlemiş hem de Türkiye ile
birçok bölgesel sorunda benzer yaklaşım içine girmiştir.

Almanya ile Rusya arasındaki ilişkilerin bir kriz doğurması ihtimali artarken,
Türkiye ile Rusya arasında askeri ve siyasi ilişkiler, Yukarı Karabağ savaşında da
görüldüğü gibi, son on yılda iki ülke arasındaki kompartımanlaştırılan konular
içinde işbirliği alanı dahilinde değerlendirilen bir gelişme olarak görülmektedir.
Almanya’daki siyasi ve ekonomi elitlerinin Türkiye yaklaşımı çok gerçekçi bir
noktaya gelmiş bulunmaktadır. Savunma Bakanı Akar’ın Almanya’dan neler
talep ettiğini bilmiyoruz. Fakat Almanya’nın, Türkiye’nin Rusya’ya daha fazla
yakınlaşmasını istemediği bilinmektedir.

Joe Biden yönetiminin Türkiye yaklaşımı da çok önemli olacaktır. Bu nedenle
Washington-Berlin-Ankara ekseni oluşacağı öngörülebilir. İngiltere’nin AB’den
ayrılması, Avrupa Savunmasında önemli bir boşluk oluşturmuştur. Türkiye’nin
oluşan bu ‘’boşluğu doldurma arzusu’’ Ocak ayı başında Cumhurbaşkanı
Erdoğan tarafından AB Büyükelçilerine verdiği yemekte ifade edilmiştir.
Temel soru ise şudur? Bu yıl Eylül ayında yapılacak Almanya genel seçimlerinin
sonucunda kurulacak yeni Hükümet, Merkel politikalarını devam mı ettirecek
yoksa yeni bir yaklaşım mı benimseyecek? Beklenti, Almanya’nın Bismarck veMerkel tipi bir ‘’realpolitik ve pragmatizm’’ yaklaşımlarını birlikte devam
ettirecek olmasıdır.

Sonuç olarak, Türkiye’nin son yıllardaki Suriye, Libya ve Doğu Akdeniz’de
sergilediği askeri başarılar Türkiye’yi bölgesinde çok daha güçlü bir konuma
getirmiştir. Alman mevkidaşı Karrenbauer’in Savunma Bakanı Hulusi Akar’a
Türkiye’nin her zaman Almanya’ya güvenebileceğini söylemesi Ankara
açısından iyiye işaret olsa da, sorun Almanya’nın bunda ne kadar samimi
olduğudur. Şimdi test edilmesi gereken Almanya’nın samimiyetidir.
Önümüzdeki günlerde yapılacak NATO ve Mart ayındaki AB toplantısı bu
testlerin yapılacağı toplantılar olacak. Bekleyip , göreceğiz.

Visits: 516

Libya’da Seçimlere kadar Yönetecek Geçici Konsey Seçildi

Libya’da taraflar arasında anlaşma sağlandı ve seçimlere kadar yönetecek geçici konsey belirlendi.
Birleşmiş Milletlerin girişimi ile İsviçre’de toplanan Libya Siyasi Diyalog Forumu (LSDF) üyeleri
yaptıkları seçimle Başkanlık Konseyi Başkanlığına Muhammed Menfi’yi ve Başbakanlığa da
Abdulhamid Dibeybe’yi getirmiştir.
Libya Siyasi Diyalog Forumu, 11 Haziran 2015 tarihinde 22 katılımcı ile BM öncülüğünde Fas’ta
toplanarak hazırlık döneminde yol haritası belirlemek için oluşturuldu. Bunlar özetle;
– İlk aşamada, Milli Mutabakat Hükümeti ile Tobruk’ta bulunan Temsilciler Meclisi arasında
diyalogu başlatmak ve İki kutuplu çatışmayı önlemek,
– Sonrasında Merkezi hükümetin kurulması ve anayasanın hazırlanması için yol haritası
belirlenmesi,
– Geçiş dönemini takip eden 60 gündeyse Merkez Bankası, Denetleme Kurulu, Yolsuzlıkla
Mücadele Kurumu, Yüksek Seçim Kurulu, Anayasa Mahkemesi gibi bağımsız devlet
kurumlarının tesisi öngörülmektedir.

Visits: 47

“Turkish Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty”

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim KALIN was a guest of todays’ webinar where
Turkey’s strategic position against the European Union(EU) and its’ relationship as an entity
with each one of the European countries like Greece and France, or the Greek Cypriot
Administration of Southern Cyprus was discussed. As we know, Turkey plays and has a crucial
role within the international system due to its’ geopolitical location, economic capacity along
with its immense military power. Along with Turkey, Greece is also one of the main key actors
in this regional framework giving an additional importance to our bi-relations and multi-lateral
relations which should not be neglected or ignored by our decision-makers. In addition, like
Mr. KALIN highlighted very correctly; Turkey has a great traditionally rooted cultural
background which carries some similar characteristics in common with the Greece. Both
countries have a similar culture shaped by the historical events mainly caused by the Byzantine
Empire and the Ottoman Empire both ruling on the same soil since they shared borders, islands
and parcels over the years. However, these common shares resulted with certain disputes to
occur which as a result lead to sanctions.

Turkey has been working for decades to become a full member of the European Union
to achieve certain economic and strategic advantages. Despite the fact that the official
negotiations started in 2005, the EU countries did not approve and vote for Turkey to reach a
conclusion in its efforts to become a member of this union. Primarily because of Germany,
Austria and Belgium which are considered to be the locomotive countries within the EU,
Turkey’s EU membership process developed and proceeded inefficiently nearly coming to a
breaking stage. Furthermore, due to the impact of events in history, Greece has slowed this
process as much as possible by provoking the EU against Turkey and following certain policies.
Today, one of the new reasons contributing to the conflict woven historical relationship between
Turkey and Greece was caused by the treaty called “Exclusive Economic Zone Agreement”
which was declared between Turkey and Libya. As a result; every time Turkey sends an oil rig
to find oil in the Exclusive Economic Zone; Greece in return immediately informs the EU to
enforce certain sanctions against Turkey. The official response to this comes immediately from
the Presidential Spokesman Mr. KALIN who officially gives an answer like “we do not accept
any sanctions and inducement of EU by Greece.”

However; including the locomotive countries mentioned above the majority of the
European Union countries with no exception always produce excuses with the final aim of
preventing Turkey from becoming a full member of the club and putting certain barriers on the
road to leading to the full membership in the EU. A good example to this would be “the Customs
Union Agreement”. Turkey with the expectation of getting and enjoying the privileges granted
by the Schengen Visa as a result of the “Schengen Agreement” signed in the city of Schengen,
ended up with “the Customs Union Agreement”. This agreement had an end effect on behalf of
the EU enabling the EU to improve its’ wealth and capacity of trade. As we can see the EU
mostly broke the promises it gave to slow down the process. The bottom line is; like Helmut
SCHMIDT who once formulated in his memoirs; The EU officially does not want to enlarge
its borders towards the middle east region and become neighbors with especially Iran, Iraq and
Syria. Becoming a full member especially meant that the EU would have to take the full
responsibility of the security of the borders of Turkey as well as economically and socially. We
can see that very clearly from the events which take place every day for the past few years.

This article written by Yaşar Bora Togo

Visits: 514

The effect of the Libyan Civil War on the relationship between France and Italy

After the Muammer Kaddafi is overthrown in the year 2011; the rival groups’ desire of
obtaining power by controlling the lands and oil resources of Libyan have been increased and
it caused a civil war in Libya. In this process, France and Italy are two of the main political
actors that work for gaining foreign political interests by using the outcomes of the civil war
in Libya. After the elections done in June 25, 2014; the second civil war erupted, and two
independent governments occurred in Libya which divided the state in two regimes. One of
them is called House of Representatives which placed in the far east of the country; Tobruk
and headed by Aguila Saleh Issa. Therewithal, the government against it which is named as
Government of National Accord is established under United Nations through mediation of
Italy and by the guidance of the Libyan Political Agreement that signed on 17 December
2015. Then, on March 30, 2016 the Government of National Accord came to Tripoli with 18
ministers under the leadership of Fayez al-Sarraj. Thereby, the conflicts and disagreements
between two governments has been officially started. The results of conflicts and recent
developments that emerge during the civil war can be easily influenced by the economic and
politic competition between these two countries: France and Italy.
On the side of France, the policies that are implemented during the war can play the
key role about having the control over the Africa’s coastal region by using Mediterranean’s
strategical location and gathering the countries like; Chad, Sudan and Niger which are
neighbours of Libya and under a political sphere to achieve two-staged population area.
That’s why France Government continue to support the Caliph Hafter by increasing its’
diplomatic actions about military and economy in domestic and international level. In
addition, we can show as an example the fact that they gave antitank missiles which made by
United States to Hafter in July 2019. Besides to military and financial aids they did, the armed
struggle that they went into against the Government of National Accord had caused the
French government to reconsider its policies against this civil war. On the other hand, the
Italian administration evaluates the situation under geopolitical reasons by highlighting Libya
is a neighboring country to Italy and the country being the only country where Italy maintains
'private' relations among North African countries. Due to these reasons, Libya has a crucial
role in Italy's foreign policy in terms of economy and security. Italy has been the most
affected European country by the civil war, as it invested heavily in Libya, including in the
energy field. Due to the important role of Italy in Libya, the Macron government aims to

strengthen its relations with Italy in order to achieve its strategic goals. In addition, the
relationship between the two countries has gained importance to eliminate the problems that
emerged in the Rome due to the French stance on Libya and to fill the strategic leadership gap
in the European Union (EU). Although the Italian government has implemented a partial
balancing policy against France, the civil war in Libya has been a key factor in emerging a
strategic and economic competition between Italy and France.

This article written by Yaşar Bora Togo

Visits: 232

Turkey and Libyan Crisis

Two Main Rival Factions

Like most of the Arab nations in Arab Spring of 2011, protests also broke out in Libya, a geopolitically important state in the international arena because of its richest oil reserves in the North Africa. Eventually these protests led to a civil war and the death of the leader, Muammar Gaddafi by NATO airstrikes but it was not the end. After the death Muammar Gaddafi, violence escalated again and the second civil war erupted in 2014 because of the proliferation of armed groups in the country. The second civil war is mainly among two rival factions; Marshal Khalifa Haftar who was appointed by the parliament of Libya, House of Representatives in 2014 with only an 18% turnout and relocated to Tobruk and the Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, the leader of Government of National Accord based in Tripoli, the capital of Libya which officially recognized by the UN as Libya’s legitimate government. In addition, both of the factions have foreign supports like; Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and France support the House of Representatives and the United Nations, Western powers including the United States but mainly Turkey, Qatar and Italy support the Government of National Accord. On the other hand, these instabilities resulted in the collapse of the state’s economy and oil industry.

Turkey and Second Civil War of Libya

Foreign powers intervened in Libyan civil war because of their strategies and economic concerns and interests and flooded this country with weapons and drones in spite of UN arms embargo. Turkey, as a foreign power in this conflict has also its own ideological and political reasons to support the Government of National Accord to increase its political and economic dominance in the region. One of the main ideological reasons is that this faction is related to the Muslim Brotherhood because in the past Turkey reportedly supported a Libyan Islamist group named the Justice and Construction Party with close ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, to gain a foothold in the GNA which opposes a threat to other Arab countries such as Egypt and UAE. In addition, as Mediterranean Sea is geopolitically important for the regional states, by signing a Maritime Boundary Treaty with GNA, Turkey established an exclusive economic zone in Mediterranean Sea which enables this country to claim rights to ocean bed resources which contain vast gas reserves. According to the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu in an interview with local broadcaster 24 TV, Turkey signed this agreement to preserve the rights of Turkish Cypriots and to protect its interests in the continental shelf, while the legitimacy of this agreement have been disputed by a number of states including European Union, Cyprus, Egypt and Greece because it does not comply with the Law of the Sea and it violates the rights of third states.

Unfortunately, in spite of several diplomatic meetings and agreements on cease fire and truce among the two rival factions of the Libyan conflict and the foreign powers, the conflict has not been de-escalated enough.

This article written by Aida Farrokhpour

Visits: 55

CHANGING BALANCE IN LIBYA WİTH TURKEY MOVES

Libya, which cannot be shared and important country in the world due to oil reserves, is a
major part of the agenda today with the constant change of balances in the region. In Libya,
which is in the 8th place in the world in terms of oil reserves, an authority gap occurred after
the overthrow of Gaddafi. On one side of the The Tripoli-based Government of National
Accord (GNA) which supported by the Government of Turkey and the United Nations, the
other side’s  Libyan National Army (LNA) which is supported by Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
and France. Both sides want to be active in the region in order to dominate Libya and get a
share of the reserves. However, they can also gain their interests in Syria. The changes in the
balance situation in the region were as follows; In 2018, Russia tried to gain the upper hand
with Wagner, a private company, sending military and weaponry aid to the region. In this
process, the treaty proposals from the National Consensus Government were rejected.
Later,Turkey sent troops to Libya, with the agreement made between the Government of
National Reconciliation with Turkey. At the same time, the military training and equipment
support provided by the Turkish armed forces ensured the protection and strengthening of the
Tripoli region. The Libyan National Army’s inability to dominate the Tripoli region caused
the ropes to stretch within itself and was interpreted as changing balances in the international
community. Secondly, actors who did not want to get involved in the chaos in the region had
to determine their sides and wishes with this unexpected move. Thirdly, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates provided financial support and gained earning from the region. This
situation and their inability to dominate the region caused them to have a dispute among
themselves, especially with Russia.
All in all, competition environment and confusion have increased due to the rapid changes in
balances and the increase of actors who want to be effective in the region. It seems that the
Libya issue will continue to be discussed internationally and an agreement will be reached.
We will be able to see whether this will be successful or not with future events.

source: Nihat Ali Özcan- Milliyet

This article written by Esma Kaya

Visits: 242

The Goal Must Be A Unified Post-Conflict Libya: What To Do Next?

Source: www.uikpanorama.com

By Mehmet Öğütçü

 

The cards in Libya have been reshuffled after General Haftar suffered a string of military defeats, with his forces ousted from the Tripoli region, thanks to Turkish support on the ground. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Haftar had accepted a ceasefire but there is still skepticism over whether this (apparently aimed at gaining time) will hold.

While there are many other actors active in Libya, Russia and Turkey figure more prominently than others as the players most engaged on the side of their respective allies. One possible compromise between Ankara and Moscow on Libya could possibly be part of their bigger picture bargaining, encompassing the Syrian conflict, Black Sea troubles and bilateral agenda of energy, defence, tourism and trade expansion. However, both sides seem to agree to disagree due to the sharp divergence of strategic interests.

***** ***** ***** *****

Clearly, it is in nobody’s interest to keep Libya divided as favoured by some of the regional neighbours which desire to have a geopolitical clout in their immediate neighbourhood. The common interest is to achieve a lasting political settlement and economic reconstruction in Libya -without further delay by halting the painful 9-year old civil war- which is at the economic and strategic crossroads of three continents.

In light of Russia’s strategic gains in Syria, the US feels the strong urge to engage more actively in Libya to deny Moscow another military stronghold in the Mediterranean.

External actors have indeed exacerbated Libya’s problems by funneling money, mercenaries and weapons to proxies that have put their own interests above those of the Libyan people. UN efforts to broker peace have failed and been overshadowed by competing peace conferences from Moscow to Berlin sponsored by various foreign governments. There is need for an all-embracing and creative fresh initiative.

The Libyan conflict is clearly viewed as part of strategic moves to control the country’s rich oil and gas resources as well as to redefine the maritime borders of some Mediterranean countries. It involves the projection of political and military power, with most spending on the Mediterranean energy projects (not so attractive in the current international energy realities on the ground) seen as protecting maritime borders and investing in future national defence.

It is only through the constructive intervention of a major power or willing coalition of powers including those in Libya’s neighbourhood that the peace efforts can be realistically revived for practical “win-win” outcomes.

Why Libya is so important

The future of Libya is important for all players, regionally and globally, viewed from their own narrow strategic interests, but more importantly than anything else for the Libyan people itself. Below are some reasons why Libya matters greatly:

First, its unique geography. Libya is a country in the Maghreb region, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. It is of strategic importance as a gateway to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Second, facing Malta and Italy in its proximity and France, Greece and Turkey, Libya is critical for ensuring European security. It can also play a crucial role in containing the growth of terrorism. The possibility of Russia gaining strategic stronghold in Libya is a cold shower to the Europeans and Americans who saw what happened in Syria where Russia enjoys privileged access to a naval base and an airbase in the strategic locations.

Third, Libya serves as a bulwark against the tide of migrants and refugees from Africa and North Africa. There are about 650,000 migrants and refugees in Libya, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa. Armed groups, including extremists such as ISIS, have proliferated and the country has also become a principal transit point for people from across Africa who want to reach Europe.

Fourth, Libyan energy resources, particularly oil, arouse the appetite of many outsiders. ENI currently controls almost half of oil and gas production fields. Total wants to enter. So do a number of other players given that oil reserves in Libya are among the largest in Africa and ranking the tenth largest globally with 46.4 billion barrels giving Libya 77 years of reserves at current production rates. It also provides gas to Italy via a pipeline under the Mediterranean.

Fifth, Libya was a very lucrative market in the pre-civil war era; many countries and companies are now vying for a larger share of the reconstruction opportunities that will arise in the post-conflict Libya.

Who wants what?

As things stand, Libya is not only divided between the internationally recognised government, the General Hafter forces and some autonomous tribal groups. There is also a sharp polarisation of global and regional powers involved in the ongoing conflict.

In recent years, Libya’s conflict has turned into a proxy war, with a number of foreign powers joining in to defend ideological and economic interests. Al-Sarraj’s administration is backed by the UN and Western powers including the US, but mainly relies on Turkey, Qatar and Italy. Haftar enjoys the support of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and France.

The challenge is how to bring together these external and domestic contenders towards achieving a peaceful, secure and prosperous Libya. It is also critical to avoid further division which will create security risks to European, African and Mediterranean nations while damaging prospects for post-conflict energy development and commercial interests.

***** ***** ***** *****

There are critical geopolitical, commercial, and maritime issues involved in Turkey’s supporting the only UN recognised government in Tripoli. Turkey is the only NATO ally which holds the ground in Libya and does not allow Russia and other non-regional actors to have a free-ride. Co-operation between Ankara and Tripoli has shifted the balance of power in the Libyan Civil War, in the words of Ahmed Maiteeq, the Libyan deputy prime minister. Turkish military commanders and intelligence officers appear to have a decisive say in the operation center at the Mitiga military academy near Tripoli at present.

Without Turkish engagement Libya could have fallen into Russian sphere of influence, thus giving rise to a Russian belt in the Mediterranean Sea facing Europe, North Africa and Africa. Fortunately, Erdogan and Putin have developed personal rapport to manage serious divergence of interests as seen in Syria. General Haftar had been winning the war to take control of Tripoli until Turkey forcefully intervened with fresh deployments of advanced drones, anti-aircraft batteries and intelligence support, slowly turning the tide of the battle. Ankara is therefore a critical actor in any Libyan settlement to reckon with.

***** ***** ***** *****

Kremlin’s strategic goals as a wise chessboard player remain an open secret if you judge what Moscow has been trying to achieve in a vast geography from Southeast Europe, Ukraine, Georgia and the Caspian to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Chiefly, there are two main goals that drive Russia’s policy in Libya: First, expanding its presence in the Mediterranean Sea as a top priority for Russia’s regional strategy since the days of the Russian Tsar, and secondly, monitoring NATO and jihadism, as well as safeguarding its military, economic and energy interests.

The Russians are determined to fill in the strategic vacuum left by the US and the Europe. Look at Russian actions in this divided country which are no different from what we have been witnessing in Syria. Russia has created a strong military footprint in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean and wants to continue the same path in Libya.

For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. The accusations by the US come at a pivotal point in Libya. The Soviet Union maintained a constant navy vigil in the Mediterranean during the Cold War but Russia’s presence in the region withered in the years after the 1991 Soviet collapse amid economic woes and military funding shortages. The Head of the Russian contact group on intra-Libyan settlement, Lev Dengov, revealed that Haftar asked Russia to build a military base in the country’s east.

***** ***** ***** *****

The US warned European nations growing increasingly friendly with the Kremlin that a Russian presence in Libya could pose a long-term security challenge by potentially giving it the ability to curtail military actions by other countries in north Africa. If Russia manages to obtain air or naval base rights on Libya’s coast, it will create very real security concerns on Europe’s southern flank.

While the US State Department and the Pentagon have vocally supported the UN-backed government in Tripoli, the White House has repeatedly if half-heartedly sided with General Haftar in the conflict until recently. However, following Haftar’s latest defeats and rapprochement with Moscow, even the White House appears to be distancing itself from him.

The US released surveillance imagery purporting to show Russian aircraft operating in Libya to support mercenaries of the Wagner Group. Washington has accused Russia of deploying a dozen of MiG-29 Mikoyan and Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jets in eastern Libyan bases used by Wagner to provide air support to tip the scales in the north African country’s civil war in favour of Haftar.

***** ***** ***** *****

The UAE-Turkish rivalry — rooted in a battle for dominance of global Muslim religious soft power; geopolitical competition across the Muslim world, including the Middle East and the Horn of Africa; and fundamentally opposed attitudes towards political Islam – has escalated military confrontations and complicated, if not disrupted, efforts to resolve conflicts in Libya and Syria. Yet, it is unrealistic to see Turkey, a regional powerhouse, and the UAE on the same scale.

There is no clear understanding of the UAE rationale to punch above its weight in Libya. The UAE has significantly aided Haftar with air support and advanced weapons. Saudi Arabia has reportedly supported Haftar with generous funds, and Egypt has provided his forces with weapons and support through its porous border with Libya.

***** ***** ***** *****

Whether we like or not, neighbours must bepart and parcel of any Libyan settlement by virtue of their common borders. Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria as other neighbours are careful to remain neutral in Libyan, thinking of the risks of heavy involvement in the affairs of a neighbour without knowing in which direction the winds might blow down the road.

Libya turned into a failed state following the fall of Muammer Gaddafi, whose overthrow in 2011 was aided by a NATO-led bombing campaign. Weapons proliferated in the rebellion’s aftermath despite an embargo. Recently, NATO expressed readiness to give its support to the government of Tripoli, also known as the Government of National Accord.

***** ***** ***** *****

The European Union has been split, with France despite repeated protestations of neutrality seen as preferring Haftar and former colonial power Italy the GNA, with the EU largely watching from the sidelines. The EU has struggled to find a unified approach to the crisis in Libya, despite the country’s proximity to its shores. Its inaction has increasingly left Turkey and Russia to call the shots in Libya – though their attempt to broker a long-term cease-fire has not achieved any result.

Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, sees stabilising the country and control over its hydrocarbon resources as a matter of national security. It bet on the al-Sarraj government to secure its interests. Migration is another concern; Rome last year renewed a controversial migration agreement with the GNA.

The French are worried about the terrorist infiltration from the southern borders of Libya into Chad and Niger where its forces are vulnerable to attacks. France is widely thought to provide Haftar with military assistance; French missiles were found at an LNA base last year, but the government has denied supplying Haftar with weapons.

Messages

What’s happening in Libya is a reflection of the tectonic changes in world geopolitics where the power is shifting and there are attempts to re-engineer the regional balance of power.
There are signals that we may be nearing towards a settlement on Libya. All efforts in this direction should be geared towards ending domestic hostilities and preparing Libya for the post-war political settlement and economic reconstruction. There is a need to achieve cessation of hostilities between Sarraj and Hafter while at the same time keeping external forces in check.
Reviving Libyan hydrocarbon industry, even at this time of production cuts and low prices, is a priority given that the country needs revenues for paying salaries, infrastructure and debts.
Libyan oil and gas are worth their weight in diamonds. Current level of oil production is at 91,108 barrels a day whereas it stood at 1.7 mbd before the shut-down. The Sarraj government has announced that a political solution can help Libya regain this level within only a few weeks.
Not only politicians, diplomats, generals, international mediators and intelligence officers should seize the opportunity in Libya but also business groups must be fully engaged in conflict resolution efforts so that the country will be ready for much-needed post-conflict reconstruction.
There is recent talk of Russia and Turkey, which back opposing sides in Libya’s wrenching war, finding a deal over the Libyan conflict that would leave the West as bystanders. Such a scenario would be a replay of Russia and Turkey’s alliance on Syria, where despite being on opposing sides of the conflict they have worked closely together to find a solution to the civil war, causing unease in the West.
The US, the EU and Libya’s neighbours are other prime players to be on board for supporting an end to the Libyan crisis, but Washington can and must take the lead in mobilising its NATO and regional allies (UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and hopefully NATO ally France currently supporting Hafter) for a definitive solution in the country so that Libya should not be another Syria in the waiting.
Last, but not least, the future of Libya must be decided by the Libyan people, no matter how divided they may be and not the external powers which promote the proxies to gain political and commercial stakes.

Visits: 113