Dec 16 (1/1): Erdogan’s Adventures in Libya

Rundown: Turkey made a pact with the Government of National Accord (GNA) which holds Tripoli but little of the rest of territorial Libya as compared to their opposition, the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Gen. Haftar. This pact Turkey is making is basically to dominate the eastern Mederanean, ostensibly for energy development and pipelines in the sea, though Turkey has larger designs and Libya holds enormous strategic importance in the area in addition to exploitable natural resources of its own. As part of the pact, Turkey indicated a willingness to send troops to Libya if asked, despite international sanctions against Libya, and, ultimately, Turkey did just that, in the form of equipment and troops.

As per usual, it seems Turkey as been exporting terrorists to the situation which Erdogan now seeks to exploit.

Ahval: Mercenaries arrived from Turkey to Libya’s Misrata, says LNA spokesperson

The spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) has said that “a number of foreign terrorists and mercenaries” arrived on Friday at the country’s Misrata airport from Turkey.

“The terrorists arrived via the Libyan Wings Airline, owned by Islamist militant Abdelhakim Belhaj, to join Fayez al-Sarraj militias in their fights against the LNA,” Libyan Address Journal quoted Khalid Al-Mahjoub, spokesperson of the LNA’s Tripoli Operations Room, as saying on Saturday.

The claim arrives amid a string of accusations against Turkey of funding and arming Islamist factions in Libya fighting on the side of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Of course, at this point, everyone accuses everyone else of being terrorist. Erdogan, however, has a long track-record of using militant jihadis in this way.

As usual when a conflict makes the news these days, we discover all sorts of other countries have had their grubby paws all over it for some time now. Mostly middle eastern nations like Turkey and Qatar, but also Europe.

I mean, the Russians are all over it, obviously—it’s what they do.

Al Jazeera: Libyan officials cite evidence of Russian mercenaries in war
Libyan and US officials accuse Moscow of deploying private contractors to key battleground areas for General Haftar.

“Russian influence has done only two things: inflate their size and spectre of their power in Libya. They’re not positively engaged or trying to play a constructive role with diplomatic or political value.”

Oh those whacky Russians.

“Putin would like nothing more than to keep Europe busy and divided over Libya, scared of illegal immigration, paralysed by right-wing populism that threatens the very idea of the EU,” said Mohammed Eljareh, an analyst who runs Libya Outlook, a consulting company on Libyan affairs.

And, of course, everyone else seems to be crawling around Libya too.

Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the GNA receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.

So, subsequent to the new maritime pact with Libya, Erdogan has announced Turkey’s willingness to enter more fully the war in Libya.

So it’s going to be a total mess.

South Front: Is Libya the New Syria?

The GNA is currently defending from an offensive that the Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar that began on April 4th, 2019 and is on behalf of the Libyan House of Representatives, located in Benghazi. Russia is one of the LNA’s supporters.

Erdogan claimed that the call for Turkish forces may be in response to the alleged presence of the mythical Russian mercenaries the “Wagner Group.”

“You know that Russia has the Wagner group. Russia sent these security forces to Libya. If Libya asks us for military support (especially after signing an agreement on military cooperation), then we will send a sufficient number of our people in the same way.”

The Wagner Group is a favorite topic of MSM and it is typically tied to Russian businessmen Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is its alleged founder and allegedly runs the PMC. Prigozhin has repeatedly said that he has nothing to do with the so-called Wagner Group and that there’s no such thing.

“I wish that the matter of Haftar would not create a new Syria in our relations with Russia,” Erdogan said.

Greece is also unsatisfied with the agreements Turkey signed with the GNA.

So this agreement between Libya and Turkey pisses off almost everybody, not just Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt. Although the ability of some of these states to compartmentalize is substantial.

Anyway, Turkey promptly started moving military equipment in, though with at best mixed reviews.

Then came news that additional military cargo Turkey was sending in had, well, been blown up.

But those tactical hiccups do not appear to have deterred Erdogan from his larger plans for the conflict.

The Guardian: Turkey renews military pledge to Libya as threat of Mediterranean war grows
Ankara ready to defend government in Tripoli in latest policy to inflame tensions with US, EU, Greece and Middle East countries

The threat of a military clash in the Mediterranean has drawn nearer following talks in which Turkey has underlined its willingness to send troops to Libya to defend the country’s UN-recognised government.

Such a move would risk a direct military confrontation with General Khalifa Haftar, the eastern Libyan military warlord who is thought to be planning a decisive assault on the government of national accord in Tripoli, or GNA. Either the UAE or Egypt, which are supporting Haftar’s forces, might also become involved.

Turkey, already at loggerheads with the US Congress and EU on multiple fronts, last week signed a military co-operation agreement with GNA that enables it to request troops from Turkey. The agreement, sent to the Turkish parliament on Saturday, provides for a so-called quick reaction force for police and military in Libya, as well as enhanced cooperation on intelligence and defence.

That whole piece is a really good run down of everything up to about now.

But anyway, it looks like Turkey is all in.

But beyond that, Libya has been such a mess for so long, it’s hard to discern what immediate effects this is having, even with the increased focus people are giving the conflict.

He’s right. (“Technicals” are those pick-up trucks with big guns in the back.)

But we know it’s bad. It’s, like, guys getting drugged up and running into combat bad.

OK, doing a handspring into battle has a certain panache. But yeah, this is bad.

So Turkey has expanded its efforts for territorial domination of the eastern Mediterranean and general region. Success here gets Turkey both possession of the energy resources in the area and its distribution, but also the Gateways to Europe, control of which is what Erdogan in turn holds as political leverage over Europe to force their acquiescence to his plans.

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