Marshal Haftar’s road, which is driven back from Tripoli and western Libya, has opened a new phase in the power struggle in Libya. The most important international players in the conflict, Russia and Turkey, are now at the forefront when they find a way out of the war. And divide the land?
In Libya, where the relationship of power in the conflicts has turned in favor of the camp of the National Union Government (GNA), recognized by the international community, at the expense of the National Libyan Army (ANL) by Marshal KhalifaHaftar, eyes are now turning abroad.
More specifically, against the two main international players in the power struggle in Libya, namely Turkey, whose direct intervention in the conflict, in support of the GNA, has witnessed the failure of the ANL offensive launched in April 2019 in the capital Tripoli (West) and Russia, which less open supports Camp Haftar.
On the ground, government troops had to slow down their progress, after regaining control of western Libya. And to continue its counter-offensive to take back the city of Sirte, a strategic lock to the east and the country’s most important oil installations, still in the hands of the Haftar camp.
On the military initiative, the marshal was forced to give up his ambitions for a long time, even though Libya remained de facto in half. It is in this particular context that the Turkish and Russian sponsors are trying to negotiate behind the scenes for the future of a country with hydrocarbons, but in the grip of chaos since Colonel Gaddafi’s fall in 2011.
Russians and Turks prepare for the aftermathstaples
“Moscow and Ankara are currently positioning themselves for the second phase of the conflict, which opened after Haftar’s failure, and seems interested in finding a compromise, but it is still too early to know what they are preparing and what is their ultimate goal”, explains to France 24, Riccardo Fabiani, project manager at the International Crisis Group.
Despite the complexity of Moscow-Ankara relations, also supporters of rival camps in Syria, and thanks to the cordial understanding shown by President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart RecepTayyipErdogan, the two powers, which have no interest in confronting each other directly in Libya soil, could find a compromise.
“Russia and Turkey have complex relations, as can be seen in the Syrian or Libyan theater of war, but these two powers have close contacts and shared interests, although they differ on certain issues,” Riccardo Fabiani emphasizes. in particular, they organized a summit in January to get a deal in vain, because Marshal Haftars opposes it. “
“There is diplomatic concern and a desire on their part to find an agreement, but there are many uncontrollable parameters, between regional supporters and local political actors, that complicate the situation,” RiccardoFabiani notes.
The internationalization of the conflict does not stop with the Russians and Turks, as Qatar also supports him Prime Minister Fayezal-Sarraj, while Egypt and the United Arab Emirates support Marshal Haftar, not to mention the presence of Western actors such as France or the United States, whose impact is, however, less the Libyan file.
According toEmadBadi, a Libyan expert at the Atlantic Council, interviewed by the AFP, Turks and Russians can “find common ground both politically and militarily, by determining the spheres of influence”, that is, west of Ankara and east of Moscow. Even more so, given the strength of balance, GNA cannot regain control of the entire East of Libya, “France 24, RachidKhechana, editor of Libyan ReviewChououn, and former director of the Center for Studies on Libya.
Unless the two countries agree on a more global and international divide, for example, leave hands free for the Turks in Libya and vice versa for the Russians in Syria. And signs that Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogann has no intention of relinquishing his influence in what was an Ottoman territory until 1912, the media reported close to power on Friday that Ankara could establish two bases in Libya, one southwest of Tripoli and the other in the port city of Misrata.
Marshal Haftar, an obstacle to any hope of peace?
The fact remains that we are still far from an agreement. On Monday, Turkey announced its desire to continue discussions with Russia to try to reach a weapons weapon in Libya, despite the interruption on Sunday of a visit to Istanbul by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his defense partner SergeiChoïgou. A visit was canceled at the last minute and without any official explanation.
According to the Turkish pro-government daily YeniSafak, the terms of the ceasefire proposed by Moscow in Ankara in preparation for the two Russian ministers’ visits were similar to those included in the Libya Peace Initiative proposed on June 6 by Egypt, supported by Marshal Haftar. An initiative that was rejected as a whole by Turkey, more favorable to a cease-fire sponsored by the UN and by GNA.
“The Egyptian initiative is not taken seriously in Libya, especially by those who reject Haftar,” explains Ismaïl Mokhtar, a political scientist based in Tripoli, in France 24. They do not believe that some originate from Cairo, an early supporter of the marshal, and therefore a party involved in the conflict, and then because this initiative first emerged after the ANL adversities, which clearly shows that it is not a peace initiative, but a “Haftar rescue operation”.
With the Egyptian initiative dead, Libyan Rising Fortress will be offered, in the coming weeks, a deal established by Moscow and Ankara, the major loser would be Marshal Haftar.
“There have been many peace conferences for Libya, but none have succeeded since Haftary has stood in the way. There will be no peace in this country as long as it remains in the Libyan political and military landscape,” concludes Ismaïl Mokhtar.