One year after the start of a new round of clashes between the eastern and western parts of Libya and the second year of military operations, retired General Khalifa Haftar appears to be aiming to take control of Tripoli. The scope and dimensions of the military conflict in Libya are widening. Tripoli has entered a new phase in terms of quality and quantity between General Haftar’s forces and the forces of the National Unity Government, headed by Faez Siraj.
At this stage, not only equipment and tools such as drone bombers and advanced semi-heavy weapons are used, but also Turkish military advisers have started new activities in support of the government of Tripoli (Faez Siraj); Activities that have resulted in the expansion of Faez Siraj’s control over some towns and settlements in the north and west of Tripoli, as well as their significant defensive operations against military attacks by Haftar’s forces.
In this context, and in line with the expansion of the conflict in Libya, a series of political actions and reactions have taken place at the international level.
A clear indication of such a new stance can be seen in the statements of some NATO officials in support of Faez Siraj government, as well as sharp criticism and protests in the Arab media against the Turkish and Qatari governments. However, differences over gas extraction in the Mediterranean have been linked to the conflict in Libya, adding countries such as Greece to the ranks of stakeholders in Libya; because the gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea not only are not close to the Libyan coast, but also close to countries such as Italy, Cyprus and Greece.
Meanwhile, Turkey has entered into the scene of drilling for gas resources in the field while concluding contracts with the Siraj government, and has taken the lead from other competitors, especially Greece, which is one of Turkey’s opposition countries. Accordingly, what Turkey is currently doing in Libya is not only analyzed and interpreted in the context of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood or stepping in the direction of Ottomanism, but also with Turkey’s entry into the field of exploitation of Libya’s oil and gas resources, it assumes economic dimensions. This is what most European governments are trying to do to more seriously support General Haftar’s actions against Ankara’s ally, the government of Faez Siraj or the National Unity government.
Since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s government, Turkey has always sought to provide suitable economic markets in the oil-rich countries of North Africa. Thus, the country has since embarked on a number of efforts in the media, called the Turkish Ottomans Movement, but resumption of the bloody eight-year conflict in Libya has thwarted many of the Ankara government’s efforts to pursue its economic interests.
However, with the beginning of General Haftar’s military operation last year, a new round of Turkish efforts began in the form of military support for the government of Faez Siraj, and its economic aspect gradually became apparent; But what worries Western governments now is the loss of good economic opportunities in Libya, which, in addition to oil and gas, has many other tourism potentials, and Libya’s long coastline in the Mediterranean could become a paradise for tourists and investors in the tourism industry.
This has led European governments to engage in serious rivalries in their bid to dominate Libya, each secretly and openly supporting one of the parties involved in Libya, or, like the London government, through its Arab subservient regimes. The Arab reaction will play a significant role in the ongoing Libyan conflict on their behalf. Analysts in North Africa see the UAE’s presence on the scene and its widespread support for General Haftar as a move on behalf of the British government, as well as the actions of Italy and some other European countries against this current a move in line with the rivalries of the Western states in the Third World.