The dramatic situation of Libyans in the hands of Ankara, Doha and Moscow
The Turkish turning point in the Libyan crisis has shown the realization of new scenarios in the geopolitical theatre of East Africa. Ankara’s massive intervention in Tripolitania has placed over seven thousand pro-Turkish Syrian mercenaries, several batteries of armed drones and anti-aircraft systems deployed against Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) on the scales of the conflict. That operation, unbalancing the situation in favor of Fayez al-Sarraj and the Muslim Brotherhood, has also put an end to the dream of millions of Libyans to get rid of criminal and terrorist militias.
The observation of military developments reveals the possibility of a definition of foreign forces within Libya and an ouster of Europe and the United States from influence in this part of North Africa. The yesterday’s visit of Defense Ministries of Turkey and Qatar confirms that Doha and Ankara are currently drawing up a second phase of the conflict. That witness the reposition themselves with parameters of political-military weight different from before and perhaps taking note of the failure of Haftar’s plan to unite Libya under a single flag.
The contacts between Putin and Erdogan are continuous between a stalemate, like last month in Istanbul, and an apparent tacit consent, on the Russian side, to proceed as happened when the GNA militias took back the western part of Tripolitania. Moscow announced last week that the ministerial talks are continuing, despite the complexity of relations between Moscow and Ankara.
The two countries are the main antagonists also in Syria, thanks above all to the convincing diplomatic strategy shown by President Vladimir Putin towards his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two powers, while having no intention of confronting each other directly on Libyan soil, continue to send weapons, mercenaries, and modern defense systems, effectively securing their military bases in the North African country.
While the Americans and the Europeans try to dialogue, Russia, Turkey, and Qatar are dividing Libya. This “synthesis” clearly favours the strategic calculations of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan that could find the conditions to control the southern flank of the Mediterranean. That is adjacent to the coasts of the European Union, and it would draw a geostrategic change, with enormous regret also of the African Union.
Meanwhile, the Libyans continue to suffer from the tragic situation. In large parts of the North African country, the population does not have access to drinking water. The lack of infrastructure maintenance and the protracted conflict destroyed the electricity grid. The political dispute between east and west and the use of oil revenues to finance prolonged military campaigns leave Libyans without liquidity, effectively limiting the purchasing power of families even for necessities. Finally, the coronavirus pandemic, which is spreading quickly, has revealed the gaps in the health system and the lack of means and personnel in hospitals.