«استراتيجية الخروج» من اليمن: الإمارات تستغيث بإيران

 وفيق قانصوه

الخميس 11 تموز 2019

 طهران ترفض عرضاً إماراتياً للانسحاب: تخطّيتم الخطوط الحمر 

 «أنصار الله» لأبو ظبي: سنحيّد منشآتكم الحيوية 

 إبن راشد لإبن زايد: صاروخ يمني واحد في دبي يدمّر كل ما بنيناه

 

«الإمارات تنسحب من اليمن». حتى اللحظة، يجري التعامل مع الحدث الذي أُعلِن قبل أيام بالكثير من التشكيك. لكن المعلومات المستقاة من مصادر واسعة الاطلاع تُظهر قراراً استراتيجياً اتخذه حكام أبو ظبي نتيجة التهديد بوصول الحريق إلى داخل «دارِهم». ولأجل إبعاد هذه الكأس عنهم، استنجدوا بطهران وموسكو

«لا شيء لدينا نتفاوض حوله معكم بعدما تخطّيتم الخطوط الحمر». كان هذا الرد الحاسم الذي سمعه وفد أمني إماراتي رفيع المستوى زار طهران قبل أسابيع قليلة، عقب التفجيرات التي استهدفت سفناً تجارية وناقلات نفط في ميناء الفجيرة الاماراتي في 12 أيار الماضي.

الوفد الرفيع (الذي يتردد أنه زار طهران مرتين) حمل معه، وفق مصادر دبلوماسية مطلعة، ما اعتقد الاماراتيون يومها أنه «عرض لا يُقاوم». ثلاثة بنود واضحة: الأول، إعادة العلاقات بين البلدين إلى طبيعتها. الثاني، تأمين حماية مشتركة من البلدين للممرات البحرية لتأمين تدفق النفط من كل الدول المطلّة على الخليج. الثالث، والأهم: نحن مستعدون لمغادرة اليمن!

لم ييأس الاماراتيون بعد الردّ الايراني الصارم، فتوسّلوا وساطة روسية مع طهران اثناء زيارة وزير الخارجية الاماراتي عبدالله بن زايد لموسكو في 25 حزيران الماضي. لكن الجواب كان واحداً: لا شيء لدينا لنفاوض حوله. كان واضحاً لدى الايرانيين أن أبو ظبي تبحث عن «استراتيجية خروج» من المستنقع اليمني، وتريد بيعها. بضاعة كاسدة كهذه لا تُسوّق في بازار طهران، «ويمكنهم أن يخرجوا كما دخلوا».

ولكن، ما هي خلفيات هذا التحوّل الاماراتي؟

(أرشيف)

بصرف النظر عمّن يقف خلف هجوم ميناء الفجيرة الواقع على خليج عُمان (جنوب مضيق هرمز)، بدا واضحاً للجميع أن أي حظر على تصدير النفط الايراني يعني ان الدول الخليجية لن تكون قادرة على تصدير نفطها متجاوزة السيطرة الايرانية على المضيق. قُرئ الهجوم على انه تحدّ غير مسبوق واستفزاز افترضت الرياض وأبو ظبي انه سيشعل شرارة الحرب الأميركية المنتظرة على الجار الايراني المزعج. خيّبت واشنطن هذه الآمال، تماماً كما خيّبتها بعد إسقاط قوات الدفاع الجوي التابعة للحرس الثوري طائرة تجسس أميركية في 20 حزيران الماضي. أُريد للحدثين أن يشكّلا زلزال «14 شباط ايراني» على شاكلة زلزال «14 شباط اللبناني» (اغتيال رئيس الحكومة اللبناني رفيق الحريري)، وما تلاه من تغييرات اقليمية ودولية. لكن الأميركي كان في واد آخر.

أدرك الاماراتيون أن الأميركيين إذا لم يهاجموا ايران الآن فقد لا يهاجمونها أبداً. لذا جاءت انعطافة أبو ظبي الأخيرة «بالانتقال من استراتيجية القوة العسكرية أولاً إلى استراتيجية السلام أولاً»، بعد أربع سنوات ونصف سنة من انخراطها في الحرب على الشعب اليمني. إرهاصات القرار بدأت مع زيارة وزير الخارجية الاماراتي لموسكو وإعلانه أن التحقيق في حادث الفجيرة لم يشر بدقة الى الجهة الفاعلة، مشيراً الى أن بلاده غير معنية بأي تصعيد مع طهران.

وفق المصادر المطلعة، فإن «شبه الانسحاب الاماراتي هو، عملياً واستراتيجياً، قرار بالانسحاب يجري تظهيره كخروج ملطّف حتى لا تكون له تبعات الهزيمة». وقد حتمّت هذا القرار جملة اسباب، داخلية وخارجية، أولها وصول «قدرة التحمّل الاماراتية» لتبعات التورط في اليمن الى حدّها الأقصى على صعد عدة:

1) النزيف البشري الذي نجحت الامارات على مدى اربع سنوات ونصف سنة في التغطية عليه، وتمكنت أخيراً من الحد منه عبر الابتعاد عن المواجهات المباشرة واستخدام «أطر بديلة» تتمثل بمجموعات ميليشيوية يمنية جنّبت الجيش الاماراتي مزيداً من الخسائر، ولكن بعدما طالت هذه الخسائر معظم أبناء الطبقات الوسطى والفقيرة، ووصلت الى بعض أبناء العائلة الحاكمة.

2) النزيف الاقتصادي الذي بات يسبّب تململاً ليس في أبوظبي فحسب، وانما في بقية الامارات مع شعور بأن تبعات الحرب بدأت تترك تأثيرات استراتيجية على الاقتصاد القائم اساساً على التجارة والخدمات.

3) النزيف السياسي: مع التيقن بأن سقف الحرب بات مقفلاً على إمكان تحقيق انتصار واضح وناجز، وتخلخل الحلف الذي تقوده السعودية بخروج شركاء منه، شعر الاماراتيون بأنهم قادمون على تحمّل جزء أساسي من تبعات الهزيمة السياسية ويريدون تجنّب دفع جزء معتبر من هذا الثمن.

إلى ذلك، بدا أن وضع الاتحاد الاماراتي بات على المحك مع تصاعد تململ حكام الامارات الست من التماهي الكامل لرجل أبو ظبي القوي محمد بن زايد مع رجل الرياض القوي محمد بن سلمان في توتير العلاقات مع الجيران الخليجيين والجار الايراني، ومن التورط في الحرب اليمنية وأثمانها الاقتصادية. وفي المعلومات أن اجتماعاً عقد قبل أسابيع بين ثلاثي «أولاد زايد» (محمد وهزاع وطحنون) وحاكم دبي محمد بن راشد الذي تمثل إمارته «درّة النموذج الاماراتي»، أبلغهم فيه الأخير، بوضوح، أن هناك ضرورة ملحّة للخروج من هذا المستنقع. ولفت إلى ان «نزول صاروخ يمني واحد في واحد من شوارع دبي كفيل بانهيار الاقتصاد والتضحية بكل ما حققناه». كما سمع «أولاد زايد» كلاماً مماثلاً من حكام الفجيرة، أبدى فيه هؤلاء خشيتهم من ان السياسة الحالية قد تجعل إمارتهم ساحة أي معركة مقبلة، كونها واقعة على بحر عُمان، وخارج مضيق هرمز.

مصادر دبلوماسية: معلومات عن طلب إماراتي من القاهرة التوسط لإعادة تفعيل العلاقة مع دمشق

الأهم من كل ما سبق أن الاماراتيين لمسوا أن الاندفاعة اليمنية النوعية الأخيرة باتت قادرة على قلب الموازين الاستراتيجية للصراع بعد تفعيل أسلحة جديدة واستهداف منشآت حيوية كخط ينبع ومطار أبها وغيرهما، فيما أخفقت كل «الجدران الاستراتيجية» (كالباتريوت) في وجه هذه الهجمة. ووفق معلومات «الأخبار» فإن الامارات تلقّت رسالة واضحة من «أنصار الله»، بعدما لاحت بوادر انعطافتها الأخيرة، مفادها أن منشآتها الحيوية لن تكون هدفاً للقصف «ومعركتنا ستكون حصراً مع السعوديين»، ما يفسر حصر القصف الأخير بالأهداف الحساسة السعودية.

في المحصلة، تؤكد المصادر أن التحول الاماراتي «ليس مناورة. هم أخفقوا أولاً في هجوم خليفة حفتر على طرابلس الغرب. وأخيراً أيقنوا أن واشنطن ليست جاهزة لمواجهة مباشرة مع ايران». لذلك، «ستكمل الامارات استدارتها لتشمل الموقف من سوريا». وتلفت في هذا السياق الى «معلومات عن طلب إماراتي من القاهرة بالتوسط مع دمشق» لإعادة تفعيل العلاقة من حيث توقفت بعدما فرملها الأميركيون مطلع هذه السنة.

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Libya: The Hidden Turkish Intervention

Alessandro Lattanzio

As of 30 April, the LNA controlled 1259800 square kilometres of territory (equal to 77.58% of the surface of Libya, including 6.5% of the Tuariq Council area), the Tebus controlled 260989 square kilometres (16.07%) and the GNA 103081 square kilometres (6.35%).

On May 2, the LNA interrupted the supply lines between Sadiyah and Aziziya, while advancing on Aziziya from Hira and Qasarat.

On May 3, the barracks of the 166th Brigade of the Libyan National Army near Sabha was attacked, causing nine deaths. The attack on the Sabha training camp was the work of ISIL terrorists, who murdered eight soldiers, beheading one, as they already did in Buabat al-Faha, Baraq Shati and Darna. The action was a demonstration of the links between GNA and Islamist terrorism.

Numerous terrorists were treated in the Italian camp hospital of Misurata, according to the Media Centre of the al-Qarama Operative Centre of the LNA:

“We have received confirmed intelligence information on the Italian camp hospital in Misurata which treats numerous terrorists fighting alongside the Muslim Brotherhood and the militias”; listing the terrorists treated in the Italian hospital of Misurata:

Muhamad Abdalqani, known as Abu Zubayr, of ISIL
Asad Qudayr al-Shami known as Abu Qatada, of Bayt al-Maqdis
Abdalwahab Mahmud al-Asali, of Bayt al-Maqdis
Abu al-Layth, of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb
Hasan Abdalwadud, known as Abu Sayaf, of ISIL
Ayman Tahar al-Isqandarani, known as Abu Fatima, of ISIL in Algeria
Abdulah Hasan al-Iraqi, of ISIL in Algeria
Said al-Mashgul, known as Abu al-Bara, of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb
Ibrahim Ataf Qudayr, known as Abu al-Dahma, al-Murabitin Army terrorist organisation

The statement confirmed the arrest of terrorists from the Egyptian organisation Hisham Ashmawi arrested in Darna. “We know that the Italian forces have assigned this field hospital to fight terrorism and not to support it”, concluded the statement of the Operations Room al-Qarama.

On May 5, the LNA advanced in the Qahali quarter, freeing the al-Naq petrol station, and liberated Sabiah and Suq al-Sabat, arriving on the southern outskirts of Suani.

On May 7, the LNA shot down a GNA Mirage F-1, taken off from Misurata, on al-Hirah, south of Tripoli, capturing its pilot.

On May 10, the LNA advanced on Tuisha and clashed with the GNA west of Sabiah.

Meanwhile, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist organization, arrived in Libya from Syria to join the Islamist militias of the GNA that were fighting against the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tripoli. Nusret Imamovic was a Bosnian who studied Islamic Sharia in Sarajevo. He had been fighting for Jabhat al-Nusrah in Syria since 2012, and resided in Azaz, Governorate of Aleppo, before Syrian forces freed the area.

On May 11, the LNA recaptured the Zahra Bridge.

On 13 May, the Tobruq Parliament voted on the law defining the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. An LNA airstrike destroyed the headquarters of the al-Faruq brigade in al-Zuiya, west of Tripoli, eliminating a leader of the ISIL, Safwan al-Jabar.

On the 14th of May, the LNA shot down a UAV of Turkish manufacture, belonging to the GNA of Misurata, at the air base of al-Jufra.

On May 16, the Saqa units of the LNA entered Tripoli from the south. Qalifa Haftar met in Rome with council president Giuseppe Conte, who called for a ceasefire.

On May 17, Fathi al-Majbri, Vice President of the Presidency Council of the Government of the National Accord, accused Fayaz al-Saraj of using his powers for personal gain, of the failure of the political process and of the outbreak of war in Tripoli. Al-Majbri declared that al-Saraj was obsessed with power and willing to do anything to stay in power;

“What civil status are you talking about while violating the simple principles of government administration? Fayaz al-Sarraj manages the country with the de facto authority of outlaw militias. Al-Saraj has allied himself with extremist groups and today they are the backbone of the forces fighting against the Libyan army”.

Meanwhile the GNA admitted that it had lost Sabratha and Surman, stating “that the two municipalities were now taking orders from the parallel government in the eastern region”, in other words, the interim government of Bayda led by Abdullah al-Thani. GNA’s Ministry of Local Government said Surman supported what he described as “aggression against Tripoli”. U.S. public relations firm Mercury signed a $2 million a year contract with Fayaz al-Saraj to spread favourable propaganda through the Wall Street Journal, including an article on May 9 asking President Donald Trump to support al-Saraj rather than Field Marshal Qalifa Haftar.

On May 18, the Islamist factions of the government of Fayaz al-Saraj received Bulgarian MG-M1 machine guns and ammunition, delivered to the GNA from Turkey along with at least 40 BMC Kirpi II and Vuran armored ammunition, disembarked from the Amazon cargo ship, in Misurata, to repel the operations of the Libyan National Army in Tripoli. Kirpi armored vehicles are produced by the Turkish company BMC in Samsun. The BMC was sold in 2014 to the Committee for the Industry of the Armed Forces of Qatar by Turkish businessman Ethem Sançak, a member of the governing body of the Justice and Development Party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. BMC manufactures the new Turkish tank Altay, whose deliveries began in December 2018, and in March 2019 Qatar ordered 100 of them. In January 2019, Turkey and Qatar opened a military engine plant in Karasu, northwest Turkey.

On May 20, the LNA captured the transport base of Tripoli, advancing towards Qalat Qafar and Nasr.

On May 21, the head of the Tarhuna Salah al-Fanidi council declared at a meeting of commanders and tribal leaders in Sidi Sayah that the Tarhuna, Bani Walid, Warshafana and Nuahi al-Arbah tribes supported the Libyan National Army in operations in Tripoli.

On 22 May, the LNA freed the Walid district of Tripoli.

On May 24, the LNA freed Ramlah and advanced to Ayn Zara.

On May 25, the Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced south and east of Tripoli with the support of the Libyan Air Force.

On May 28, the LNA advanced in the Walid district while the GNA reoccupied the transport field. Egyptian Intelligence Director (GIS) Abas Qamal visited Libya and met Qalifa Haftar. Fayaz al-Saraj visited Malta.

On 29 May, 1 Dassault Falcon 900EX (I-OUNI) from the Italian secret service took off from Tripoli.

On 30 May, Qalifa Haftar visited Moscow.

On May 31, the head of the LNA’s al-Qarama information office, Qalid al-Mahjub, confirmed the arrival of 12 Turkish military instructors at Misurata.

On June 3, the LNA repelled the attack by the GNA forces on the international airport of Tripoli, after two days of combat and the elimination of 31 GNA fighters, the arrest of dozens more and the destruction of many of their military vehicles and artillery pieces. ISIL detonated two car bombs in Darna, killing and injuring 19 people. The LNA repelled the ISIL attack on checkpoint 400 in al-Fuqaha, al-Jufra region. Salah al-Raqi, GNA undersecretary in the Ministry of Housing and head of the Islamist militia Fursan Janzour, was eliminated in clashes with LNA forces in Tripoli.

On June 4, 18 GNA militiamen were eliminated in clashes at al-Tuysha, south-west of Tripoli Airport.

On June 7, the LNA destroyed military aircraft at the Mitiga airport occupied by the GNA, including at least one Turkish armed drone.

On June 8, the LNA freed the Tuayshah, Ramalah and Tariq bin Ziyad area by advancing on Suani, south of the airport, and Walid.

On June 10, GNA forces withdrew from the Ayn Zara – Fuzi Al-Mansuri line in Tripoli.

On June 13, a GNA L-39ZA aircraft was shot down at al-Dafniyah, 200 km south-east of Tripoli, as it flew to the Misurata air base.

On June 20, the LNA repelled the GNA attack on Tripoli International Airport.

On June 21, a GNA unit, Battalion al-Uburm, moved to the LNA.

On June 24, the GNA forces were repelled by the LNA at al-Tuaisha, south-west of Tripoli International Airport, attacking on two axes: the airport road from Dakla and the Qazirmah area.

On June 26, the LNA entered Qaryan and eliminated 11 GNA fighters, but after a surprise attack by the GNA forces, the LNA decided to withdraw from the city 100 km south of Tripoli. The LNA repelled a GNA raid on al-Quasim and Abu Shiba, northwest of Qaryan.

On June 26, the Libyan National Army handed over captured U.S. mercenary to U.S. officials. Jamie Sponaugle was a mercenary pilot captured after his plane was shot down during the fighting in Tripoli, he had received orders from the GNA to destroy Libyan infrastructure. The GNA, with Turkish, Italian and French support, launched a major attack south of Tripoli, occupying Hira, Buqaylan, Quasim and Wadi Shaybah.

On 27 June, LNA Major Muhamad Ahmad al-Targi fell in combat in al-Quasim, north of Qaryan. As the LNA withdrew from Qaryan after the attack launched by the GNA.

On June 28, a Lockheed Martin C-130J of the Italian Air Force departing from the base of Pisa San Giusto landed in Misurata, with supplies for the Italian military hospital in Misurata.

On June 28, LNA repelled the attack on al-Sabia, 40 km south of Tripoli, advancing on al-Aziya. After leaving Qaryan, the LNA command moved to Tarhuna. Meanwhile, Qalifa Haftar also arrived in Tarhuna, 60km southeast of Tripoli. Following the aggression of Qaryan, where 28 wounded in the hospital were killed by the Islamists of Fayaz Saraj.

On 29 June, the General Command of the Libyan National Army declared:

“While the forces of the Libyan National Army are fighting terrorism on Libyan territory, terrorists in our country have had Turkish logistical support for years. In recent days it has evolved into direct Turkish intervention using war planes, transporting mercenaries and sending ships loaded with weapons, ammunition and armoured vehicles to support terrorism in Libya. Therefore, the General Command of the Libyan National Army ordered the Air Force to target Turkish ships and boats within Libyan territorial waters.

The Interim Government must expel all Turkish companies operating in Libya and end their operations on all projects on Libyan territory, boycotting Turkish industries and products and stopping civilian flights to and from Turkey at Libyan airports in response to this Turkish terrorist attack. Turkish drones had bombed several locations at the airport south of Tripoli, in support of the Islamist militias of Fayaz al-Saraj in Tripoli”.

The week before, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted that his government had provided arms, ammunition and military support to the al-Saraj gangs.

Qalid al-Mahjub, spokesman for the Tripoli Operations Room of the Libyan National Army (LNA), stated that there was a Turkish Operations Room leading the Islamist groups of the Fayaz al-Saraj government in battle, composed of numerous Turkish army officers, who trained the al-Saraj Islamist militias during battles against the Libyan National Army in the southern districts of Tripoli. Al-Mahjub declared that the Turkish Operations Room was located in the Mitiga airport in the centre of Tripoli, and that they also used Turkish drones taking off from the Air College of Misurata, under mercenary command.

On June 30, an LNA air attack on the Mitiga international airport destroyed 1 Turkish UAV while taking off. The Libyan National Army arrested several Turkish citizens, engaged in sabotage and subversion operations and in coordinating Ankara’s military support to the Islamist government of Tripoli. The detainees were General-Major Güksel Kahya, Deputy Minister of Defence of Turkey, General-Major Irfan Ozsert, Head of Military Intelligence and Secretary General of the Turkish General Staff, General-Major Levent Ergond, responsible for the operations of the Turkish armed forces abroad, Rear Admiral Gersoy Zaipanar, Brigadier General Ilkay Altyndach and Brigadier General Selcuk Yavuz, responsible for the actions of the special forces on the Syrian border.

Levent Ergon was sentenced for illegal activities to 13 years in prison, but was released by the Erdogan government, which then appointed him in charge of the operations of the Turkish armed forces.

Ilkay Altyndach was imprisoned for disseminating secret documents, but was released by Erdogan and in 2018 promoted to brigadier general.

Rear Admiral Gersoy Zaipanar was sentenced and sentenced to 16 years in prison for conspiracy, but was released by Erdogan.

Brigadier General Selcuk Yavuz led an offensive in Syria with the special units he directed.

According to the Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt, “such people would be Erdogan’s neo-nationalist dream team for dirty operations abroad. They are all indebted to Erdogan and therefore happy to carry out any sordid action, such as supporting Islamist groups to use them as agents of influence… it is clear that they were engaged in military and intelligence operations in Libya”.

The Ministry of Defence of Benghazi declared that Turkey was the sanctuary of terrorists sought by the Libyan National Army.

On July 1, the GNA militia leader Ahrar Libya, Isam Qatus, was eliminated in the clashes in Laft. He was appointed NTC ambassador to Niger in 2014.

GNA L-39 planes launched by Misurata bombed Tarhuna, 65 km south-east of Tripoli.

Fayaz al-Saraj flew to Italy to meet the Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini in Milan. Saraj asked for a “reserved” meeting to obtain more military aid from the Italian government in favour of GNA.

GNA sources stated that “the government of Tripoli greatly appreciates the role and position of Italy, but at this point calls for a greater effort to consolidate the political role of a Libyan government recognized by the United Nations. We have asked for weapons, we have asked for intelligence, medical support, and at least stronger, more evident, more open political support”.

On July 2, the LNA Air Force bombarded 30 GNA targets at al-Azizya, Swani and Tajura. At least 90 GNA fighters were eliminated.

Haftar Is Trying To Trick Turkey Into Overextending Itself In Libya

Global Research, June 30, 2019

Libyan National Army leader General Haftar ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and companies that he accused of helping the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, as well as to arrest Turkish citizens in the country, which is nothing short of an effort to trick Turkey into overextending itself by provoking it into “mission creep” so that it ends up trapped in the Libyan quagmire.

***

The Libyan Civil War might be entering a new phase if the forces led by Libyan National Army (LNA) leader General  Haftar do good on their leader’s threats to attack Turkish ships and companies that he accused of helping the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), a well as to arrest Turkish citizens in the country. The popular warlord has already succeeded in capturing most of the country with the notable exception being the capital of Tripoli, which has only held out as long as it has supposedly because of Turkish support.

The Libyan Civil War was directly caused by NATO’s 2011 War on Libya and the subsequent scramble for influence in the energy-rich and geostrategically positioned North African state, with Turkey playing a leading role in the latter because the de-facto Muslim Brotherhood-led country envisions restoring its Ottoman-era empire through the establishment of ideologically allied governments in this vast trans-continental space. The GNA is comprised of Muslim Brotherhood fighters and their offshoots who came to power after 2011, which is why Erdogan supports them so strongly and has a stake in their continued leadership of the country, something that Haftar is adamantly opposed to because he sees his countrymen’s collaboration with Turkey as treasonous.

The LNA leader is now threatening to impose serious physical costs to Turkey’s unofficial intervention in the Libyan Civil War, hoping that this will either compel it to retreat or counterproductively dig in through “mission creep” and risk overextending itself in what has become a regional proxy war between secular and Islamist forces backed by the UAE/Egypt/France and Turkey/Qatar/Libya respectively. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s ego, his ambition for regional influence, and the domestic political pressure that he’s under after the latest mayoral election rerun in Istanbul are responsible for Turkey’s vow to retaliate against the Libyan warlord.

Should Turkey suffer highly publicized losses at the hands of Haftar’s forces, then it might embolden the country’s Cypriot, Greek, Kurdish separatist, and Syrian enemies in its immediate neighborhood if they interpret those developments as a sign of weakness proving that the Turkish military is just a “paper tiger” incapable of properly defending its interests and/or defeating its first conventional military adversary in decades. Erdogan is therefore in a classic dilemma since he’s damned if he retreats but equally damned if he doesn’t and ends up being humiliated by Haftar. It’ll remain to be seen what ultimately happens, but Turkey is in a very tricky position nowadays and needs to be careful that it doesn’t get trapped in the Libyan quagmire.

*

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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Libya – U.S. Reveals Support For Hafter’s Side

By Moon Of Alabama

April 19, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – The Libyan National Army (LNA) troops of General Hafter attack the militias which support the UN recognized government in Tripoli from the south. The LNA still lacks forces for a larger break through. Several objects at the front changed hands several times. There are bloody skirmishes but no big fights. Those are still to come.


Map by South Front – bigger

Some people doubt that Hafter can be successful:

Analysts believe that Haftar over-estimates the strength of his LNA.

They say the controversial field marshal, who backs an administration rival to the GNA based in eastern Libya, was counting on a quick collapse of Tripoli militias.

But pro-GNA reinforcements from around Tripoli rushed to assist in driving back his forces.

It was never clear if Hafter really hoped that a lightning attack on Tripoli would achieve a fast victory, or if his sudden move was intended to rally support from outside. He is now certainly getting such support and that will be to his decisive advantage in the longer play.

As we described it:

Hafter has open support from France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia. The Trump administration is not interested to step into the mess. Hafter is an old CIA asset and if he takes control there is a good chance that the U.S. will have influence over him. As long as Libyan oil flows and keeps the global oil price down Trump will be happy. Russia is trying to stay in the background to not give the anti-Russian forces in Washington an excuse to intervene.

The Muslim Brothers, supported by Turkey and Qatar, are still in play in Misrata but have otherwise lost their influence on the ground.

Since then the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia pledged tens of millions of dollars to support Hafter’s move on Tripoli. During the last week Hafter visited President Sisi of Egypt.

Europe is disunited over the issue. Italy wants to keep its influence in its former colony Libya and its historical position in the Libyan oil industry. It is also concerned about a new wave of refugees. It supports the government in Tripoli. France is supporting Hafter with an eye on taking over some oil business. It is also concerned about Islamist activities in former French colonies west and south of Libya. With Italy and France in a clinch, the European Union only issued a weak statement that called for a stop of fighting without naming any side.

Concern over the militias which support the Tripoli government increased too. They not as harmless as many seem to have thought:

A week after an aspiring strongman launched a surprise attack on the Libyan capital, an assortment of criminal gangs and extremists are rushing into the fight against him, raising new questions for the United States and other Western powers that have condemned his attack.

But an increasingly unsavory cast has joined the coalition against him, including a group closely tied to a militia sanctioned as a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations; an extremist warlord sanctioned for undermining Libya’s stability; and other militia leaders sanctioned for migrant trafficking. That mix so alarms Western powers that some may deem General Hifter the lesser evil.

Yesterday the U.S., which had said little when Hafter launched his assault on Tripoli, came out of the closet:

The United States and Russia both said Thursday they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.

The United States gave no reason for its position on the draft resolution …

Today we learn that Trump spoke with Hafter several days ago:

President Donald Trump spoke on Monday with a Libyan strongman whose forces are advancing on the nation’s capital, the White House said, in a move that may undermine support for the country’s internationally recognized government.

Trump discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya” with Haftar, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Gidley called Haftar by the title “field marshal.”

“The president recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system,” Gidley said.

The key point for Trump is the oil price. His administration put sanctions on sales of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. Since the beginning of the year crude oil prices rallied from the low $50 per barrel to over $70 per barrel. Trump plans to reduce waivers he gave to some of the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil. That would further decrease Iran’s output. Any additional disruption of Libya’s oil production would increase the oil price and harm the U.S. economy. It would thereby make Trump’s plan for total sanctions on Iranian oil impossible.

Hafter controls most of Libya’s oil supplies. With open backing from the U.S., Russia and France, support from the military in Egypt, and with enough Saudi cash to finance his army, he surely has all the needed support to sustain a longer fight.

His next move will likely be against the small air force the Misrata gangs assembled. The U.S. might give him a helping hand in that. Hafter could then close down the airspace for flights from Turkey and Qatar. That would cut into the resupply Misrata and Tripoli need for a longer fight.

Those who say that “there is no military solution” to the situation in Libya will likely be proven wrong. Hafter has all he needs to win the fight.

This article was originally published by Moon Of Alabama” –

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The exile in the Balkans of Mohammed Dahlan

Milenko NedelskovskiMilenko Nedelskovski

The exile in the Balkans of Mohammed Dahlan

 

The troubled course and power of Mohammed Dahlan are shaking Palestinians. Near Yasser Arafat, he implemented his assassination at the request of Israel. Unable to maintain order during the fratricidal war between Hamas and Fatah, he resigned from his post and fled abroad. Now based in Egypt, he heads Palestinian security again and has excellent relations with Yahya Sinwar, the Prime Minister of Gaza. During his exile, he has woven many links that he now exploits …

The UAE Crown Prince’s pit bull

JPEG - 39.3 kb

He’s the man of a thousand lives. He’s the man with a thousand faces. “He is also the man of a thousand crimes” persifles his enemies. Mohammed Dahlan’s name slams like a bullet from AK-47, a weapon he wields with mastery. If his name is on everyone’s lips in the Middle East, few venture to pronounce it aloud. Fear…

Former head of security of Yasser Arafat, former strong man of Fatah, possible successor of Mahmoud Abbas at the head of the Palestinian Authority, Dahlan’s shadow hangs over all the intrigues stirring the Near and Middle East. The Palestinian uses his networks and money in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya with incomparable dexterity to establish the influence of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Recently, it was his role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that was revealed. Last November, the Turkish daily “Yeni Safak” reported that the second team sent to the Saudi Arabian consulate to clean up after the Saudi journalist’s murder was recruited by Mohammed Dahlan himself and that the men present on the spot were the same as those involved in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhif, an influential Hamas member, in 2010.

Mercenaries in Yemen

A must in the region, “Abu Fadi”, its war name, even seems to have a gift of ubiquity, as it seems to be in several places at the same time. Recently, his involvement in the financing and arming of mercenaries deployed in Yemen to fight Houthi rebels has been the subject of much debate. Some intelligence services also provide him with a number of targeted assassinations with the help of a mercenary team led by the Israeli Abraham Golan. His expertise has made him the most prominent security advisor in Abu Dhabi. His mandate: to influence the re-composition of the Middle East in the direction most favourable to MBZ and to sabotage Qatari interests by the most vile means. The Emirati monarchy is also counting on him to crush all internal disputes mercilessly. Observers see him as the most ferocious watchdog of the Emiratis. “It’s the MBZ pit bull who always keeps him on a leash” risks one of them.

MBZ and Dahlan: a long friendship

Dahlan first met Mohammed Ben Zayed, born like him in 1961, in 1993, during a trip by Yasser Arafat to Abu Dhabi. The first, a young adviser to the Palestinian raïs, is preparing to take over the leadership of Preventive Security, one of the police units in the Gaza Strip, which has just been evacuated by the Israeli army, in accordance with the Oslo agreements. A function that he will transform into a financial pump, by taking a tithe from freight trucks entering the territory. The position will also allow him to establish useful contacts with many foreign intelligence services, including the Israeli Shin Beth.

The second, not yet known as “MBZ”, was at that time a fighter pilot, who was positioned to become the heir to his half-brother Khalifa, to whom the succession of Zayed, the founder of the UAE, was already promised. Like Dahlan, the young prince turned a state institution, the Offsets Bureau – which manages the funds that foreign arms companies must reinvest locally after obtaining a contract – into the matrix of his political rise.

The two thirty-somethings, driven by the same thirst for power, met several times and became sympathetic.

Thus, when in the summer of 2011, Mahmoud Abbas had him expelled from Fatah and sued him for embezzlement, it was quite naturally in the Emirates that he took refuge.

In Abu Dhabi, Dahlan is working harder than ever. To counter the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, winners of the elections held in Egypt and Tunisia after the uprisings of 2011, his Emirate master inaugurated a secret and strong diplomacy. As a good barker, Dahlan will be one of the giants of this counterrevolutionary enterprise.

In Egypt, “MBZ” and “Abu Fadi” support the destabilization of Mohamed Mursi, the winner of the 2012 presidential election, from the Muslim Brotherhood. In particular, they finance the gigantic demonstrations in June 2013 that led to Power General Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi.

Suitcases full of cash

Dahlan also invests in Egyptian media on behalf of the Emirates. He is participating in the launch of the Al-Ghad television channel, directed by journalist Abdellatif Menawi, a nostalgic for the Mubarak regime. In return, the Egyptian authorities provide him with services. In April 2015, they let his wife, Jalila, enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing point, while under pressure from Mahmoud Abbas, Israel had closed the Erez gate on the north side. Once there, with suitcases full of cash, Jalila Dahlan financed a collective wedding for 400 Gazans. The day after the wedding, huge posters bearing the image of Khalifa Ben Zayed proclaimed “Thank you Emirates” on the walls of Gaza.

The Emirates’ man also operated his famous contacts in Libya. In this country, Abu Dhabi supports Marshal Khalifa Haftar, based in Cyrenaica, against the pro-Qatar camp of Misrata, and against the Prime Minister of national understanding, Faïez Sarraj, who is favoured by the Western World. Dahlan knows several former kadhafists present in Haftar’s entourage: Mohammed Ismaïl, Hassan Tatanaki, a philanthropic billionaire connected to arms dealers, and Kadhaf Al-Dam, a cousin of the Libyan Guide killed by the Misrata rebels in October 2011.

Deliveries of Emirati weapons to Camp Haftar, Libya

Multiple sources claim that these men have helped “Abu Fadi” to travel to Cyrenaica several times since 2012. One of the SissiLeaks, these clandestine recordings of conversations between the Egyptian president and his entourage that leaked into the media in the winter of 2015, referred to a trip by Dahlan, by private jet, from Cairo to Libya. To do what ? Many observers are convinced that Dahlan is one of the actors in the chain of Emirates arms deliveries to Camp Haftar, which was highlighted by the UN panel of experts on Libya. In addition to his security background, the vast network he has in the Balkans qualifies him for this role as an intermediary.

In the 2000s, on the strength of the old friendship between former Yugoslavia and the PLO, forged in the non-aligned movement, the opportunist Dahlan infiltrated the business circles of this region. He approached two senior executives: Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro four times between 1991 and 2016, long suspected of mafia connections; and Aleksandar Vucic, former Prime Minister and now President of Serbia, whose transparency is not his best quality.

Through a cascade of Balkan companies, most of them shady ones (Monte Mena, Levant International Corporation, Alfursan or Queens Beach Development…), Dahlan was able to conclude some lucrative business such as the production of Egyptian cigarettes “Cleopatra” or as this acquisition of land along the Zagreb- Belgrade highway, revealed by the Balkan Investing Reporting Network (BIRN). But above all, he helped his boss, Mohammed Ben Zayed, to penetrate this market. Between 2013 and 2015, Abu Dhabi won several major contracts in Serbia under particularly opaque conditions, including the Belgrade Waterfront, a project estimated at $3.5 billion to renovate an old part of the capital.

Huge stocks of weapons available in the Balkans

For his good offices, Dahlan received Serbian and Montenegrin passports, as well as eleven from his relatives. And Mohammed Ben Zayed’s interest in the Balkans is also due to the region’s huge arms stocks, a legacy of the civil war of the 1990s. An investigation by BIRN and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, published in 2016 in the Guardian, revealed that in 2015, at least eight cargo planes loaded with weapons took off from Serbia for Abu Dhabi. Random? In June of that same year, General Haftar visited Belgrade.

Some of this equipment was reportedly re-exported to Libya under the supervision of Mohammed Dahlan. In a telephone conversation available on YouTube, recorded clandestinely, we also hear a relative of Mahmoud Jibril, the Prime Minister of the rebellion in 2011, offer a militia leader “Dahlan’s help”. For many experts in the region, there is no doubt: “Dahlan is the man of the Emirates to bring troops to Haftar. He works with Haftar’s son, Saddam. The two men are also business partners and are reported to have invested in a mining site in Sudan. “The appetite of MBZ’s Pittbull is insatiable…

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Khalifa Haftar (CIA) Hires DC Lobby Group to Promote Himself As Libyan Ruler

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Khalifa Haftar, the would be Libyan General, is not all what he claims to be in the media.

Khalif Haftar is a TRAITOR, he is a WAR CRIMINAL he is a CIA operative and he is ambitious.

Khalifa Haftar was in the Libyan army under Ghadafi and took part in the Chadian wars of the 1970’s and 80’s. While fighting in Chad, when it appeared that Libya was going to lose the war, he decided to join the CIA and starting fighting against Libya, When it appeared that the war was ending, Ghadafi demanded that Haftar be returned to Libya but the CIA airlifted him to the US and installed him in Langley, VA as a CIA operative. He lived there in Langley quite comfortably on the backs of the US tax payers for over 20 years. During that time, Khalifa Haftar was tried for treason in Tripoli, in absentia, found guilty and sentenced to death.

But, Haftar had grand illusions to be the leader of Libya. So, he waited for his big break and it came in 2011 when the US/NATO created a false flag revolution to illegally overthrow the legitimate Libyan government.

Haftar was dropped into Libya by the CIA in 2011 to lead the so called “rebels” – 90% of which were radical mercenaries brought into Libya from other countries and 10% were Libyan criminal Islamic radicals who had either been imprisoned or had been living in exile because radical Islamist’s were outlawed in Libya.

After Haftar took part in the criminal destruction of Libya and the killing of hundreds of thousands of Libyans, he seemed to miraculously have some kind of “wake up” call that made him decide to act like he was now on the side of the legitimate Libyans against the radical militias and mercenaries who were holding Libya by force. Haftar then went about lobbying the HOR (House of Representatives) in Tobruk (the only elected government in Libya) to make him the leader of the Libyan army. Haftar is the only man would could actually get weapons into Libya (being CIA) as the UN holds an embargo against arming the Libyan army since 2011. Consequently, the Libyans were forced to make him the leader of the army or have no hope to cleanse their country of the radical mercenaries who were being armed daily by Turkey and Qatar.

Even though he is the leader of the LNA, the Libyan people/tribes are not fooled by him, he has very little support in Libya and even less support in the army. His big claim of victories across Libya have all been accomplished by the Green Resistance, an underground pro Jamahiriya group actively fighting, doing the hard work but letting Haftar take the credit. The Libyans have learned the dirty game of the Khazarian Zionists, they know that Haftar is one of theirs and they will most likely leave Libya alone as long as their guy is out front.

Here is the question that begs to be answered…. How is it that Khalifa Haftar is able to jet set all around the world, promoting himself as the future leader of Libya, meanwhile inside Libya there is no money for medicine, food, electricity has no repair and constantly out, water supplies are tainted, and absolutely no infrastructure repair or maintenance at all. The answer to this question is very simple, Khalifa Haftar lives in the deep pockets of the CIA.

To add injury to insult, Haftar has a son that is guilty of bank robbery in Tripoli causing grave injury to some civilians. Haftar turned a blind eye to the crimes of his son and instead made him a leader in the army.

Currently, Haftar is in hot water for the tortuous death of 36 Libyans whose bodies were thrown on the ground outside of Benghazi. It was known that Haftar had been holding these men captive.

None of this has stopped Haftar’s dream to rule Libya. Just like Belhaj, he thinks he can put the Libyan people to sleep and they will forget his past of treason, terror and war crimes. To promote his delusion as the future ruler of Libya he has signed on with a group in Washington DC called “Grassroots Political Consulting LLC”. He hired this group for $20,000 per month for 6 months to promote him and sell the US Congress and Senate as the new ruler of Libya. (See copy of the contract at the bottom of this article) One has to wonder where he obtained this kind of money? I am pretty sure that in Libya no military officer is paid enough to afford this kind of expense. It is obvious that he believes if he sells himself to the US government then he has a good shot at ruling Libya. The truth is, he has no shot, there are a number of great military leaders in the tribes and he could easily be replaced. Haftar cannot make his past disappear, the Libyan people will never accept a traitor as their leader.

As a last piece of information, I would like to state that the information about Haftar online and in the media is greatly tainted in his favor. After all, the CIA is bound to keep their guy inside Libya. The Russian’s did meet Haftar and they met with some Misurata militias all hoping to gain their favor. What Russia told Misurata and Haftar was that there would be no agreements unless the tribes of Libya are involved in the process. Russia said it is the tribes of Libya that represent the people of Libya and they are the ones who will decide who their leaders will be not one man or one group of militias.

All the world knows Haftar is CIA and that makes him ineligible for leadership in Libya and actually ineligible to be a Libyan citizen. Remove the UN weapons sanctions from the Libyan National Army and Haftar will crawl back into the hole from which he came.

Libyan War, Syrian War And Qatar CrisisLIBYAN WAR, SYRIAN WAR AND QATAR CRISIS

06.07.2017 06.07.2017

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

If you’re able, and if you like our content and approach, please support the project. Our work wouldn’t be possible without your help: PayPal: southfront@list.ru or via: http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront

The war in Libya was caused not so much by any internal dissent but rather by the West’s need for continued economic expansion, which Western elites view as part and parcel of the post-Cold War “end of history”, a still-potent messianic ideology which gives the West the license to attack anyone, anywhere, to achieve its mercantilist objectives, and which gives the necessary humanitarian “fig leaf” for the benefit of the politically correct faction of Western societies.

Naturally, politically correct Westerners have been unbothered by the “humanitarian interventions” invariably making the situation far worse, and Libya has not been an exception. Since the fall of the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi, Libya has not experienced any political, financial or even social stability, as the country is witnessing a state of constant fighting between all parties despite the absence of any religious or sectarian differences between the populations. Libya turned from one of the richest countries in the world to a failed state.

The current war in Libya began in 2014, with most of the fighting being between the internationally-recognized Tobruk-based Libyan Interim Government centered on the House of Representatives that was elected democratically in 2014, an Islamist National Salvation Government founded by the General National Congress based in Tripoli city, and the UN-backed Government of National Accord also based in Tripoli.

The Libyan Interim Government has the allegiance of the Libyan National Army under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar and enjoys the support of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates directly, with indirect support from both the United States, Britain and Russia, with the latter country’s affinity to Haftar clearly demonstrated when the Libyan general boarded the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier in January 2017, as the ship was returning home from its combat mission off the coast of Syria. It is a secular entity and has the sole legitimate power in Libya. Since 2014, Egypt has supplied many light and heavy weapons to the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar, which included several MiG-21 fighters. The United Arab Emirates also provides financial support to Haftar and has a small airbase in eastern Libya, including AT-802 turboprop light attack aircraft and WingLoong UAVs which appear to be operated by Erik Prince’s Academi (formerly Blackwater) Private Military Company.

The emergence of the Libyan Interim Government was made possible by the withdrawal of House of Representatives support for the Government of National Accord, whose power has since greatly decreased.

Instead, the chief opponent of the LIG is the Islamic government of the General National Congress, also called the Salvation Government,  which is led by the Muslim Brotherhood with support from a coalition of Islamic groups known as the Dawn of Libya. It is believed that one of the combat groups of the General National Congress was involved in the assassination of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens in 2012. The Muslim Brotherhood are also accused of providing political cover to ISIS during its expansion in Libya before 2014, which is a plausible accusation considering Qatar’s tangible support to both ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood.

It too enjoys international support by Qatar, Turkey, and Sudan, with the former two countries playing roles identical to they played in the Syrian conflict.  Qatar’s considerable contribution includes financial support to the General National Congress and smuggling arms using C-130 military cargo planes in cooperation with Sudan, while Turkey has smuggled arms to the Dawn of Libya using ships. Turkey also benefits from illegal oil trade with the militia, according to unconfirmed reports.

Since 2014, ISIS has had strong influence in much of Libya, especially in Darnah east of Banghazi, but this influence of the terrorist organization has shrunk over time. However, Libya is one of the bases of recruitment and money laundering for ISIS, where ISIS is believed to have received indirect support from Turkey, Qatar and the General National Congress. Moreover, ISIS views Libya as an operating base from which to stage expansion into countries of the Sahel and to aid ISIS cells operating in Tunisia and Egypt.

Completing the list of warring parties, Tuareg forces control southwestern Libya, including Amazigh and Ghat area, and are considered indirect allies of the General National Congress.

Given the balance of forces outlined above, the conflict in Libya would have come to a close years ago had it not been for the direct involvement of the Qatar-Turkey alliance, whose aggressive acts against Syria had likewise escalated that conflict. To be sure, the Qatar-Turkey alliance was one of convenience, with the two parties pursuing different objectives which simply happened to be not mutually exclusive.

For Turkey, the aim of the game at the time was neo-Ottomanism. Both Syria and Libya are, after all, parts of the former Ottoman Empire, with the former being wrested from its grasp by the French and the British at the end of World War I, and the former falling to Italy in Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912. For Qatar, the objective was establishing oneself as a regional power player not only independent of Saudi Arabia but also equivalent to it, a task that would have been greatly facilitated by establishing Qatar-friendly regimes in Libya and Syria, extending Qatar’s control over the region’s hydrocarbons, and gaining access to new markets in Europe. That final point of the Turkey-Qatar strategy was welcome by European factions favoring continued eastward expansion because the Qatari gas pipeline could be used as a political weapon against Russia.

However, that coalition proved too weak to overcome the resistance of legitimate government forces in Libya and Syria, particularly after the direct Russian military involvement in Syria spelled the end of the “Assad must go” campaign, and it never managed to secure the support of the United States for either of its objectives. The US, for its part, attempted to sponsor its own jihadists in Syria or favored the Saudi-led efforts. Therefore it was only a matter of time before either Turkey or Qatar realized its strategy was doomed and sought to pursue a different course of action. Turkey proved the weaker link in that coalition thanks to, ironically, US enlistment of the Kurds as its proxy army in Syria. Faced with an impossible to dislodge Russian presence in Syria, Turkey opted to change its aims to become an “energy gateway” to Europe by joining forces with Russia in the form of the Turkish Stream pipeline.

Worse, while initially the West was generally in favor of any and all forms of “Arab Spring”, including the Turkish-Qatari efforts in both Syria and Libya, by 2016 it was becoming clear the downsides were outweighing the positives. The refugee crisis, in particular, that became a potent political issue threatening the unchallenged liberal status quo had forced a re-evaluation of the policy, lest the likes of Front National or AfD come to power in Europe. Even the US, which did not receive a flood of Middle East refugees, was affected.  On April 11, 2016, Obama was forced to admit that Libya was the “worst mistake” he had committed during his presidency as the mistake was that the United States did not plan for the post-Gaddafi era. He was not doing it because of any sorrow for the citizens of countries he despoiled, but rather because the resulting chaos was now negatively affecting Hillary Clinton’s chances to win.

But it was Donald Trump who delivered what surely will be a fatal blow to Qatar’s international ambitions, first by giving a green light to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to pounce on Qatar, and then directly accusing it of sponsoring terrorists. The ensuing blockade of Qatar meant that the country’s leaders would have little time or money to continue financing militants in Libya or Syria. Indeed, shortly after the Qatar blockade was imposed, the Russian military stated the war in Syria, other than the fighting against ISIS, had practically ground to a standstill.

Considering that Turkey and Qatar have been the main obstacles to ending the war in Libya, Turkey’s defection followed by the US-authorized Saudi political and economic assault on Qatar have implications not only for Syria but also for Libya. Indeed, there are already many signs the political situation in Libya is evolving. Arguably the biggest development in recent months was the release of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi’s son, by a Tobruk-based militia upon a request from the House of Representatives. With Saif al-Islam Gaddafi being wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged atrocities committed by the Libyan government during the 2011 war, the fact of his release indicates the political fortunes are now favoring the House of Representatives and Marshal Haftar, a shift also suggested by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statements in support of Haftar playing  an important role in Libyan politics and the new French President Macron’s admission the war in Libya was a major mistake.

But here the Western officials seem to be following the trends rather than making them, as the root cause of the shift appears to be the sudden weakening of Qatar’s positions in the region. Egypt is a clear beneficiary of that weakening and is intent on pressing its advantage, to the point of pro-Sisi Egyptian media actually advocating bombing of Qatar. The Qatari disarray is also made apparent by LNA’s recent announcement that the Qatari opposition has provided the LNA with a list of Libyan citizens who worked for Qatar’s intelligence services.

Qatar’s situation is not an enviable one. For the time being Turkey’s military support and the US unwillingness to allow Saudi Arabia to utterly devastate Qatar are enough to allow it to maintain a brave face. But in the longer term it needs to find an accommodation with at least one of the key power players in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, US, or…Russia. The fact of growing Turkey-Russia cooperation on a variety of issues and Qatar’s outreach to Russia in the form of a foreign minister visit and the simplification of visa rules for Russian citizens, suggests that Qatar is at least contemplating realigning its alliance membership. However, considering that all of the three above-named powers are on the opposite side of the barricades as far as Libya is concerned, it seems unlikely Qatar can maintain its proxy war there even with Turkey’s support. Therefore, almost no matter what Qatar decides to do next, it will have no choice but to write off Libya as a total loss, an act that will hasten the end of this tragic six-year war.

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