twitter

Friday, February 12, 2016

Egypt warns foreign military intervention in Libya should await invitation by new GNA

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said there should be international military intervention in Libya only after the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) is formed and requests military aid.

Shoukry was in Washington for talks with the Obama administration. He said “the Libyan people should undertake the decisions related to the fight against terrorism and how it should be conducted and what form of assistance should be provided to it. This should be a Libyan-led process defined by the Libyan people.” U.S. intelligence claims the Islamic State headquarters in Syria is directing new recruits to Libya, where it believes it can expand its territory during the political divisions. It already controls the city of Sirte, ironically the home town of anti-Islamist Gadaffi, and considerable coastal areas to the west and especially to the east. It has even been able to mount attacks on key oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sidra.

There are already Special Forces from several nations within eastern Libya. Egypt itself has been providing air and other support for Khalifa Haftar, commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army of the internationally-recognized House of Represtentatives(HoR) government. Officials claims no decisions had been made about US involvement after a National Security Council meeting last month. However, John Kerry US Secretary of State, warned at a recent meeting in Rome that the international community must prevent the Islamic State from obtaining a "stronghold" over Libya. He along with many others pressed for agreement on a unity government.

However, after rejection of the first GNA by the HoR for being too large, the GNA Presidency Council has yet to be able to gain agreement on a new smaller list of names for ministries. Even after being given 10 days to do so, the GNA has asked for more time to produce a new list. The name for the defense minister is a particularly thorny issue. Pro-Haftar members of the GNA insist insist either he or someone he approves be minister. This is not acceptable to members from the west and the General National Congress (GNC) government in Tripoli. Egypt has long supported Haftar.
In May 2014, Haftar launched Operation Dignity, a military campaign against Islamists in Libya, an operation that to a considerable extent is a prime cause of the present conflict. Haftar believes that among the Islamists to be confronted and beaten are those associated with the Libya Dawn, the foremost militia group supporting the GNC government. Shoukry said: “We have to recognize that [Haftar’s forces] are an important component . . . in the battle against expansion of the terrorists.” Egypt has been promoting Haftar as a nominee for defense minister in the new GNA government, a nomination completely rejected by Islamists and others from the GNC. They consider Haftar a war criminal who should be excluded from any role in the GNA.


No comments: