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Turkish-backed Sarraj Is on the Verge of Losing Tripoli

Did Putin Call for A Ceasefire in Libya With Erdoğan Knowing That Haftar Would Reject It?

Submitted by InfoBrics, authored by Paul Antonopoulos, Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies…

Italy, Russia and Turkey have been pressing for an end to the war in Libya between the Parliament-backed Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Turkish-backed Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. Pressure to put an end to the LNA offensive was received by General Khalifa Haftar, who continues to advance on jihadist forces loyal to the GNA, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin made a joint statement to “declare a sustainable ceasefire, supported by the necessary measures to be taken for stabilizing the situation on the ground and normalizing daily life in Tripoli and other cities,” with the ceasefire to begin at midnight on Sunday. The Libyan general also had a private meeting on Wednesday with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who called on Haftar to order the cessation of military action, as according to Conte, the only viable solution is a political solution.

Although the LNA’s efforts to liberate Libyan territory from the GNA began in April, it slowly grinded down to a halt and stalemate. However, Erdoğan in a gross miscalculation that left him isolated and with no international support, set tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean alight when him and GNA leader, Fayez al-Sarraj, an ethnic Turk himself, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in late November 2019 that redrew maritime borders that massively infringed on Greece’s maritime space.

Haftar took every advantage of the renewed tensions between Turkey and Greece and successfully swayed Athens to withdraw relations with the internationally recognized GNA and back the LNA. This was important as Greece became the first NATO and EU member to openly back the LNA, sparking a new offensive by the LNA against the GNA. Since the signing of the memorandum between Erdoğan and Sarraj, Egypt has not only provided weaponry and equipment to the LNA, Cairo has threatened to attack Turkey if it involves itself in Libya just as the United Arab Emirates continues to conduct airstrikes against the GNA.

The LNA with renewed and strengthened international support just days ago liberated the symbolic city of Sirte, the birthplace of Libya’s historic leader, Muammar Gaddafi. This is a major blow as the LNA has now also officially reached Tripoli and is only a few kilometres from the center of Libya’s capital. The simultaneous operations have meant that the GNA, whose forces just days ago beheaded an LNA scout in similar fashion to ISIS barbarity, is not only feeling pressure in the capital, but LNA forces have continued their offensive beyond Sirte and are now only 100 kilometers from Misrata. This will surely divide GNA forces considering many of the militias fighting in Tripoli on the side of the GNA are originally from Misrata, the first major city to fall during the NATO-backed destruction of Libya in 2011.

Saraj had contacts with top European Union officials this week, who also called for an end to armed violence, however they failed to convince Haftar to end military operations. Turkey has already sent military supplies, military advisers and Syria-based jihadists to Libya. Any ceasefire will only allow GNA forces to regroup and resupply while the LNA would lose its momentum with the massive advances they are currently making.

Russia has little influence over the LNA and there is no incentive for the LNA to accept the ceasefire. In Syria, Russia has strongly supported Damascus economically and militarily, while Turkey has supported jihadist groups. However, Syria is not Libya, with the LNA relying on Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is for this reason that Haftar has unconditionally rejected the call for a ceasefire as they have vowed to defeat Turkish-backed forces unconditionally. The LNA is more heavily reliant on air support and intelligence from the Abu Dhabi, and material support and intelligence from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Putin, despite making the joint statement for a ceasefire with Erdoğan, likely would have known the LNA were going to reject the ceasefire request. It is likely that Putin did so as an act of good will to preserve the strengthening Russian-Turkish economic and cultural relations just as the Turkstream pipeline was inaugurated on Wednesday. Therefore, Putin made the call for a ceasefire knowing full well it would be rejected. As the LNA continues to approach Misrata, it is likely the militias originally from Misrata will leave Tripoli for their own hometown, further weakening the GNA’s defences in Tripoli, which will lead to the LNA liberating the capital city. Haftar will not surrender his advantage for a ceasefire with forces who are serving Turkish interests and behead their soldiers in an ISIS-like fashion.

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Olivia Kroth
January 10, 2020

Libya rejects foreign countries meddling in their affairs. Libya wants to regain its sovereignty without Turkey and Russia meddling.

slavonac
slavonac
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
January 11, 2020

And what about meddling by US,UK,GER,FR,IT ? The same countries that started it all and whom you (innocently?) forgot to mention?

Queen of the Harpies
Queen of the Harpies
Reply to  slavonac
January 11, 2020

“I came, I saw, I meddled Libya to death, then on I flew on to Syria.”

PS: Ovid described Harpies as human-vultures. Obama described them as the wings of democracy. I’m with Ovid.

F_K the EU. They'll do as they're told.
F_K the EU. They'll do as they're told.
Reply to  Queen of the Harpies
January 11, 2020

And sent mere underlings on to Ukraine, eh?

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Queen of the Harpies
January 11, 2020

The Libyan people have a right to mistrust foreign intervention of all sorts. Where were those “helpers” from the outside, when Libya got bombed to rubble and ashes by NATO, in 2011, and the Leader Muammar Gadaffi murdered? Now those foreign harpies are after his son, Saif al-Islam Gadaffi, but they cannot catch him. The Libyan tribes are hiding and protecting him inside Libya. He is venerated as the heir of the Great Leader of the former Yamahirya. The ICC (International Criminal Court) is a joke. All Africans detest it. aawsat.com REPORTS: Cairo – Jamal Jawhar 14.11.2019 Libyan parties have… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
January 11, 2020

LIBYA EXPRESS reports: Haftar says Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi has every right to run for Libya president 15 Oct 2019 Khalifa Haftar told Sputnik that Moammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif Al-Islam, has every right to run for president in Libya. Haftar told Sputnik in an interview that there was no enmity between him and Gaddafi’s son. When asked about Saif Islam Gaddafi’s plans to run in the upcoming presidential election, Haftar said: “He is a Libyan citizen. If the legal conditions are met, it is his natural right (to participate in the elections).” Haftar indicated that it was not his concern “if… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
January 11, 2020

LIBYA NEWS AGENCY (LANA): Algeria Plans To Launch Political Initiatives For A Peaceful Solution In Libya. Algeria, 03.01.2020 – Lana – The Algerian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sabri Boukadoum confirmed that his country will carry out several initiatives in the next few days towards a peaceful solution to the crisis in Libya. He said in a statement to the press on the sidelines of sending humanitarian aid to Libya that in the next few days, Algeria will undertake many initiatives towards a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis, and only between Libyans. He urged all Libyan parties to stop the… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
January 11, 2020

LIBYA NEWS AGENCY (LANA): Tunisian President Saied: Libyan People Are Our Brethren – Whatever Harms Them, Harms Us Too. Tunis, 2 January 2020(Lana) – Tunisian President Kais Saied urged key Libyan players to work towards Libyan legitimacy, which reflects the will of the people away from bloodshed. In his televised speech addressed to the Tunisian people, Saied said, ‘the Libyans are our brothers, whatever hurts them, hurts Tunisians as well. Whatever pleases them, certainly pleases us.’ Referring to the initiative he launched at a meeting with Libyan prominent personalities in the Tunisian capital, Saied said it was based on the… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
January 11, 2020

aawsat.com reports: Libya: LNA Advances in South of Misrata – Saturday, 11 January, 2020 – Cairo – Khalid Mahmoud The Libyan National Army (LNA) said its forces secured more advances towards al-Hesha Reserve, south of Misrata, adding that it inflicted heavy losses among the militias. Media center of LNA’s Dignity Operations Room also issued a brief statement announcing the forces’ advancement, meanwhile, LNA’s navy declared Misrata and al-Khoms ports as military operations areas. The navy called on shipping agencies to refrain from sending their commercial ships to those ports. During his recent meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in… Read more »

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