Libya: The next NATO crisis

Die Welt recently reported: There is considerable resistance to support from NATO soldiers, both within the alliance and in the EU “.

Source: AFP

The original article has been published in Heise.de by Thomas Panny. Translation and editing by Defenseweek’s team.



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The EU mission “Irini” in the Mediterranean exacerbates tensions with Turkey. In addition, new information about connections of the GNA unity government with extremist Islamists comes to light.

So whether the German government’s Libya conference would not have existed: The arms deliveries to the warring parties continue and there can be no talk of a ceasefire in the failed state. The tensions also cause problems within NATO.

The EU Mediterranean Mission Irini has to do without NATO support – “reconnaissance and logistics, such as refueling of ships”, Die Welt recently reported: There is considerable resistance to support from NATO soldiers, both within the alliance and in the EU “.

The main reasons given are the monitoring of arms transports to Libya and the controls that are the aim of the mission and that harbor the potential for conflict with a NATO alliance partner: Turkey is against NATO’s support of the Irini mission. It supports the Libyan National Consensus Government (GNA) under the leadership of Fayiz Sarradsch with supplies of weapons and fighters.

Special relationships

The UN arms embargo is of no concern to the Turkish government, nor are the resolutions of the conference in Berlin at the beginning of January that all arms deliveries and any interference in the military conflicts in Libya should be avoided. For the interests in Ankara the Mediterranean agreement with the GNA government and the military assistance agreement are more important.

Turkey has had special ties to Libya since the Ottoman Empire, the business relationships that have existed between Turkey and Libya for a long time are to be expanded, and Ankara has a keen interest in increasing its share of fossil energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean to secure.

The contract with the Libyan GNA government provides her with a basis that she considers relevant. The interests of other NATO countries, especially Greece, contradict this. The EU, the Republic of Cyprus and Israel are also opposed to Turkish claims. Malta sees itself drawn into the conflict and threatens to block the recently launched EU military operation.

How should the EU stop ships from Turkey?

How should EU Mission ships behave towards a Turkish ship that, according to air surveillance information, may bring weapons and / or fighters to Libya, possibly reinforced by other reconnaissance? And how would the situation be if the EU mission was supported by NATO ships in the Mediterranean?

Coloring these scenarios also put NATO at a distance from the EU mission, even though its ships were on site. In addition, there were further considerations, which were made from a different perspective: If NATO is involved in the EU mission, Turkey as a member country would also have access to educational data on events in the eastern Mediterranean, which it could use to its advantage and for Disadvantage from other NATO and EU countries.

For example from France. The French government also has energy interests. In Libya it supports the opponent of the GNA government, the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) under the leadership of General Haftar. While Macron and his foreign minister, Le Drian, are keen to show externally that they are listening to both sides, Sarradsch and Haftar, it is an open secret that Paris support for Haftar is significant.

Macron and Erdogan cross over

It’s also no secret that Macron crosses Erdogan on many fronts. This has also led to a loud noise in NATO.

The fronts are now hardening. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs raged against France, the United Arab Emirates and Greece.

In Libya, the Turkish support of the GNA government and its allied militias is a strong military counterpart for the LNA, which is now more vulnerable. The increased military engagement from Ankara with the aforementioned contracts has changed the weight.

This in turn means that the other side also reacts by strengthening their interests and proxies. Haftar’s militia alliance also receives arms support from international partners – primarily from the United Arab Emirates, according to many reports, also from Russia. From this side, too, the decisions of the Berlin Libya Conference only play a minor role.

The war, which currently shows no clear advantages for one side, is part of conflicts on several levels; local, regional, tribal, ethnic conflicts use multiple flywheels. There are also old Gaddafi accounts and fundamentalist camps.

Connections to al Qaeda

Now that the GNA government has been silent for some time, accusing the GNA government of supporting terrorists – Libya’s “liberation” from the terrorists is Haftar’s main argument – the allegations are now being brought back into the information circle. The links between the GNA and its supporter militias to extremists and al-Qaida are obvious.

The evidence for this is now being forwarded by the Libyan journalist Mohamed Eljarh. It is noteworthy that current US Secretary of State Pompeo and Hillary Clinton play a role in this.

The trench war continues, as does the dispute over the Muslim Brotherhood, where the opposition between Saudi Arabia and Turkey is a great explosive device.

The more the corona epidemic falls into the background of reporting, the more clearly it could be shown that the war in Libya has assumed or has long since assumed the dimensions that one wanted to prevent. The Syrian militias are not the only indication of this.

The fact that in the meantime obvious fake news was believed and adopted, which propagated that Syrian militias were making their way to Europe from Libya, indicates which particular conflict material also holds Libya ready for German politics – and how much more so now than ever depends on what messages and backgrounds are believed. [end]