Implications of Turkey's Pivot to Tripoli

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Soner Cagaptay and Ben Fishman - Turkish President Erdogan has announced that he was willing to deploy troops in Libya to counter the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who is threatening to take Tripoli by force. Ankara's Libya policy stems from its isolation in the East Mediterranean. Erdogan's support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in 2011-2012 cost him dearly after that government was ousted by mass protests. And when he refused to recognize the subsequent government of President al-Sisi, he alienated Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who supported Sisi and were deeply concerned about the role of the Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Turkey's support for rebel groups in Syria put it at odds with Damascus and Iran, as well as Tehran's allies inside Lebanon and the Iraqi government. In short, Ankara's loss of regional partners was nearly total by 2014, setting the stage for Turkey's turn to Tripoli. Egypt and the UAE were worried about the ascent of political Islam in Libya and eager to undermine Erdogan, so they quickly backed Gen. Haftar and his avowed "anti-Islamist" agenda. Among other assistance, they carried out airstrikes on his behalf.

2019-12-27 00:00:00

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