Erdogan's Desperate Gambit in Libya

(Israel Hayom) Oded Granot - Turkish President Erdogan plans to deploy troops to Tripoli, Libya, in a desperate attempt to shift the balance of power in the civil war in favor of the side with an overtly Islamist government against retired Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. The battle experience of Haftar's army, the larger sums of money the Saudis have given him, the close assistance he is getting from Egypt, and the drones he has received from the UAE have helped Haftar seize almost all of Libya. Ahead of a final push to conquer Tripoli, Haftar has received military aid from Russia. And precisely as he did in Syria, Putin sent more than 1,000 mercenaries from the "Wagner Group" to assist Haftar. The truth is that the Turkish-Libyan alliance isn't an indication of Erdogan's power, rather the exact opposite. It is a reflection of his desire to ease his isolation and buy another friend, aside from Turkish Cyprus, which is his only other ally in the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel won't mourn the fall of Tripoli if Haftar takes it. His victory would unquestionably annul Tripoli's new maritime agreement with Turkey that threatens a planned underwater gas pipeline to Europe - a joint project of Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel. The writer headed the Middle East desk and was senior commentator at Israel Television - Channel 1 (2001-2017).

2020-01-03 00:00:00

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