International and regional countries are cautiously monitoring the escalation of fighting in the Libyan capital Tripoli, amid intensive diplomatic and political efforts to contain any escalation that may extend to neighbouring countries, while Turkey continues to send disturbing signals.
Rallying on the front lines
The dangerous field developments in the course of military operations in western Libya created accelerated political and diplomatic mobility at the regional and international levels considering the subsequent military, political and strategic balances dictated by interests that intersect them, despite the complex nature of the Libyan scenario.
This movement is reflected in phone consultations that have taken place during the past two days between senior international political actors regarding developments in Libya, seeking to contain the escalation to avoid the risk of a regional confrontation exacerbated by Turkey’s provocations in Libya and neighbouring countries, Egypt, Algeria and Sudan.
New information emerged during the past 24 hours confirming that the situation in Libya is pushing towards a new round of fighting between the Turkish-backed militias of Fayez al-Sarraj and the Libyan armed forces led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter who has vowed to defeat the Turkish-Qatari Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.
The Libyan army, finding themselves in a difficult situation due to Turkey’s use of NATO technology, reinforced their air force with sophisticated Sukhi and MiG-25 combat aircraft capable of dealing with the radars of Turkish air defense systems deployed extensively In western Libya and Misrata.
Libyan Army Air Force Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Saqr Al-Jarushi declared that the Libyan Air Force was “about to carry out the largest air operation in the history of Libya,” which is confirmed by the mounting warnings in the capital, Tripoli, where an unprecedented escalation of military operations is anticipated.
Jaroushi’s statements that “the coming hours will be very painful for the fool and his followers in Libya”, in reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sparked panic among the militias that expressed their fears through social media. Lt. Gen. Saqr Al-Jarushi affirmed that “all Turkish sites and interests in all occupied cities in Libya are legitimate targets for the Libyan army’s air force fighters”, while he issued a final warning to “conceited militias to surrender or they will be annihilated.”
Bloomberg reported that “the Libyan army air force will carry out a series of unprecedented air strikes on Turkish military targets in Libya.” Fathi Pashaga, Minister of Interior of Al-Wefaq Government, was quoted, saying that “the Al-Wefaq government has received information that at least 8 Soviet-era aircraft (six MiG-29 and two Sukhoi 24) arrived in eastern Libya from a Russian air base in Syria.”
The sources of Al Arabs expect that the new round of fighting will be much more violent and that this is why explains the Libyan crisis has the attention of regional and international parties that include the most influential capitals in the world, from Moscow to Washington to Paris to Ankara.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoglu, during which they discussed the developments of the situation in Libya, where the Russian Foreign Ministry indicated in a statement that “the importance of the immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of the political process under the auspices of the United Nations was noted with the obligatory participation of Libyan parties to resolve the crisis on the basis of the decisions of the Berlin Conference, approved by the Security Council”.
French President Emmanuel Macron stated that ending the conflict in Libya “has become an important and urgent necessity”, during a telephone conversation with his American counterpart Donald Trump, during which their concerns about the increase in foreign intervention in Libya were expressed in a clear message to Turkey.
This French interest coincided with monitoring movements of a French AWACS plane over the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, accompanied by a number of Rafale fighters that flew over the city of Misrata, raising concerns of the Tripoli government who accused France of violating Libyan airspace.
While the intentions of the upcoming French moves regarding Libya are not known, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received a phone call from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union Affairs and Spanish Cooperation Arancha Gonzalez Laya and Italy ‘s Foreign Minister, Luigi de Mayo, during which developments in the region, including developments in Libya, were discussed.
Translation by Internationalist 360°