January 10, 2020
All of our focus was on Iran the last couple of days, but for some reason Libya decided to go full Mad Max without warning anybody, and now we’re playing catch-up here.
What in the world is going down in Libya that Putin and Erdogan suddenly feel the need to intervene?
General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army, has rejected the ceasefire proposed by the Russian and Turkish presidents as a way to de-escalate the hostilities with the government in Tripoli.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a truce in Libya during their meeting on Wednesday in Istanbul, after Turkey sent troops and equipment to Tripoli in support of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
We’ve written about General Haftar before and it is important to brush up on who he is and whose side he’s on to really get the feel for the situation unfolding in Libya. In short, the good general spent decades in the US surrounded by Langley spooks and then he was sent over to Libya during the NATO coup against General Gaddafi that led to the two city civil war between Tripoli and Benghazi.
It’s hard to say what his game is now.
Haftar’s LNA controls most of Libya, however, and has been advancing on Tripoli in recent days. He rejected the idea of a ceasefire on Thursday, after returning from Rome, where Italy tried without success to mediate a deal between the LNA and GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj.
The general also declared jihad against Turkey last week, after the parliament in Ankara voted to approve the troop deployment.
Declaring jihad on Turkey sounds pretty cool, to be quite honest.
Declaring Holy War on your enemies should definitely become a thing again.
But it is unclear what Erdogan hopes to achieve by propping up Tripoli against Haftar’s army. The general stands poised to reunite Libya again and restore order to the region where masses of Africans are smuggled to Europe and Mad Max Islamic warbands fight for control of oil-producing centers.
Libya right now.
But Haftar is almost certainly some sort of NATO spook – it just remains to be seen how tightly he is controlled. We just don’t know yet. The confusion is compounded by the fact that the people in Tripoli are also all spooks – diaspora Libyans who were sitting tight in London and France and then sent over to take out Gaddafi just like Haftar.
As far as I can tell, this is some sort of spook civil war. So, my first instinct is to just shrug.
But I suppose Putin and Erdogan both feel like they have something to gain by stepping into this situation.
For one thing, almost all the fighters in Syria fighting Bashar al-Assad were ferried over from Libya. The entire country has become a giant Sunni terrorist training camp. Turkey used to be knee-deep in all of this when it was just getting started and clearly still is now. One of their main guys is a militia commander named Salah Badi who fought Gaddafi and is now fighting Haftar on the side of Tripoli, where he is based.
He was trained by the Turks and then sent over to cause a ruckus.
Clearly, the Turks want their own spooks running the show in Libya.
Russia’s angle seems to be simpler: if you can put a somewhat decent dictator in charge of the country, the flow of weapons and money and terrorists can be slowed down. I don’t know who the Russians have in mind at this moment, but I’m almost certain that they’re not happy with either spook as things stand.
We’re going to have to see what Putin’s masterplan is here and whether he’s able to keep up with slippery Erdogan and his harebrained schemes!