Turkish military intervention has turned tide in war-torn Libya – Jerusalem Post
Turkey’s military support for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in the battle for the capital Tripoli has seen the “chaotic and largely failed” GNA turn the tide against forces led by General Khalifa Haftar, the Jerusalem Post said in an op-ed.
“Much of the effort by the GNA appears to have been accomplished without major fighting and there are hints of a secret deal or some kind of compromise that has been made by the backers of both Haftar and the GNA,” the Israeli newspaper said.
Turkey and Qatar have thrown their support behind the Tripoli-based GNA, while the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA) is backed by Russia, along with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and France.
Analysts say Turkey’s contributions were vital in helping the GNA seize the al-Watiya airbase last Monday, as Turkish drones and artillery had pounded the base for weeks before LNA forces retreated. Turkey has also reportedly flown in thousands of fighters from allied militias in Syria to aid in the Libyan struggle.
Meanwhile, Soviet-era Russian jets were reported to have arrived at the LNA’s al-Jufra airbase to bolster the Tobruk-based group’s firepower. In December, Russia also reportedly sent mercenaries of the Kremlin-linked Wagner group to support Haftar.
“In order to break Haftar, Turkey has used the same recipe it used in eastern Syria. First Turkey begins to mobilize its pro-government media to label Haftar a ‘terrorist’ and ‘warlord’ and ‘coup supporter’,” the Jerusalem Post said, claiming there was no evidence that the LNA had a worse human rights record than the GNA.
“Turkey then fed western media stories about Haftar being supplied by the Syrian regime and Iran,” the article said. “The goal of all this was to portray Haftar as part of a new Russian-Iranian axis in Libya.”
Ankara has “learned the recipe of dealing with the West” by labelling as “terrorists” opposing factions that Turkey pushes into the sphere of Russia and the Moscow-backed Syrian government.
“It is a recipe that works well because most groups when being attacked will not choose to disband themselves but seek support elsewhere,” the Jerusalem Post said, referring to the Kurdish-majority People’s Protection Units (YPG). The Syrian militia fought against the Islamic State with U.S. backing until Washington pulled out its troops in October, leaving the YPG to face a Turkish offensive in northern Syria and turn to Damascus for support.
Turkey deployed its military force and bolstered opposition forces in a bid to halt an offensive by the Syrian government to recapture Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.
“Turkey appears to want to use Libya as a dumping ground for (Syrian mercenaries), paying them to secure Turkey’s energy interests and keeping them distracted while Ankara gives up pieces of Idlib to the Syrian regime.”