Libya war – US and Russia’s new battleground
The Libya war is raging as we speak. The oil rich country is now in a big mess. And, it is becoming the main war theater in the Middle-East along with Syria.
The way the geopolitical chess is being played, this promises to be another Afghanistan. Read Af-Pak historical account.
Libya war – the two sides
On one side is the so-called Tripoli administration, which is also known as the Government of National Accord (GNA). This is led by Libya’s UN-backed prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj. In 2014 elections, the incumbent MPs in the parliament did not leave as they they were supposed to. So, the new MPS moved to the Libyan town of Tobruk. That is why they are called the Tobruk administration. (BBC) They are backed by the Libyan National Army.
This map shows how the forces are distributed over the Libyan territory.
Russia supports the Libyan National Army (LNA). Khalifa Belqasim Haftar is the commander of LNA. LNA is involved in the Second Civil War – specifically when LNA replaced the elected municipal councils in Libya with military administrators.Haftar’s men have enforced a
The Libyan Arab Armed Forces (citing grievances of eastern tribes) imposed an oil blockade of the eastern oil ports in January that has starved Libya’s state revenues, costing over $4.35 billion according to National Oil Corporation numbers.(Source)
So the battle lines in Libya are drawn. An oil-rich country has been reduced to a pauper.
International Games in Libya war
And, now Malta with the obvious help of US, has been able to bust a large tranche of $1.1 billion of counterfeit currency being pumped into Libya by Russia.
The counterfeit money was “printed by Joint Stock Company Goznak – a Russian state-owned company – and ordered by an illegitimate parallel entity,” the State Department said in a statement, commending Malta for successfully confiscating the fake dinars. “The influx of counterfeit, Russian-printed Libyan currency in recent years has exacerbated Libya’s economic challenges,” the statement added. (Source: Malta seizes $1.1 billion worth of counterfeit Libyan currency printed in Russia | Daily Sabah)
Kremlin is fighting in Syria and Libya through its proxy forces from private militia – Wagner Group. The Russian MiG-29 fighter jets have been protecting the Wagner Group and LNA forces. (Source)
This group – Haftar and Russia backed Wagner – is protected by the coalition of United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt who provide them with arms, mercenaries and cover fire via the air strikes. (Source)
This group unexpectedly faced reverses due to belligerence of Turkey.
“In the last few weeks, there has been a significant change in balance in Libya,” said a senior Turkish official, crediting Turkish drones and “untrained soldiers” operating LNA air defences.Haaretz
So, incredibly US and Turkey on the same side, while UAE and Russia are the opposite side.
And, now with the success of the drone attacks on the Russia backed forces, the real kingmaker in Libya is Turkey. Here is the cast of the strange bed-fellows.
The Turkish influence is not lost on the other powers in that region and Europe. So, a new alliance has been created between France, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and the UAE – to counter balance Turkish moves in Libya.
Egypt has announced an anti-Turkey alliance that includes Greece, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and France to confront Turkish moves in Libya and the Mediterranean. (Source)
When countries of the region are worried about the Turkish influence and impact, it means that there is something interesting going on and that country is gaining in strength.
Turkey – the Global Islamic Power
While the Pakistanis have restricted their relevance to the South Asian theater mostly with Afghanistan as their main area of influence, Turkey is playing a bigger game. It is taking on both US, while in concert with Russia in Syria and in taking on Russia, while in concert with the US side. Now, that is pretty incredibly bold set of moves!
So when you see Turkey trying to act up against India and making deep forays into Pakistan and its Prime Minister, Imran Khan trying to promote the Turkish TV dramas, you should know where that sudden coziness and confidence stems from.
Its the geopolitical alignments getting restructured. And Pakistan is banking on Turkish bravado!