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How Will Haftar Forces React on Turkey’s Military Deployment in Libya?

It is only a warning sign until now, but the situation has gone out of hands in Libya with Turkey commencing to deploy troops and specialized equipment to fight the Libyan National Army (LNA), controlled by Khalifa Haftar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday and confirmed the arrival of first contingent of armed forces in the African nation. The President orchestrated that his move was to help the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez al-Sarraj, and end the offensive that began in April last year.

The Libya civil war has been a caliphate fought with different perspectives ever since its inception after the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi. While civilians have lost lives for no good, multiple nations have also made in roads, seeking to exploit the resources and make financial gains. The side is vastly exploited by Khalifa Haftar and his backers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Russia, who control much of eastern and southern Libya.

The waning side of Libya civil war is how a once prosperous nation is now reeling to survive the economic outfall, despite having abundant resources. Plan for peace in Libya reads reaching truce to stop the attacks on the nation’s capital Tripoli. However, the reality seems dazed, as UAE continues to play big cards in order to quench its thirst with the Libyan oil.

Back in 2018, officials in the UAE were reportedly involved in covert talks with Khalifa Haftar to assist him in exporting the Libyan oil using the UN approved channels and also to facilitate independent oil sales through Emirati companies.

However, the definition has made a quick transition with UAE’s growing involvement and given more power to LNA, which has partner in crimes to assist the situation in the oil-rich nation. Therefore, not only is the UAE deriving oil benefits, but also making technologically advanced weapons available to conduct attacks on Tripoli.

Consequently, the presence of Russian mercenaries has also turned the matter sour. As the New York Times informed, hundreds of Russian mercenaries, mostly trained and well-armed are fighting for the military commander. As reported, the private military has been in the nation since September and have been contracted by the Wagner Group.

Notably, Wagner Group has previously been named in Syria, the Central African Republic, Ukraine and other countries vital to Kremlin’s diplomatic interests.

Turkey vs UAE and Russia?

In what could be best perceived from the ongoing clash of parties, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had enough of warnings from UN and his sole responsibility stands with supporting GNA. The move that implies direct contradiction to UAE’s and Russia’s strategy in the nation.

For now, Turks have placed no more than 50 members of the armed forces consisting mostly of special operations personnel. The military men will train western Libyan armed forces and technicians to operate KORAL, a Turkish electronic warfare system designed to destroy drones and precision weapons used by Haftar and his backers to rage havoc from air.

“The government in Tripoli is suffering a lot from airstrikes that could be prevented with strong electronic warfare,” said Tarek Cherkaoui, a north Africa specialist at TRT World Research Centre, a think tank affiliated with Turkey’s state broadcaster. “From the beginning, because [the Libyan government] relies on small units not working in a coordinated manner, they have needed a strong command and control structure that Turkey is going to help them build,” he added.

Now, at stake is the future of the nation, which has been amidst war for almost nine years. And with different factions now head-to-head for fighting each other on African soil, Turkey’s inward movement has made certain that battle lines looking to push each other out of the way have already been drawn.

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