Egypt’s Sisi talks tough over Libya conflict

Egypt will not stand idly by and watch while foreign powers mired in the conflict in Libya threaten its own…

Egypt will not stand idly by and watch while foreign powers mired in the conflict in Libya threaten its own home security, warned President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.Speaking to parliamentarians in Cairo during a teleconference on Thursday, President Sisi made the position of his country in the Libya crisis clear, saying it would respond appropriately if its security is endangered by the conflict in its restive neighbour.

Egypt under President Sisi backs Khalifa Hafter-led rebels fighting to wrest control of the Libyan capital Tripoli from the internationally backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

According to Sisi his troops are capable of changing the dynamics of the military situation in Libya if his country is provoked to do so by Turkey’s intervention in support of the GNA. 

Earlier on Friday a Turkish cargo plane landed in Libya’s al-Watiya air base, 125km west of Tripoli with fighters and military equipment bound for GNA troops.

Haftar’s allies based in Benghazi reportedly visited Caro and requested President Sisi to intervene in Libya on their behalf and “kick the Turks out”.

Since the beginning of July, Egyptian forces have been involved in military exercises near the Libya border.

Some analysts say this amounts to the North African country flexing its military muscle before a possible deployment of its troops to its restive neighbour.

Egypt fear that fighters of the GNA based in Tripoli with support from Turkey may be planning an offensive on the city of Sirte and an airbase in the town of Al-Jufra adjacent to its “oil crescent”. 

The latest belligerent statement from Cairo comes as Turkey sends more mercenaries and military equipment to Libya in support of the GNA including transport planes. 

Troops loyal to the GNA with help from Turkey have defeated an invasion of Tripoli by Haftar’s forces and have been on the offensive in the southeast of Libya since then.

Russia and the United Arab Emirates are on the side of Egypt in its support for Haftar, providing his forces with weapons and other forms of military aid to prosecute the conflict against the GNA. 

Libya descended into anarchy shortly after the overthrow and assassination of long-term ruler Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.