LIBYA CORRESPONDENT Tripoli, 6th January 2020 -The US Embassy in Libya has released a statement warning of the dangers of “toxic” foreign interference in Libya, such as the arrival of Syrian fighters supported by Turkey. The Embassy appealed to all Libyan parties to end this dangerous involvement of foreign forces, which is contributing to civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure of all Libyans. From April 4th, 2019 the Libyan National Army (LNA), under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, started military operations to free the Libyan capital Tripoli from criminal militias and terrorists supported by the Government of National Accord (GNA) represented by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.
With two Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) on military cooperation and maritime area jurisdiction, signed in Ankara on 27 November 2019 by Serraj and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Libyan government authorized the Turkish invasion and sold the resources of Libyan people in exchange of logistical and military support from Ankara. According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ reports, Turkey has already sent over 1000 Syrian fighters and extremists against the LNA to Libya from Syria. After presenting itself as democratic for years, the Government of Fayez al-Serraj has publicly showed its affiliation to Muslim Brotherhood and close collaboration with extremist groups such as Daesh, al-Qaeda and the officially dissolved Ansar al-Sharia, which has used to carry out attacks across the country in an attempt to assert its own territorial legitimacy. In fact, it is known that the majority of the Tripoli-based government cabinet members belongs to the militant group of the Brotherhood. In past years Fayez al-Serraj has replaced all key figures and heads of state-owned companies’ boards with Brotherhood leaders, including the Post and Telecommunication Authority, the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Central Bank (CBL).
Al-Serraj publicly allying with Turkey threatens the security of the region and in particular of the European Union. After the first weeks of military operations, the Libyan premier had threatened Europe to send 800,000 migrants currently detained to detention centres run by its armed militias. Since early June, following the failure to respond to the request for weapons from Europe, landings on the Italian, Greek and Maltese coasts from Libya have increased significantly. Interpol warned member States of the risk of jihadist infiltrations among migrants arriving from the Libyan west coast. Erdogan is blackmailing Europe’s security by transporting terrorists from Syria to Libya, which is close to European countries. In fact, it is not possible to determine what will be of these Syrian rebels in the short and long term. A real risk if we consider that those responsible for the major attacks on European soil were coming from or directly connected to Libya, including Salman Obeidi, author of the bomb attack in Manchester arena.
Libyans have the right to reject Turkish interference in their country’s internal affairs. Field Marshal Haftar launched an appeal to the Nation last Friday for all Libyans to arm themselves in response to sending Turkish troops to Libya in support of the Tripoli government. “We accept the challenge and declare jihad and a call to arms, men and women, soldiers and civilians, to defend our land and our dignity”. He said in a television speech. Local councils, cities and tribes took to the streets to say no to the Turkish invasion. The councils of the Werfalla, Tuareg, al-Hasnawnah and Gadadfa tribes said they were ready to fight to reject Erdogan’s Ottoman neo-colonialism. Even Aisha al-Gaddafi, daughter of former Libyan leader sent after years of silence a message to her people: “When Turkish shoes contaminate my country for which our martyrs have shed their blood, if there is nobody among you to repel this aggression, leave the scene to Libya’s thirst. I will be in the front row. Look at your people, there are no more excuses”.