Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, warned of the readiness of his country's army to intervene both within and outside its borders, in a clear reference to the conflict in neighbouring Libya, where a civil war is being waged between the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the capital Tripoli and represented by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, and the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Marshal Khalifa Haftar and associated with the other eastern Tobruk Executive.
The North African leader confirmed on Saturday that his country's army is one of the strongest in the Middle East and is capable of defending the nation's internal and external security. In a brief speech to military detachments in the western region near the border with Libya, Al-Sisi urged them to be prepared "to be ready to carry out any mission outside the country, if necessary". "Any direct intervention in Libya will be aimed at securing the border and a ceasefire," the president said, adding that "any direct intervention by Egypt now has international legitimacy, especially as foreign countries continue to arm extremist militias," and that "some think they can trespass on the Sirte or Al-Jura frontline. This for us is a red line".
Egypt is clearly aligned with the LNA of Khalifa Haftar, while the GNA is supported by Turkey, which intervenes in Libya with the support of Qatar's funds, preventing access to a political solution, feeding the conflict by arming the militias of Fayez Sarraj's government and transferring mercenaries and terrorist groups to support it, with the aim of prolonging the confrontation in an attempt to become strong in the Mediterranean, where it seeks to extend its long shadow and take over rich oil and gas resources. In fact, at the end of last year, Prime Minister Sarraj sealed an agreement with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Ottoman President, to secure the military support of the Eurasian country and to distribute exclusive economic zones to exploit resources in the Mediterranean arc, something that came into conflict with the legitimate interests of nations such as Greece and Cyprus.
Great Arab powers such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan have responded quickly to this warning from Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to show their support for a warlike action on Libyan territory that could threaten Egyptian national security.
This Middle East bloc offers support to the LNA side in the framework of the war against the GNA, which receives the mentioned support in turn from Qatar and the Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who entered strongly in the scene assigning his Armed Forces and pro-Turkish mercenaries in salary from the Syrian war and related to jihadist terrorist formations, according to different media. The support for Al-Sisi is complete, who stated on Saturday that an intervention to protect his nation, which borders Libya, would be legitimate, and that his army, one of the best prepared in the region, is ready to face any eventuality, as has already been noted.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry affirmed its support to Egypt in “its right to defend its borders and people against acts of extremism and terrorist militias and their supporters” in Libya. He added that “the security of the Arab Republic of Egypt is an integral part of the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the entire Arab region.”
The UAE has also expressed support for “all measures Egypt is taking to protect its security and stability from the repercussions of the developments in Libya.”
In addition, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi made a phone call to Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry to show his support, as reported by the Jordanian Foreign Department. Al-Safadi, according to the official note, expressed Jordan's full support at achieving security and stability in Libya".
The Egyptian foreign minister had already indicated on Sunday that a change in the established situation in the enclaves of Sirte and Al-Jafra (in central Libya) would mean a "serious" situation that would require a "timely response, with the appropriate means", although he stressed that a military action would be "the last solution".
Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE praised the Egyptian proposal for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries fighting on both sides to achieve a peace process between the Libyan factions that would put an end to the war that has been going on since 2014 between the different poles of power that emerged after the overthrow and death of Muammar al-Qadhafi in 2011.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s support for the efforts made by Egypt to reach a comprehensive political settlement in Libya.
The last proposal presented by Al-Sisi together with Haftar in Cairo obtained the support of the United Nations, which has been internationally supporting the GNA since 2016, and of some of the Marshal's allies, but not of the Tripoli Executive, which in recent weeks has been making progress on the ground against the Marshal's forces. In this point, the support of Turkey to the forces of Sarraj with his Army and the militias arranged on the field, related to radical Islamist groups, is being essential. Thanks to the support provided, the Tripolitanian Government has recently made significant achievements, such as those of Sorman and Sabratha, and has presented tough opposition to take over the old airport in the capital, which has been closed for six years.
Following the announcement made by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Turkish-Qatari response movement was not long coming. Once the warning of the president of the North African country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan contacted Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, to request support if the Egyptian intervention takes place, as reported by the official Qatari and Turkish news agencies.
The two leaders agreed to develop strategic relations between the two countries and discussed a number of regional and international issues of common interest.
For its part, the GNA, supported by Turkey and Qatar, described as "hostile" and "unacceptable" the attitude of Egyptian President Al-Sisi and called on the international community to "assume its responsibility in the face of this escalation. The Government of National Accord of Sarraj defined as a "declaration of war" the threats of Egypt to intervene militarily in the conflict in that country.
The Egyptian threat to intervene in the Libyan conflict "is a hostile act, direct interference and amounts to a declaration of war," the GNA said in a statement.