Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ordered the army's top military commanders to remain vigilant due to the escalation of the conflict in Libya, according to the online version of Arab News. The armed forces need to be prepared for combat and should be ready for any task they are given, due to the security challenges taking place in the region.
The meeting came one day after al-Sisi sent an important message to the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. The message was delivered by the head of Egypt's Military Intelligence Service, Major General Khaled Megawer, at the LNA's headquarters at Ar Rajma, on the outskirts of the eastern city of Benghazi, although its contents have not been revealed. al-Sisi's message and statements come after the Turkish and Qatari defence ministers visited Tripoli last week to meet with the head of the Turkish-backed Al-Wefaq government, Fayez Sarraj.
The Libyan media have reported that the two ministers held talks on military support with officials of the unconstitutional Sarraj government that currently controls Tripoli. They also held meetings with some senior militia officials. In July 2020, the Egyptian president chaired a meeting of the National Defense Council to discuss the situation in Libya, as well as the Renaissance Dam crisis.
The Egyptian president's spokesman stated that the council had addressed the current political, security and military situation in the country, in the context of various regional and international developments. The council also discussed the situation in Libya, in light of Egypt's efforts to stabilize the current situation and bring peace to all parties.
The Egyptian Parliament approved at the end of July the sending of troops on "combat missions outside the country's borders" in the face of rising tension in Libya and after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated that an intervention in the neighbouring country would be legitimate. Ankara has intervened directly in the Libyan conflict since the beginning of the year and has sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries to the North African country, something that Cairo considers a direct threat to its security due to the enmity with the Turkish Islamist government.
The Parliament then authorized, in a closed session, the "sending of troops of the Egyptian Armed Forces on combat missions outside the borders of the State to defend Egyptian national security in the Western strategic axis", that is, on the border with Libya. The troops would act against "armed criminal militias and foreign terrorist elements". In a meeting with Libyan tribal leaders, Al-Sisi said that "Egypt is not willing to accept the proximity of the militias to its borders," referring to groups that support the UN-recognised National Accord Government (NAG), which is backed by Turkey.
This threat is more likely as the ANG began to gain ground on Marshal Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) and advanced towards the Mediterranean city of Sirte, which together with Al Jufra in the centre of the country, are "red lines" for Egypt. The support of the Egyptian House came after the Parliament in Tobruk, which is affiliated to Haftar, last week asked Egypt to intervene if the security of both countries is threatened by the presence of Turkey.