Qatar to send military advisers to Libya to support the Government of Tripoli

Qatari Defence Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah promised this help during a meeting with Fayez Sarraj, who heads the Tripoli Executive, this week
Troops loyal to the ANG in Tripoli, Libya, on July 6, 2020

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Troops loyal to the ANG in Tripoli, Libya, on July 6, 2020

Qatar is preparing its new movement to support the Tripoli government, led by Fayez Sarraj, and will send military advisors to draw up a strategy to confront the Libyan National Army, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, according to information published on Tuesday by the digital newspaper Libya Review and based on the statement of an unidentified government official.

This promise was made following a visit to the Tripoli government this week by the Turkish and Qatari defence ministers. Ankara's intervention in the Libyan conflict has been highly controversial in the international arena and has been rejected by France, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and the United Arab Emirates. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Qatar's Khalid Al-Attiyah held talks with Tripoli Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj and Deputy Defence Minister Salah Al-Din Al-Namroush in the Libyan capital, according to the Turkish Ministry of Defence. 

Qatar and Turkey have been intervening in Libya for some time and have shown great interest in Fayez Sarraj's support. The last meeting of the Turkish and Qatari Defence Ministers, Hulusi Akar and Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah respectively, with Prime Minister Sarraj, has shown the importance that the Gulf country and Eurasia attach to the North African area.

At the end of last year, Fayez Al-Sarraj and Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed an agreement ensuring Turkish military assistance and dividing up economic areas in the Mediterranean arc, where Turkey has its sights set on the exploitation of gas and oil. Within the Libyan war conflict, there is now speculation about the preparations for the battle of Sirte, an important enclave in the north of Libya and which could represent a turning point in the war between the GNA and the Libyan National Army (LNA), The latter is linked to Tobruk's other eastern executive and receives external support from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain (these major rivals of Qatar, which has been under embargo since 2017), France and Russia. Precisely, Cairo had set Sirte as an inviolable red line that if touched would provoke the intervention of the powerful Egyptian Army.

Erdogan
PHOTO/AP - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ANG Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj in Ankara on June 4, 2020

On April 4, 2019, Haftar forces launched an offensive on the capital of Tripoli, a stronghold of the ANG (supported since 2016 by the United Nations), but the Turkish intervention has managed to reverse the situation and the militias associated with Sarraj have regained much ground and important enclaves such as Sabratha, Sorman and Al-Watiya airport. 

Armed groups including paid mercenaries linked to groups formerly linked to terrorist entities such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh, sent from Syria by Turkey, which is also involved in the Syrian civil war with these elements, as noted by various media outlets. All this with the financial support of the Qatari country led by Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. In this sense, the blockade suffered by Qatar since 2017 imposed by the Saudi, Egyptian and Bahraini nations was motivated by the fact that these countries denounced the Gulf monarchy for supporting cross-border terrorism. The Libyan and Turkish media have already reported that Qatar's Defense Minister Khaled al-Attiyah arrived in Tripoli on Monday, coinciding with the visit of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Libya is a failed state, a victim of chaos and civil war, since in 2011 Nato contributed militarily to the victory of the various rebel groups over the tyranny of Muammar al-Qadhafi. Since 2015, the country has two executives: the one under Hafter's tutelage in the east and one called the National Accord Government supported by the UN in Tripoli (GNA).

In the last year, the fratricidal war that has shaken the country since 2015 has become a multinational armed confrontation, completely privatized, without regular armies, fought by local militias and foreign mercenaries. The GNA is supported by Qatar, Italy and Turkey - which has begun to set up military bases in Libya - while Hafter is backed by France, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, the latter countries providing him with their own mercenaries and weapons, despite the UN arms embargo that has been in place since 2011.

For three months, the military forces of both governments, supported by thousands of foreign mercenaries, have been deployed in the aforementioned gulf, whose control is vital for the future of the country, amid intense international diplomatic activity to try to avoid a new armed confrontation