The media across the Arab world has been extensively covering Turkey’s stepped-up activities vis-à-vis the war in Libya. Before delving into recent events in this complicated subject a little background is in order for the benefit of the readers. You cannot tell the players without a program.
THE POLITICAL BACKGROUND
After the late dictator Qadhadfi was overthrown, the country of Libya fell into chaos with most cities falling prey to terrorist groups, including its capital Tripoli in the far western part of the country and its second largest city Benghazi, in the far eastern part of the country–as Americans are only too familiar with.
An entity calling itself the General National Congress (GNC), and which was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), took over control of Tripoli an acted as Libya’s “official” government. It was recognized as such by most countries in the world because that is were everyone had their embassies and it seemed to be more stable than other parts of Libya.
On 25 June 2014 elections were held to select a “House of Representatives” (HOR) to replace the GNC. The “chairman,” or “Speaker of the House” selected to head the HOR was an elderly academic ‘Aqeela Saleh ‘Aissa. Unfortunately, the Tripoli-based Libyan Supreme Constitutional Court ruled on 06 November 2014 that the June elections were unconstitutional and that the HOR should be dissolved. The basis for this ruling is that the turnout for the elections was only 18%.
The HOR objected to the Court’s ruling on the basis that security was so bad in many areas that no voting could take place, and that therefore the votes that were cast were representative of the population as a whole had they all had the opportunity to vote. The HOR also objected to the Court’s ruling because they claimed that the decision was made at gunpoint with the Court being controlled by armed militias. (Note, that by this time Tripoli had been overrun not only by the MB, but also ISIS and al-Qaeda operatives had been pouring into the country, and especially into the Tripoli area.)
As a result of this impasse, the HOR voted to extend its term until nation-wide elections could be held. The militia and terror group-dominated GNC resumed control of Tripoli maintaining the fiction that it was “the” Libyan government, and the HOR fled to the eastern town of Tobruk were it still resides and pretends to function.
There have been subsequent attempts at reconciliation between the HOR and the GNC, but all “agreements” have fallen apart. The Tobruk HOR has accused Tripoli of failing to live up to its agreements to form a government of “national unity.”
THE RISE OF GEN. KHALIFA HAFTAR
In the meantime, a retired general by the name of Khalifa Haftar, sick and tired of the unending chaos in Libya–but especially in his home town of Benghazi–pieced together remnants of the old Libyan Qadhafi era army and cleaned out his home town of its resident terrorists. Using Benghazi as a base, his “capital city” if you will, Gen. Haftar began conquering other nearby towns and oil fields.
Meanwhile, in Tripoli, the GNC resumed control of the city and a pro-MB figure Fayeez Sirraaj was selected as the figurehead chief executive of the “country.” The EU and the UN foolishly accredited the Sirraaj “government” with “international recognition.”
However, the so-called “moderate” and anti-terror Arab countries of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E., out of fear that the terrorism-friendly chaos in Libya was a national security threat to Egypt, and by extension the Gulf states as well, and recognizing that Gen. Haftar was achieving success against the terrorist militias not only in Benghazi, but increasingly in other parts of the country as well, began extending him aid in terms of money and weapons.
In response, the world’s top three terror-sponsoring states of Turkey, Iran, and Qatar began pouring money and weapons into the armed militias controlling western cities of Tripoli, Misrata, and Sirte.
By April of 2019 Haftar controlled the vast majority of Libyan territory except for pockets of ISIS-controlled regions in the south, and a handful of cities along the western portion of Libya’s coast, including Tripoli, Misrata, and Sirte.
The Sirraaj government controlled Tripoli and not much else. However, Misrata and Sirte were in the hands of ISIS and other terrorist militia and were closely allied with Tripoli.
THE WAR FOR TRIPOLI
It was in April of 2019 that Gen. Haftar made what many claim was a huge tactical and political mistake by declaring his intention to conquer Tripoli and clean it of its terrorist militias.
This was considered by some to be a political mistake because prior to April 2019, Haftar, was enjoying not only the direct aid of the three above-mentioned Arab countries but was becoming acceptable to western governments. The international community naively believed that a negotiated, diplomatic solution to the Libyan problem was possible, and that Haftar, stood to be looked upon as a hero, and could have won a nation-wide election. His attack on Tripoli negated all of that good will.
The HOR, in Tobruk, voted against Haftar’s attack by 49-31. Haftar’s Arab allies, who had been flying sorties for Haftar, began to back off of their overt support. Some western media figures claim that Haftar, by rejecting a negotiated settlement with Tripoli, was becoming megalomaniacal. They site as evidence Haftar’s alleged claim that he won’t rest until he has killed every single Islamist in Libya.
From a military standpoint it also appeared to be foolhardy, because by attacking Tripoli head on, without previously isolating it, Haftar exposed his forces to be blindsided by Tripoli-allied militia out of nearby Misrata. The over confident Hafter, who apparently thought that the entire city of Tripoli would rise up and overthrow the Sirraaj government and its supporting militias by the mere sight of Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) at the town’s extremities, also failed to destroy Tripoli’s miniscule airpower which wrecked havoc on the LNA during the summer of 2019.
The result of these miscalculations was a bloody stalemate throughout the summer and fall of 2019. With neither side being able to gain a distinct advantage, and territories constantly being switched back and forth, international pressures began to build for a “negotiated” “diplomatic” settlement.
THE RUSSIAN CONNECTION
But, then, in late November-early December the tide of battle seemed to shift in Haftar’s favor. Gains became permanent, rather than temporary. The heart of the capital came under increasing pressure. And, everyone wondered why?
Al-Jazeera TV then reported that Russian “mercenaries” were aiding Gen. Haftar’s forces. Moscow, of course, denied that it had anything to do with the Libya war. It turned out, however, that the story about the Russians was true, and the story was picked up by other Arabic news outlets, including the Saudi-owned al-Arabiyya TV.
The Russians operating in Libya are private contractors employed by a Moscow-based company called Wagner. The fact that this is a private company, gives the Kremlin the excuse to claim that it has nothing to do with the Libya war. However, all of the individuals deployed by Wagner are ex-Russian military or Spetsnaz. Wagner is also reportedly “close” to the Kremlin. These Wagner employees deployed in Libya are supposedly there just to offer training while some are embedded in Haftar’s forces to offer tactical advice and possibly intelligence gleaned from Russian satellites. Latest reports give their number as a thousand or more.
In addition, al-Jazeera has reported that “Sudanese” fighters are being trained in Egypt, on Egyptian military bases . . . by Russians, for service in Libya.
Whatever the extent of Russia’s involvement in Syria, it does appear to have titled the struggle for Tripoli in Haftar’s favor.
The Haftar forces have announced a coming “zero” hour for the Sirraaj government, and called on the militias supporting it to lay down arms and surrender peacefully so as to prevent unnecessary “collateral” damage to the citizens. These announcements by Haftar and his aides indicates that they sincerely believe that the Sirraaj government’s final hours are approaching.
With the above as background, we can now understand the significance of Turkey’s increased interest in the battle for Tripoli. As reported last week, Turkey’s Erdogan and Tripoli’s Sirraaj signed a number of agreements. The agreement that gained the most international scrutiny, was the one defining the sea “boundaries” between the two countries. This agreement, according to the Turkish interpretation, gives Turkey the right to explore for oil and gas not only off of Libya’s shores, but throughout the entire Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Erdogan, in fact, has declared that no one can explore for hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean unless they have obtained prior permission from Turkey.
Erdogan, in his Ottoman Empire Caliphate fantasies considers all other countries in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean to not be real countries. In his mind they are nothing but provinces of the Ottoman Empire though they have not yet recognized that fact.
Unfortunately, the hullaballow over that Libya/Turkey agreement has obfuscated the military agreements. These agreements call for increased Turkish military aid to the Sirraaj government and the right of Turkey to intervene militarily and directly if asked to do so by the Tripoli government.
Al-Arabiyya TV has reported on Turkish advisors already working with Tripoli’s militias. And, General Mismarri, the spokesman for Haftar’s forces, has claimed in interviews and press briefings that some of these Turkish advisors have been killed by Haftar’s forces. Turkey has also reportedly supplied heavy military vehicles to the pro-Sirraaj militias, and of course, for months it has been flying drones off of a Turkish naval vessel parked off the coast. Al-Arabiyya TV has also reported that some of the militia personnel from Tripoli have been going to Turkey for training.
Gen. Mismarri also claimed that Turkey’s intervention in the Libyan war is a crisis not just for Libya, but for the entire Eastern Mediterranean region.
Turkey’s escalation, and its openly entering the war in Libya has elicited an escalation of rhetoric from Egypt and its Arab allies. In a speech to a World Youth Organization conference held in Egypt’s Sinai resort of Sharm ash-Shaykh, Egypt’s President as-Sisi declared that Turkey directly entering the war in Libya is a threat to Egypt’s national security. President as-Sisi also said that Egypt can “never allow any power to mess with Libya’s stability.”
President as-Sisi also called for an international effort against “terror-supporting” states (an obvious reference to Turkey and Qatar, as well as Iran). And, right on que the Saudi owned al-Arabiyya TV began making claims not only about Turkey’s support for terrorism (which has been heavily documented before), but also accused it of Money laundering, and working on WMDS. (Note, WMDS can mean everything from Nuclear bombs to biological and chemical weapons.) Erdogan has openly declared that Turkey needs, and deserves to have, nuclear weapons.) Previous reporting has had Turkey directly providing weapons to the terrorist Boko Haram group in Nigeria.
Also, in response to the recent developments (the war shifting in Haftar’s favor, and Turkey’s more direct interference) the HOR in Tobruk has seemed to shift from being against Haftar’s invasion of Tripoli, to being for it. The HOR Speaker ‘Aqeel Salih has been visiting with Egyptian officials and has come out strongly for Haftar, and against Sirraaj. In this respect he has demanded that the UN withdraw its “confidence” in the Sirraaj government and to take prompt measures to remove Sirraaj.
In a prepared speech aired on numerous Arabic TV channels ‘Aqeel Salih has promised that after the liberation of Tripoli a new government will be formed representing all three regions (Ease, West, and Southern desert). He rejected “foreign” intervention and claimed that the residents of Tripoli “stand on the side of the Haftar-led LNA.”
On this site we’ve reported in the past on Turkey’s aggressive drilling for oil and gas in Greek Cypriot waters. Well, Turkey has escalated that situation as well. They’ve recently stationed the “Beir Qedaar T.B. 2” Turkish-manufactured drones on the Turkish occupied portion of the island (which Turkey invaded, ethnic cleansed, and illegally carved away from Greek Cyrpus and turned into a puppet Turkish colony in 1974–while the U.S. President at the time was distracted by Congressional impeachment inquiries).
These drones are classified as “observation,” or “spy” drones, which Turkey claims are just for monitoring oil and gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and to aid in searching for hydrocarbons.
However, al-Arabiyya TV has claimed that these drones are armed, and that Turkey intends to use them not only to protect its current drilling operations in Greek Cypriot waters, but to help enforce its claim to the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, the anti-Iranian revolts continue to unfold in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. While these revolts in Iraq and Lebanon are aimed primarily against the Iranian hegemony over their countries, in Iran they are directed against the ruling regime of the Mullahs itself. In all three cases, one can detect elements of anti-Shari’a law sentiments. As suggested before on this site, and in my book listed below, these anti-Shari’a sentiments could be channeled into a rejection of Islam itself–if the U.S. had a Radio Free Europe type of program to explain the truth of the Qur’an, Muhammad, and Islam’s origins to the publics in those countries.
Unfortunately, the U.S. (as well as the rest of the West) is a no show in that regard. So, as these masses of peoples in these three countries search for answers and direction, while rejecting their current regimes . . . what other entities, ideologies, or powers might step in to fill the vacuum?
Perhaps an ISIS 2.0? Or some other terrorist entity? Russia? China? Or . . .
The Qatar-based al-Jazeera on the Arabic version of their website has posted an editorial claiming that the only solution for Syria (still suffering its 8-year long civil war) is Turkey. Turkey, al-Jazeera claims is the rightful ruler of Syria.
The reasoning goes like this: The Assad regime will never be accepted by the majority of the Syrian people after they’ve been gassed and abused by this regime during the civil war. Shi’a Iran’s hegemony also, will not be accepted by the Syrians, the majority of whom are Sunnis. Therefore, the only solution is Turkey, which is a Sunni Power.
The legal and historical reasoning for this comes from Syria’s place as a province of the Turkish-led Ottoman Empire for 500 years, so it would only be natural for Syria to accept that position once again, since no other current option is viable.
This then raises the question: If Turkey is the “solution” for chaotic Syria, why can it not be the “solution” for these other neighboring countries suffering from a similar chaos and political uncertainty?
Every single issue discussed in the above report can be summed up in one simple phrase: The Resurrection of the Ottoman Empire.
First, al-Jazeera’s support for Turkey taking over all of Syria: To understand this, one must understand the ideologies of Turkey and Qatar (where al-Jazeera is based, and owned).
Qatar is the primary state financer of the international terrorist organization the MB. Qatar also hosts the current ideological leader of the MB, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, who has a two-hour show every Sunday on al-Jaseera for propagating his MB ideology.
Turkey’s ruling political party which controls the Turkish parliament, and of which Erdogan is head of, the AKP, is a clone of the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey also hosts thousands of exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood figures, including 2,000 MB media figures who boom anti-President as-Sisi and pro-MB propaganda into Egypt 24/7 via TV and radio broadcast.
Erdogan, upon his election to the mayorship of Istanbul in the 1990s said that his assuming the leadership of Istanbul was the reconquest of Constantinople. Those who understand Islamic prophecies recognize this claim by Erdogan as nothing less than Erdogan’s belief that he has been selected by Allah not only to resurrect the Caliphate, but to also lead the Islamic hordes in the destruction of the West (a condition necessary to bring about the prophesied return of Jesus Christ and the last judgment day).
Please read that last bit again: Erdogan believes that he has been tabbed by Allah to destroy the West.
MB ideological leader al-Qaradhawi has publically stated that Erdogan “is the last best hope for the Muslims.” This amounts to an endorsement not only of the resurrection of the Ottoman Empire Caliphate, a position that the MB supports, and the reason for its founding in 1928, but is also an endorsement of Erdogan to be its Caliph.
So, will Turkey be the power, and the MB the ideology, that fills the vacuums in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, as well as in Syria?
Meanwhile an Arab Spring 2.0 has been raging in Algeria since last March. Though not nearly as violent as that in Iraq, the crowds totally reject any and all leaders even remotely connected with the previous military regime. While they claim that they also don’t want a theocracy, one has to wonder, what do they want? And, what sort of entity, power, or ideology is going end-up coming out on top in Algeria? The intelligence I have is that the mobs lean towards the Muslim Brotherhood, and that they would be receptive to a restoration of the Ottoman Empire Caliphate.
The tiny country of Tunisia, sandwiched in between Algeria and Libya on the Mediterranean coast has recently elected a slightly pro-MB government.
Now, do you see why Egypt is so upset about a possible Turkish take-over in Libya? Egypt’s intelligence service (EGI), and Egyptian policy makers are very much aware of Erdogan’s intentions, and his alliances with the MB–as well as how they interpret the above-mentioned Islamic prophecies.
A Turkish take over of any one of the above-mentioned countries of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, or Algeria, will cause a domino effect bringing all of the others, including Tunisia, Morocco, and Jordan . . . and possibly even Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf States into Erdogan’s MB Ottoman Empire Caliphate.
Egypt in the past, suffered through several hundred years of Turkish oppression and brutality during the time of the first Ottoman Empire, and they don’t want to see a replay of that movie in this, or any other, century. But the question is, would Egypt put up (in terms of a military deployment/action) in the event of a large Turkish military presence in Libya, or would it shut up (sit and do nothing until it’s too late).
A THREAT TO THE WEST AS WELL
Sadly, U.S. presidents from Nixon through Bush, Obama, and Trump have all been totally oblivious to Turkey’s true nature. Even with Erdogan signaling in advance, his intentions, the Trump administration remains oblivious and unconcerned. For the U.S., the Turkish equation is weighed entirely on whether they purchase Russian or U.S. weapons with no thought to the consequences of current Turkish actions.
While the Trump administration has followed the correct policies on China, North Korea, Mexico/Canada trade, the Border, and in the foreign policy arena, on Iran and putting the screws to NATO never-do-wells like Merkel’s Germany, they’ve been AWOL on coming up with any coherent policy to postpone, much less halt, the inevitable Islamic takeover of the West, including ultimately the United States, and of which Turkey is a key player.
When President Trump announced his pullout from Syria I warned that the immediate result would be an ethnic cleansing of northern Syria of Kurds, Christians, and Yazidis. That prediction, was of course, fulfilled. I also predicted that giving Erdogan the green light to invade Syria was equivalent to Neville Chamberlain giving Hitler the green light to invade a portion of Czechoslovakia. The latter green light only whetted Hitler’s appetite and led to WWII.
So, how did that prediction work out?
Erdogan has ordered his allied propaganda news entity al-jazeera to stop publishing writers critical of his invasion of Syria. Al-Jazeera has complied, and followed up with a plea for all of Syria to be turned over to Turkey. Erdogan has stationed armed military drones in Turkish occupied Cyprus, threatening Greek Cyprus, Greece, and the rest of the eastern Mediterranean. And, as for Syria, Erdogan first claimed that his “joint patrols” with American forces agreement was not working out. This forced Trump to further withdraw to only protecting the oil fields in the far eastern part of the country.
Erdogan then complained that his “joint patrols” with Russia (who rushed in to fill the vacuum in Syria left by the U.S.) were not working. These complaints are nothing but foreplay to clear the field of competing powers in Syria leaving Erdogan free to continue ethnic cleansing of minorities and establishing his rule over the entire country. Erdogan then (also after the U.S. pullback) increased its involvement in Libya and tied that to his claim over the entire eastern Mediterranean and has increased his drilling in Greek Cypriot waters.
Given the above-mentioned prophecies (that Erdogan believes he is the starring character in), these developments in the eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey’s behavior in general, should be looked at with much more concern than U.S. policy makers are inclined to engage in.
The bottom line is, that if Erdogan is not stopped, and put back in his box, and soon,Trump’s Syria pullback will be viewed by future historians in the same light as Neville Chamberlain’s green light to Hitler. Say hello to World War Three.
I ask my readers to stop and think for a moment. There are 1.7 Billion Muslims in the world. While not all of them will immediately (or perhaps ever) fall into membership in Erdogan’s new Caliphate, huge numbers of them well. If only one of the above-mentioned dominos falls, it will start a chain reaction beginning with the countries currently experiencing Arab Spring 2.0 demonstrations, riots, and revolts, but will soon spread to others that seem stable at the moment.
Add to that the fact that there are Turkic-speaking, Islamic majorities in virtually all of the “chaos-stan” countries ringing Russia’s southern flank from Georgia all the way to China. Erdogan has made no secret of his desires for those countries. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, with their hundreds of Millions would likely want to become allied with such a super Caliphate should it be formed.
In other words, by allowing Turkey free rein to do as it pleases, this whole thing could fall into place in breathtaking speed. We could wake up one morning to find ourselves faced with a gigantic Caliphate stretching from Morocco and Nigeria in the west, to Indonesia and the borders of China in the east, with a population of a Billion or so, a huge chunk of the world’s oil and gas fields, and other resources–all fueled by a Muslim Brotherhood expansionist-must-destroy-the-West religious jihad ideology.
Finally, for those who naively believe that all we have to do is wait until Erdogan passes from the scene, and Turkey will return to its “natural” state of affairs as a good, loyal, member of NATO . . . don’t hold your breath. Turkey’s natural state is aggressive, brutal, and jihadi. The only time since adopting Islam that Turkey has not engaged in aggressive imperialistic “we-gotta-destroy-the-West” jihad, is when they were too physically weak to do so. Seven hundred years of Turkish Islamic Jihad history and “nature” cannot be erased by a mere seven decades of “pretend” Western alignment. Erdogan’s passing will not change Turkey’s Islamofascist, Turkish racist nature one iota.
Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform www.intelreform.org. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com