Michael Rubin, senior researcher at the American Enterprise Foundation, criticizedTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Head of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, as he spoke to 218News through on “USL” program.
The researcher believed that the Government of National Accord sacrificed the sovereignty and the Libyan wealth for the sake of Turkish interests, adding that Fayez Al-Sarraj pledged Libya’s sovereignty to Turkey in order to establish his authority, and that the United States should withdraw its recognition of Sarraj immediately.
He said that Turkey is trying to turn Libya into a dependent state and wants to impose an “Islamic” regime there in addition to its endeavor to plunder the country’s resources, as in a situation like Libya, it is very important to take a serious stance, knowing that there is no such thing as neutrality, and bearing in mind that it is not possible to have peace until the Libyan parties meet.
Haftar Worries Washington and Moscow
The US research stated that the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, is not much trusted by the United States, Russia, or others, saying that “Washington is concerned that he will sell us to the Russians.”
On the other hand, Rubin says that the Russians are also concerned that Haftar will sell them to the United States, believing that politics in Libya should not be centered around people, but rather about restoring order.
He added: “What is required is to build a mid-level nucleus within the army that can follow Libyan developments and build Libya beyond just the two figures of Haftar and Al-Sarraj.”
He continued: “What Libya needs is help in building its army as a force that transcends the tribes and transcends regions, and the army can be a real national institution.”
Erdogan: A “Gambler”
Rubin added that Erdogan is closer to a gambler and will bet on every card in front of him, knowing that the US Congress, the Pentagon and the intelligence services do not like him, his method is to bypass all other officials and speak directly to the president.
He pointed out that Erdogan’s followers are working actively in Washington through the “Turkish Heritage Organization” and at this stage in which he is trying to build a Muslim Brotherhood empire, his cunning must be acknowledged. In a way, he has managed to communicate with almost every American president.
He continued, saying, “Erdogan may call himself president, but in reality he is a dictator.”
Turkey’s Weapons Have Changed The Balance
The American researcher believed that once Turkey began shipping weapons, equipment and drones to Libya, it changed the balance of power.
He stressed that there will be no diplomatic solution to be reached in five-star European hotels as long as both sides in Libya seek to achieve their goals on the ground, while the solution lies in stopping Sarraj from allowing the import of mercenary forces supported by Turkey because they spoil the balance of power.
He also called for work to establish a cadre of professional armed forces officers capable of confronting Islamist militias as well as defending Libyan sovereignty. He called for Libya to be only for Libyans and to move away from using it as a political bargaining chip.
Egypt: Spark of Expansion
Rubin placed the blame on Turkey in the event of a confrontation with Egypt, adding that Egypt could send tanks to the Libyan border within hours, but this may take Turkey weeks to accomplish.
He also saw that Egypt’s mobilization of forces on its borders should be a warning shot for everyone, and Egypt has the right to defend its borders and national security against any regime that sponsors the rebellion within it, suggesting that the conflict will spread throughout the region if the United States adopts a position of neutrality.
He added, “Egypt has no choice but to defend itself, because the Turkish-backed forces will continue to try to undermine Egypt’s stability, and it is hypocritical for the United States to criticize the Egyptian intervention in Libya.”
He continued, “With the current mobilization in Egypt, Erdogan and Al-Sarraj will realize that they are not in a position to achieve what they want, and the United States must stand with Egypt through which we can achieve a much better result than what can be achieved through Turkey.”
He pointed out that if the Islamist forces were able to consolidate their control in Libya with their enormous natural resources, instability would spread in the eastern Mediterranean and Africa, adding that Turkey would pose a much greater threat to the West than Russia in the long run.
An American Mistake in Libya
The American researcher said that the United States misread the current situation in Libya, and that as long as the United States stands on the wrong side there, it is no wonder that many of its allies do not fully trust it.
On the issue of neutrality, he said that the real neutrality of the United States will be through the admission that Sarraj is not the leader of Libya because he is an Islamist and is ready to sacrifice Libyan sovereignty.
He also spoke of the presence of a strong Turkish lobby within the US State Department, while the Trump administration inherited a situation in which Al-Sarraj won diplomatic recognition, and the ministry was not ready to back down from that.
He added: “Trump believes that many American interventions in the Middle East are inconsistent with US interests, and seeks to withdraw, and at this stage, the United States is intensifying its efforts to confront the Russian intervention. For this reason, Washington’s strategy is not working well. What we see in the Middle East is an ideological battle, and the United States is not fully aware of that yet. ”
Rubin stressed that Erdogan’s mercenaries pose a threat to US national security, and everyone is aware of the extent of the instability that Erdogan is doing. He said it’s time for the United States to recognize this, too.
Germany on The Front
Rubin said that Europe did not take seriously the conflict in Libya and it was a mistake to rely on Italy, adding that Europe sometimes is not fully aware or very realistic, in addition to the support it has given to Sarraj, which undermines any hope for a successful diplomatic solution.
He also saw that Germany is subject to blackmail every time Erdogan threatens to release immigrants to Europe, warning of the Syrianization of the Libyan conflict, the possibility that is a real problem.
He accused Turkey of exporting former ISIS fighters to Libya, who were fighting in Idlib, and members of the Libyan Fighting Group, adding that the world needs to recognize the existence of ideological competition and an ideological cold war taking place in the Middle East and North Africa.