Day 170: Watching Libya, Egypt and Turkey

Today is Friday, June 26, 2020. It is Day 170 since the grace period began.

A civil war within Libya, ongoing since 2014, is starting to draw in neighboring nations. The two factions fighting each other, to be the official government of Libya, are the Libyan National Army (LNA) backed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, and Egypt, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) backed by Turkey.

To many this may appear as just another Mideast war, but with the Signposts in view, this war has a potential to cause Signpost-related readying events to occur.

For example, Turkey has cast in its lot on one side to be able to eventually have some of Libya’s oil, since Turkey has none of its own, and Libya was once an Ottoman province. However, with Egypt joining in on the GNA’s opposition, with its army being made ready to fight in Libya, there may be a potential for all-out war between Turkey and Egypt.

If this were to occur, Turkey’s forces would be partially tied down as mentioned in this earlier post (but due to a different reason, a new Balkan war), and could Egypt see the secular government supported by its military being toppled and replaced by an Islamist government?

It may seem far-fetched but this scenario could not only encourage Iran’s invasion to occur with Turkey’s forces occupied, but the path would be made to allow Turkey and Egypt to be allies, as the Third Signpost suggests.

Events in Libya will bear watching as they have already elsewhere in the Middle East.



Categories: In The News, The Signpost Perspective

Tags: , , ,

5 replies

  1. In bringing his 2011 783-page book “The Great Sea” to a conclusion, David Abulafia acknowledged that the Mediterranean is no longer “the most vigorous place of interaction between different societies on the face of the planet,” which earlier chapters had shown. He left readers thinking that the Mediterranean is now a sleepy-eyed area for touring and recreational pleasures.

    In the last few months “vigorous interaction” has returned in the form of naval maneuverings for control of natural gas deposits under the Mediterranean, which Israel was the first to tap into. Turkey’s alliance with Libya is meant to provide a legal basis for preventing Israel from laying down a pipeline to Greece. There was a naval confrontation between Turkey and Israel over Cyprus, which has a buffer zone between the Greek and Turkish portions of that island. Turkey is demanding that the Turkish side should share the proceeds of any natural gas drilling enterprise between Israel and the Greek side of Cyprus.

    Turks have joked that with almost all islands between Turkey and Greece owned by Greece, some of them near Turkey’s coast, Turks can hardly cast fishing lines off their own coast without infringing on Greek waters.

    Turkey claims that it has more Mediterranean-Black-Sea coastline than any other country, and should have control over much of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.

    Abulafia wrote about Russian naval aspirations in the Mediterranean that failed to develop as hoped for. Three years after “The Great Sea” was published, Russia annexed Crimea on the Black Sea connected to the Mediterranean, and there now is a growing Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.
    https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/06/22/a-naval-arms-race-is-gaining-speed-in-the-mediterranean-sea/

    Iran has a naval base at Latakia, Syria, an arrangement that Soleimani had been involved with. “The eastern Mediterranean is becoming one of the most kinetic areas in the world,” said Admiral James Foggo, head of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa.
    https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/russia-turning-eastern-mediterranean-into-a-militarized-hot-spot-navy-s-foggo-says-1.635306

  2. EEZs are Exclusive Economic Zones. Tensions over EEZs between Turkey and Greece may be at an all-time high. So far it is only a war of words. Greek City Times, published in English, has translated some of the verbal jabs. From https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/06/22/greece-is-ready-to-discuss-eezs-with-turkey-if-its-willing/:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has protested that the Greek island of Kastellorizo, which “has only 500 residents and is located 2 kilometres away from the Turkish coast and 570 kilometres away from the Greek mainland” should not be able to “generate a 40,000 square kilometre maritime zone.” Perhaps to teach Greeks a lesson, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez has announced that “a drilling vessel of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation will start oil exploration operations to the immediate south of the Greek island of Crete ‘within three to four months’.” In response, General Konstantinos Floros, the head of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, said that Greece will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty: “A military response is a possibility… whoever attacks Greek territory, we will first burn them and then see who it was.”

  3. In response, General Konstantinos Floros, the head of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, said that Greece will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty: “A military response is a possibility… whoever attacks Greek territory, we will first burn them and then see who it was.”

    Yikes. A defensive posture like that is a recipe for potential disaster, like when Iran shot down UIA PS752 while on the lookout for incoming airstrikes.

    It doesn’t really seem like that was just five months ago. Events are moving fast.

  4. “It may seem far-fetched but this scenario [involving Libya] could … encourage Iran’s invasion to occur with Turkey’s forces occupied.”

    Another candidate for a trigger could be conflicts between Turkey and Greece. On 2020-06-29, the President of the Hellenic Republic [i.e. Greece], Katerina Sakellaropoulou, visited the Greek island of Agathonísi, near the coast of Turkey.

    According to Wikipedia, the Agathonísi islands of 5.6 square miles have a population of only 185. The point of President Sakellaropoulou’s speech there was that the Hellenic Republic is prepared to defend even small islands. She knew that her speech would set off a firestorm of criticism in the Turkish media, and it did.
    https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/06/30/greece-will-defend-its-national-sovereignty-in-every-possible-way-says-greek-president/
    On 2020-06-30, Turkish fighter jets flew over Agathonísi.
    https://greece.greekreporter.com/2020/06/30/turkish-jets-fly-over-aegean-island-a-day-after-visit-of-greek-president/
    Also on 2020-06-30, to show the world that the Hellenic Republic wants peace with Turkey, “Government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced the opening [on 2020-07-01] of the Kastanies border crossing at the Greek-Turkish border in Evros.”
    https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/06/30/greece-to-open-the-land-border-with-turkey-as-tensions-remain-high/
    This announcement prompted criticism by Greeks: “Many … are questioning why the border crossing is opening again considering this year alone Turkey unleashed the migrant crisis, threatened to invade Greece’s Eastern Aegean islands, invade the rest of Cyprus, promised to steal Greek oil and gas to the south of Crete, said it will unleash a new migrant crisis at Evros, and conducted a fake news campaign…”

  5. According to Wikipedia, “TRT World is a Turkish state international news channel broadcast 24 hours per day in English.” TRT World also produces YouTube videos. Here are some three-minute videos that I find informative:

    concerning the Bosporus Strait between the European and Asian portions of Istanbul: https://youtu.be/7rONw6b166c

    concerning Turkey’s maritime deal with Libya: https://youtu.be/xMFN_2XSW88

    concerning Turkey’s military drones: https://youtu.be/ZzB5Vip5Wpc

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