A study entitled “Prospects for Egyptian-Turkish rapprochement with Libya in light of the disputes of Abu Dhabi and Cairo,” said that Libya is an important area for the power of the coup in Egypt and rapprochement with Turkey in it is important in other files, and given that the coup Major General Khalifa Haftar is still close to Abu Dhabi, Cairo may return to push his opponent in the east Aqila Saleh, speaker of Tobruk Parliament, who is also trying to bring about a rapprochement with Ankara.
The study prepared by the “political street” website added that the new network of relations is based on changing interests, but it will not lead to permanent solutions in the Libyan file due to the speed of changes in the tension arenas associated with the Libyan arena.
The study said that according to the developments in the logistical reality in Libya, it may set off from the Libyan field to broader horizons for the rapprochement between the two Libyan governments, according to what it said. “The Egyptian openness to the Sarraj government was imposed by Turkish intervention, and Turkey’s lack of objection to the openness of its Libyan allies to Cairo and the cessation of military operations on the borders of Sirte confirm the Turks’ respect for the interests of the Egyptians and their willingness to cooperate with them, ”he said.
Among the elements that help in the anticipated rapprochement between Turkey and Egypt, the study pointed out that estimates said that higher directives are to review the Egyptian presidency, before embarking on a response to any Emirati proposals regarding the common positions between the two countries in a number of regional files. This approach, although it was not issued in written orders, but those working on joint files with the UAE are well aware of the change in public policies, and no one knows whether it is a permanent new approach or if it is a transient position. On the other hand, the Emirati policies towards Egypt have changed for some time, perhaps because the decision-makers there see that they have provided a lot of financial support to Cairo during previous periods, without reaping a return equivalent to the size of what they spent, other than implementing their policy aimed at besieging the Brotherhood and the political Islam trend.
The study was guided by what was published by Foreign Policy magazine, that the UAE is the only country that neglects America and other powers for their interventions, and one of the main incentives for the UAE to support Haftar is its obsession with Islamists, as the UAE wants to establish a dictatorship in Libya that wipes out any form of political Islam. Which puts it at odds with both Qatar and Turkey, which want the Islamists to participate.
The study said that Turkey did not express any objection to the visit of a delegation from Tripoli to Cairo about a month after the conclusion of the Geneva Agreement, nor did it when a delegation from Cairo visited Tripoli last December. She added that, by facilitating a greater Egyptian role, Ankara seeks to achieve three main goals:
First, to show its respect for the Egyptian interests in Libya, and to convince Cairo of the benefits of its cooperation with it, away from its involvement in the French-Emirati alliance, and marginalizing the French and Emirati roles that hinder a balanced political settlement, which does not give preference to Haftar.
Second, Ankara’s desire for Libya to be a gateway to resuming relations with Egypt, and to convert competition with it from confrontational competition to competitive cooperation, similar to the Turkish-Russian competitive cooperation in Libya, Syria and the southern Caucasus.
Third, Ankara’s focus on dismantling the regional alliance formed against it in the eastern Mediterranean, and removing Egypt from Greece and Cyprus, in preparation for concluding an agreement with it to demarcate the maritime borders.
The study indicated that there are five main reasons that prompted Cairo to create this new positioning:
First, the bet on General Haftar failed to control the Western region, and to eliminate the factions affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Second, the desire for the success of the political settlement process to ensure that there is no return to escalation and to avoid direct military intervention, given the risks that this carries from entering into a direct conflict with Turkey.
Third, any return to military escalation would mean more Turkish military involvement in the conflict, which Cairo does not want.
Fourth, the Egyptian decision-maker is convinced of the necessity to create a distance between the Egyptian interests in Libya within the coalition supporting Haftar and the Egyptian interests alone, because such distance helps them to open lines of communication with other Libyan parties and other external parties from outside this alliance, such as Turkey.
Fifthly, Egypt’s desire to play an effective role in the settlement, after its role has declined over the past years to the account of other regional parties, some of which are allies such as the UAE, and some are competitors like Turkey.
The study indicated a set of obstacles and potential challenges that prevented this cooperation from taking place, and it can be summarized in three main points:
– The two countries’ involvement in a severe regional polarization that goes beyond the Libyan geography, and is related to a struggle over the wealth of the eastern Mediterranean.
– The great French and Emirati influence on Cairo is pressing to obstruct any Egyptian openness to Turkey.
– Haftar’s dilemma in the Libyan scene, as Ankara sees him as a major part of the problem, and he cannot be a participant in the solution, while Cairo does not want to risk its influence in the East by excluding Haftar, because he is already in control of the region there.
The study concluded that despite these obstacles, the current dynamic of the Egyptian and Turkish policies in Libya indicates that Cairo and Ankara are realizing, more than ever before, the importance of overcoming bilateral differences, moving on the path of cooperation in the Libyan arena, and isolating this path. On the impact of other contentious issues, such as the conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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