Once again, Russia and Turkey are leading the Libyan crisis. As in the case of the Syrian scenario at the end of last year, the two presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are now in direct telephone contact to try to limit the military confrontation on the field and keep their respective spheres of influence intact. The two talked long two days ago, after the militias deployed with the government of National Agreement directed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj in Tripoli thanks to the decisive Turkish military support they had taken over the Watiya airbase, which is the main logistics center for Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Tripolitania.
More Haftar’s supporters are currently the Arab Emirates, followed by Egypt and Russia. The latter for recent times appears increasingly critical of Haftar’s unsuccessful aggression. In fact, in April 2019 the strongman of Cyrenaica launched the military offensive to conquer Tripoli, but now marks the pace and indeed is progressively losing positions. Most obvious sign of the weakness of Haftar It was his request for a ceasefire starting on Sunday, on the occasion of the three days of the Muslim holiday which traditionally marks the end of Ramadan. Sarraj’s militias for once to revive the offensive and, seeking to take advantage of the chaos in the enemy camp, aim to capture the city of Tarhouna. If this happens, Haftar would be forced to entrench himself in defense of Cyrenaica.
The battle now takes place mainly from the air. Haftar’s air force threatens to attack Turkish interests. A statement from the Foreign Ministry in Ankara replies that, if this were to happen, the Turkish armed forces would consider Haftar’s as legitimate targets. Meanwhile, the Minister of Interior in Tripoli, Fathi Bashagha, denounces the arrival of at least six Russian Mig-29 jets and two Su-24 ground attack fighter-bombers at Hmeimim Air Force Base. From Moscow we try to throw water on the fire. A note from the Russian Foreign Ministry underlines the importance of an immediate cessation of military actions and the resumption of political dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations.
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