Russia and Turkey as moderators in the Middle East: Syria, Libya… further everywhere?

Recently, a widespread public outcry has been caused by the actions of the Government of National Accord of Libya which has concluded, inter alia, a package of international agreements affecting the economic and political interests of a number of countries in Europe, Asia Minor, and Africa.

However – and this is extremely important – the international community is “embarrassed” to assess the status and legitimacy of the Government of National Accord of the State of Libya formed for the duration of the transitional period established on December 17, 2015 by the Libyan Political Agreement(known as the Skhirat Agreement) and called upon to act as a guarantor of the democratic rights of the Libyan people.

This historical document establishes the authority and duration of the mandate of the Government of National Accord, which, in accordance with Art. 1 p. 4 of the Libyan Political Agreement amounts to “1 year from the date of the vote of confidence by the House of Representatives of Libya” with the possibility of prolongation for 1 year if the Constitution of Libya is not adopted in the first term of the mandate. We draw your attention to the fact that the new Constitution of Libya has not yet been adopted and certain provisions of the 1951 Constitution of Libya, adopted under King Idris the First, are in force.

The agreement specifically states that in any case the mandate of the government should be immediately folded after the formation of executive authorities in accordance with the adopted Constitution of Libya, or upon expiration of the mandate, whichever occurs first.

Based on a direct reading and open interpretation of the Libyan Political Agreement, the mandate of the Government of National Accord was for 2 years that expired in 2018.

Despite this, however, the Government of National Accord of Libya led by Fayez Sarraj formally turned to Turkey for “air, land and sea” military support. And on January 2, the Turkish Parliament approved a resolution to send troops to Libya.

Now the Libyan National Army is calling on the country’s citizens to take arms to fight against Turkish troops. Ghassan Salamé, UN ambassador to Libya, said the Turkish forces on the ground will further undermine the chances of future peace, although he still expects negotiations in Germany to take place in mid-January. According to him, the intervention of regional authorities means that Libyans may lose control over the fate of their country.

Of course, all this may complicate the international efforts that are being made to resolve the Libyan crisis. A number of countries whose interests are at stake quickly declared their disagreement. Italy objects to any foreign interference in Libyan affairs. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that “such interference would adversely affect stability in the Mediterranean”. The leaders of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel said in a joint statement that what had been happening was “a dangerous threat to regional stability”.

According to Bashir Abdel Fattah, an expert on politics of Iran and Turkey from the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, it is likely that after Turkey’s entry into Libya the neighboring countries of the Maghreb, that still hold a neutral position, will be drawn into the conflict. This will provoke the opening of new fronts and the redistribution of forces, which in turn will further destabilize the region. The worsening of the situation may contribute to the strengthening of terrorist groups and the increase in the flow of migrants from Libya.

In this regard, I would like to focus on 2 issues.

First, we are all waiting for the January conference on the Libyan settlement in Berlin. But, as far as I know, neither Libya nor its neighbors will be present at this meeting of countries. This, to say the least, is strange. I believe that the participation of analytical centers, authoritative public organizations from Europe, Russia, Turkey, and North Africa would also be extremely useful. Will the facilitators have enough will for that?

Secondly, for most experts, it is obvious that the source of the Libyan crisis is the intervention of the United States and globalist structures in the country internal affairs in 2011. Western hegemony that destroyed Libya provoked new unrest in West Asia: Yemen, Syria, Iran are now added to the Libyan crisis.

Today, only Turkey and Russia can effectively combat Western hegemony in the Middle East region. These two countries have the right to control crises in order to end the chaos and help establish order. Turkey’s cooperation with Russia in Syria has proved to be effective. The same should be done in Libya.

Moreover, Turkish-Russian cooperation in Syria needs to be applied to the Maghreb countries. It will be a brilliant response to the illegal policies of the United States and Israel in the Persian Gulf.

Alexander Malkevich, head of the Foundation for National Values Protection(Russia). Chairman of the Commission on Development of InformationCommunity, Mass Media and Mass Communications of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation