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Egypt’s Parliament Approves Ground Troop Deployment To Back Haftar In Libya

July 21st, 2020 | by Richard Paul
Egypt’s Parliament Approves Ground Troop Deployment To Back Haftar In Libya
Politics
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Egypt’s Parliament Approves Ground Troop Deployment To Back Haftar In Libya

Libya’s proxy war just grew hotter, with outside powers supporting opposite sides of the conflict finding themselves more directly intervening on Libyan soil.

Though Turkey, which supports Tripoli’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has sent troops and weapons since last year to help fend off Haftar’s (now failed) advance on the capital, Egypt just made a huge and unprecedented move.

On Monday Egypt’s parliament voted to approve sending its armed forces to fight “criminal militias” and “foreign terrorist groups” on a “Western front”. Previously Egypt has only flown sorties over neighboring Libya, however, this would mark the first ever direct ground intervention.



Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, right, with Khalifa Haftar, the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) meeting in Cairo last year, via AP.

Though the parliamentary vote didn’t name Libya directly, it’s widely known that “Western front” is a clear reference to the growing chaos along Egypt’s border with Libya. Cairo continues to see Haftar as a necessary ‘stabilizer’ for the country which has remained in a state of chaos and bloodshet since the US-NATO toppling of Gaddafi in 2011.

The parliament unanimously voted for “the deployment of members of the Egyptian armed forces on combat missions outside Egypt’s borders to defend Egyptian national security… against criminal armed militias and foreign terrorist elements,” according to a statement.

Reuters underscores that the vote is a big deal and somewhat unprecedented:

Egyptian state TV later ran banners on the screen saying: “Egypt and Libya, one people, one fate.”

The last time Egypt sent ground troops abroad for combat was in 1991 in Kuwait as part of a U.S.-led coalition to drive out Iraqi troops.



Al Jazeera: Egyptian General Mamdoh Shahen during the parliamentary debate session on the deployment of troops outside the country [Khaled Mashaal/EPA]

This comes after weeks of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi making threats against both Tripoli and its Turkish backer.

Regional media has even speculated of late that Turkey and Egypt are fast stumbling toward war inside Libya.

Indeed Monday’s parliamentary approval for Sisi’s Libya policy brings the two major regional players much closer to direct clash.

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