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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Steadiness of the Egyptian vision in the Libyan crisis

Mohamed Abu Al-Fadl, Monday 23 Jul 2018
Mohamed Abu Al-Fadl
Mohamed Abu Al-Fadl
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Views: 3340

Anyone who follows developments on the Libyan scene would say that Egypt has approached the crisis with no hidden agenda. From the outset, Egypt stood for the safety and security which are so vital to the country.

Rather than veering towards supporting for guerrilla warfare or militias, Egypt identified the Libyan army as a force for stability early on in the conflict. Egypt's actions to Islamist extremists have been responsible, perceiving their danger, and drawing no distinction between extremists and those acting according to an ideology. 

When some international powers inclined towards appeasing ideologists, Egypt was adamant that they were part of the crisis rather than a means to solve it. Some in foreign circles watched on or even supported terrorists, while Egypt bore the responsibility of fighting and exposing them to the world.

The results recently achieved testify to the fact that the Libyan crisis has undergone a transformation. Egypt has exerted efforts, encouraging some international actors to discontinue their unsuccessful approaches towards a resolution.

Some have mistakenly treated Libya as a an ordinary crisis, without taking into consideration the specific balance of powers, and showing a total disregard for the key solution of support for and unity in the Libyan military institution.  

It was hard to alter the stance of foreign powers without their realising the full dimensions of the crisis. Some international parties participated in the uproar which preceded the conflict, which failed to put Libya on the right track. The clamour was of no help to those who contributed to it; to those who perceived the crisis as a political picnic; who thought this and that could be appeased, and so and so could be punished; and thought the whole formula would be resolved in the press of a button.  

Events in Libya have proved that this crisis was more complicated, due to its security, political and social aspects. A special understanding of its internal make-up and its entangled relationships is required. It's hard to characterise the Libyan people as Levantine, Maghrebi or even African in temperament.

The simplicity of Libyans can entice you into thinking they can be easily persuaded, while their complexity is such that it's impossible to change their inclinations. In short, they are a blend of this and that. Egypt has understood this matter and acted capably upon it, enabling an apprehension of strong and weak points in the crisis as a whole.  

The majority of conceptions for resolution presented by international and regional actors didn't reach the core of the crisis, which emanates from its uniqueness in comparison with any other in the region. Egypt is the only state which understood the dimensions of the crisis, handling it shrewdly whilst maintaining an honest desire for a solution before its repercussions could mount too high. It neither invested in it nor attempted to utilise it, as others did.

This stance only led to further obstruction. Whenever the UN adopted a certain discourse it found a mountain of obstacles. When political initiatives were presented by some, they found themselves surrounded by dispute from different parties. Even the threat of military intervention didn't provide a foundation stable enough to reach a successful settlement.

It is not a trivial matter that the international stance towards the Libyan crisis has begun to undergo transformation. This change constitutes the beginning of a new manner of interaction with a crisis that has seemed to be a fire ball. Every participant has attempted to throw it in another's face, and each is governed by motives which are a far cry from acting in the interests of the Libyan people.

Egypt has thought soberly and upon the basis of a practical understanding. It has made moves on security and diplomatic levels aimed towards putting the crisis on the right track. It has been simultaneously stern and calm in righting the disturbed balance. Some international powers have begun to appreciate the importance of Egypt’s vision and become keen to cooperate and coordinate in order to generate movement in previously stagnant water.

The joint communiqué issued last Thursday by the USA, France, Italy and Britain was a significant move. It revealed the depth of change in the international approach to managing the crisis. After a back and forth between Paris and Rome over areas of influence, Washington shelved its hesitation, deploying the power of veto to prevent the handling of the crisis from escalating to absurdity, as if Libya remained a colony to this or that nation.

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