Egypt's parliament to mandate Sisi to intervene militarily in Libya

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 18 Jul 2020

File photo: Egyptian parliament (Photo: Reuters)
File photo: Egyptian parliament (Photo: Reuters)

Informed sources told Ahram Online that the Egyptian parliament – the House of Representatives – is expected to hold a plenary meeting this week to discuss the political and military situation in neighbouring Libya.

The sources said the discussion is to be followed by a vote to mandate President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to intervene militarily in Libya to help defend the western neighbour against Turkish aggression.

In a 16 July meeting between leaders of Libyan tribes and El-Sisi, they asked him to authorise the Egyptian Armed Forces "to intervene to protect the national security of Libya and Egypt, if they see an imminent danger to both countries. President El-Sisi said he would do so after obtaining the approval of the Egyptian parliament.

In a resolution passed on 13 July, the Libyan  parliament also asked the Egyptian and Libyan armed forces to work together to guarantee the occupier's defeat and preserve shared national security in the face of the dangers posed by the Turkish occupation.

In his meeting with Libyan tribes on Thursday, President El-Sisi said Egypt has the strongest army in the region and Africa.

"But the Egyptian army is a very wise force, and it is not interested in mounting occupation operations, and if we need to undertake any operations outside our borders we will be required to first obtain the approval of the Egyptian parliament."

MPs told Ahram Online that El-Sisi's words go in line with Article 152 of Egypt's constitution, which states that "the president of the republic is the supreme leader of the Armed Forces. He shall not declare war or send the Armed Forces outside the state's borders to undertake fighting missions unless he first seeks the opinion of the National Defence Council and takes the approval of the two thirds majority of MPs."

Mohamed Hani El-Hennawi, an independent MP representing the Nile Delta governorate of Beheira, told Ahram Online that Egyptian MPs have closely followed all the issues discussed in the meeting between President El-Sisi and leaders of Libyan tribes on 16 July.

"I think that the majority of my colleagues in the House will vote in favour of granting President El-Sisi a mandate to take all the measures necessary to preserve the national security of both Egypt and Libya," said El-Hennawi.

MP Hussein Abu Gad, a member of the parliamentary majority "Mostaqbal Watan" party, also said "the issues raised during President El-Sisi's meeting with leaders of Libyan tribes last Thursday were directly related to the national security of both Egypt and Libya.

"All Egyptian MPs were keen to closely follow this meeting, particularly his indication that he should seek approval from the Egyptian parliament before he undertakes any military operations outside our borders," said Abu Gad, agreeing that "what president El-Sisi said goes in line with the constitution."

Abu Gad, however, indicated that Egypt's military intervention does not necessarily mean that Egypt will send troops to Libya or that Egyptian military forces will participate in any fighting missions on Libya's land.

"I think that President El-Sisi was quite clear during the 16 July meeting when he said that Egypt’s Armed Forces will closely work side by side with the Libyan National Army in terms of military support, training Libyan army officers in Egypt's military academy, and providing Libyan tribes with weapons that can help them fight the Turkish aggression and their supported mercenaries," said Abu Gad.

Said Hassasin, an MP in the Democratic Peace Party and a media expert, said "I think that by giving support and assistance to the Libyan army, Egypt will be able to help the Libyan people free the country from the Turkish occupation."

Hassassin said the Turkish occupation of Western Libya would be a direct threat to Egypt's national security if Turkey occupied Sirte and Al-Jufra. "This is why President El-Sisi said Sirte and Al-Jufra are a red line for Egypt," he added.


Parliament to discuss draft laws

Egypt’s parliament will meet on Sunday and Monday to discuss a number of laws. On Monday, parliament will discuss the president's decree (number 391) on the extension of the state of emergency for another three months, beginning on Monday 27 July.

The schedule of parliamentary debate on Sunday and Monday will also include discussing nine draft laws. Topping the list are amendments to the law on Civil and Commercial Procedures, fighting cheating and leaking of foreign certificate exams, police control, waste management, and supporting and financing the management and building of educational projects.

The list also includes draft bills on industrial quality control systems, the Waqfs (religious endowments) related to the Egyptian Catholic Church and the Anglican sect, the Islamic House of Zakat (Alms) and the regulation of the Egyptian Dar El-Iftaa (the house of religious edicts).

Parliament is also expected to take a final vote on nine draft laws, foremost among which are the law on regulating the performance of the Central Bank of Egypt and the Banking Sector, and the law on the Public Enterprise Companies Sector.

Other laws include adding a new allocation of LE80 billion to the state's new budget 20/21, setting up a Takaful (solidarity) fund to contain the negative economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, regulating the affairs of medical staff affiliated with the Ministry of Health, setting up the fund of caring for the innovative and genius people, and regulating advertisements on public roads.

Parliament will also take a final vote on the amendments to the stamp law and the income tax law.

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