Livya between the «evil world» and the «friendly herd»?

About a month ago, in a commentary on the developments in Libya, we wrote that Turkey and the Government of National Accord (GNA), which it supports, should seize the moment and further develop their initiative on the battlefield against the Haftar rebels, which they were able to intercept ( During this period, the GNA has indeed achieved significant successes, which are reported almost daily by «Golos Islama». But until when will it continue to develop, and what will come next?

Renowned Russian Orientalist and military analyst Kirill Semenov posted on his Facebook page a translation of an article on this topic by American military expert Lieutenant Colonel Conor Heaney, who formerly commanded a unit of the US Air Force at Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE.

While acknowledging the apparent success of Turkey and the GNA, Heaney writes that their offensive into eastern Libya, where Haftar’s main strongholds are located, will require very different resources than those that allowed them to push Haftar’s forces back from Tripoli and the coast.

The main reason for this is that the «Bayraktar» drone, which has been a crucial factor in the GNA’s successes, has a range of only 150 miles and requires line-of-sight. Therefore, expanding the zone of operations eastward will require Ankara and the GNA to either deploy new command stations or build relay towers. Since both options will be vulnerable to attack by the Libyan National Army, this will require different investments as well as the mobilization of forces for ground operations.

In addition, the GNA/Turkish air defense and electronic warfare systems in Tripoli have been effective because of their multi-layered deployment, whereas extending such dense coverage beyond the capital will require the deployment of additional air defense systems, with increased costs and risks.

The short supply lines around Tripoli are another advantage that will disappear in a wider offensive, which would require logistical operations to secure fuel, weapons, spare parts, etc. For Turkey, which is already facing serious economic difficulties and has already undertaken a similar massive deployment in northwestern Syria, such costs could be overwhelming. Add to this the involvement of adversaries such as the UAE and their considerable financial and technical capabilities, and the stakes and costly budgets become even greater.

So what does all this mean? The expert believes that the GNA’s recent successes, on the one hand, and the difficulty of its advance to the east, on the other, are creating a situation of military equilibrium in which neither side is capable of destroying the other. This creates the conditions for a new, more viable peace process. Libyan analyst Mohammed Eljarh agrees with this assessment and believes that such a peaceful process can succeed if it is accompanied by reliable guarantees, such as the creation of a buffer zone between the warring parties, the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries, and a prisoner exchange.

However, we disagree with the Libyan expert on the idea that such a peace can begin with a ceasefire declaration without any prior conditions, and that demanding such conditions today would be counterproductive. As previous ceasefires and negotiations have shown, Haftar has used each of them to regroup and launch new offensives, just like his Syrian ally and friend Bashar al-Assad. Therefore, now that the military initiative belongs to the GNA, it would be unwise to unilaterally relinquish a strong position in the hope of an elusive «bad peace».

In our view, Turkey and the GNA should take advantage of the moment to present Haftar and his main international sponsors with a serious choice: are they ready for a truly lasting peace that will be guaranteed and lead to a political solution of the conflict, or will they continue to wage war to the end — either the end of their opponents or their own?

(In the photo — GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj and rebel leader Khalifa Haftar)

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