Complicated relations in Libya:
Turkey is a regional competitor to Russia in several hotbeds, despite their strong needs for each other.
It is true that NATO is composed of European members as well as Turkey and the United States, but this does not mean that European countries are supporting Turkey, not even the European Union is supporting Turkey nor US is also supporting Turkey. The issue is that Turkey knows how to direct the US and NATO decisions in a way that suits its interests, based on the “NATO Protocol” and NATO and US interests as well.
NATO is not a competitor to Egypt but was a military partner with mutual military representation and is still a political partner until the moment; however, the partnership between NATO and Egypt is under serious threat because of Turkey. NATO is not happy with Turkey’s actions in general, but NATO is obliged to protect its countries’ interests specially against Russia; Turkey benefits from this issue very well.
In general, the United States, EU, and NATO are fed up of Turkey, but due to their fear of the expansion of influence of their main enemy (Russia) in Libya and in Syria too, of course, they are both (US and EU) are comfortable with Turkey’s presence as an important competitor to Russia in Libya and Syria.
The contrast that can be observed is a result of multi-polarity, not one-pole or bipolar. During the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the world was almost divided under their influence as two major poles, and then the rivalry was in general ideological. But today, Competition, as well as conflict, are both towards one direction, which is (interest) regardless of ideology such as national values, religion, so we find this confusing contrast. For example, the security allies, such as the US and the EU are competing each other economically, we also find that Egypt has security, technological and military interests with Russia, but Russia is competing Egypt in the field of exporting gas to Europe (economically), and so on.
The expected Egyptian position in the Libyan crisis:
Egypt will not move militarily with huge forces towards the Libyan western depth, not only because of its internal economic, security and political conditions, but also for the absence of a strong legislative umbrella supporting its intervention in western Libya, bearing in mind the difficulty of external financing from countries like UAE and KSA because of the economic burdens resulted from the outbreak of the Corona virus.
China possible approach towards the Libyan Crisis:
China has intersecting interests with Russia in Central Asia and Middle East and it has vital interests of Russia’s competition against the United States worldwide. China has also vital interests with Egypt and Turkey fot its global initiative (Belt and Road). China sees very well how the United States and Europe are competing Russia in both Syrian and Libyan crises. Hence, China will not attempt direct intervention in any way in the Libyan crisis as a superpower supporting any party, nor will it try to interfere as a supportive party for example to Russia in front of the United States, especially after China has succeeded to attract some European countries and to attract the acceptance and respect of their peoples during the outbreak of the Corona virus in Europe. Rather, China will try to find a mediating position between Turkey and Egypt as important Middle Eastern allies in its initiative, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean region. But China does not yet have sufficient experience in dealing with the complex crises in the region, therefore, China’s intervention (if it happens) will be very careful and sensitive. China will avoid any circumstances that make it a party in the Libyan crisis, in state.
MG. Sayed Ghoneim (Ret)
Fellow, Nasser’s Higher Military Academy