Egypt’s parliament on Monday unanimously approved the deployment of armed forces abroad if necessary to defend Egypt’s national security following the rapid expansion of Libya’s Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which appears to be preparing for a major assault to capture the key coastal city of Sirte.
The stage is set for a dramatic escalation of the conflict in Libya, which appears to be certain to occur if the armed forces of the Government of National Accord and its major ally Turkey attempt to capture Sirte. They appear determined to do so, notwithstanding repeated warnings by Egypt’s president that Egypt will join the battle in force if this occurs.
Under Egypt’s constitution, the president, who is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, shall not declare war or deploy troops outside the country without first seeking the opinion of the National Defence Council and the approval of a two-thirds majority of MPs.
Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament, the House of Representatives, has already granted permission for Egypt to deploy its armed forces in Libya if deemed necessary. Now, the Egyptian Parliament has cleared the way for any future deployment by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
In an official statement following a closed-door session, the parliament said it “unanimously approved sending elements of the Egyptian armed forces in combat missions outside the borders of the Egyptian state to defend the Egyptian national security in the western strategic front against the acts of criminal militias and foreign terrorist elements until the forces’ mission ends.”
“The Egyptian nation, throughout history, has advocated for peace, but it does not accept trespasses nor does it renounce its rights. Egypt is extremely able to defend itself, its interests, its brothers and neighbours from any peril or threat.”
“The armed forces and its leadership have the constitutional and legal licence to determine when and where to respond to these dangers and threats.” LINK
The decision was announced several days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt “will not stand idle” in the face of any attack on Sirte, which he earlier described as a “red line” for Egypt’s national security and warned it would prompt military intervention by Cairo.
President El-Sisi also met with Libyan tribal leaders on 16 July in Cairo, where they called on the Egyptian Armed Forces “to intervene to protect the national security of Libya and Egypt.” El-Sisi said that Egypt “will quickly and decisively change the military situation” in Libya if it intervenes, adding that the Egyptian Army is one of the strongest in the region and Africa.
Earlier in July, the Egyptian Armed Forces conducted an exercise near Libya’s border. The drills, codenamed Resolve 2020, took place in the north-western district of Qabr Gabis, about 37 miles from the Libyan border.
The parliament also reviewed the outcomes of a meeting on Sunday of the country’s National Defence Council (NDC) headed by El-Sisi. The closed-door session was also attended by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Alaa Fouad and Major General Mamdouh Shaheen, assistant minister of defence.
The statement of the NDC after Sunday’s meeting declared that Egypt seeks to stabilise the current situation in the field and not to cross declared lines — referring to the Libyan cities of Sirte and Al-Jafra — with the aim of bringing about peace between all Libyan parties.
“Egypt will spare no efforts to support the sister Libya and help its people to bring their country to safety and overcome the current critical crisis, grounded in the fact that Libya is one of the highest priorities for Egypt’s foreign policy, taking into account that Libyan security is inseparable from Egyptian and Arab national security.”
The NDC affirmed commitment to a political solution to put an end to the Libyan crisis, in a manner that maintains its sovereignty and national and regional unity, eliminates terrorism, and prevents the chaos of criminal groups and extremist armed militias. It also asserted the importance of limiting illegal foreign interference that contributes to aggravating the security situation and threatens neighbouring countries and international peace and security.
The meeting of the National Defence Council also discussed ongoing trilateral negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia concerning the latter’s Renaissance Dam Project. LINK
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- Al Sisi says Egypt has right to intervene in Libya vows to protect Sirte al Jufra
- A reconsideration of domestic challenges to achieving a peaceful settlement in Libya
- Military intervention in Libya and Turkeys grand game in eastern Mediterranean