Qatar Crisis And The War in Libya

Donate

Qatar Crisis And The War in Libya

Conflict Origins

The war in Libya was caused not so much by any internal dissent but rather by the West’s need for continued economic expansion, which Western elites view as part and parcel of the post-Cold War “end of history”, a still-potent messianic ideology which gives the West the license to attack anyone, anywhere, to achieve its mercantilist objectives, and which gives contains the necessary humanitarian “fig leaf” for the benefit of the politically correct faction of Western societies.

Naturally, politically correct Westerners have been unbothered by the  “humanitarian interventions” invariably making the situation far worse, and Libya has not been an exception. Since the fall of the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi, Libya has not experienced any political, financial or even social stability, as the country is witnessing a state of constant fighting between all parties despite the absence of any religious or sectarian differences between the population, where Libya turned from one of the richest countries in the world to a failed state.

Two Libyas

The current war in Libya began in 2014, with most of the fighting being between the internationally-recognized Tobruk-based Libyan Interim Government centered on the House of Representatives that was elected democratically in 2014 , an Islamist National Salvation Government government founded by the General National Congress based in Tripoli city, and the UN-backed Government of National Accord also based in Tripoli.

The Libyan Interim Government has the allegiance of the Libyan National Army under the leadership of General “Khalifa Haftar”  and enjoys the support of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates directly, with indirect support from both the United States and Britain and Russia, with the latter country’s affinity to Haftar clearly demonstrated when the Libyan general boarded the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier in January 2017, as the ship was returning home from its combat mission at the coast of Syria. It is a secular entity and has the sole legitimate power in Libya. Since 2014, Egypt has supplied many light and heavy weapons to the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar, which included several MiG-21 fighters. The United Arab Emirates also provides financial support to Haftar and has a small airbase in eastern Libya, including AT-802 turboprop light attack aircraft and WingLoong UAVs which appear to be operated by Erik Prince’s Academi (formerly Blackwater) Private Military Company.

The emergence of the Libyan Interim Government was made possible by the withdrawal of House of Representatives support for the Government of National Accord, whose power has since greatly decreased.

Instead, the chief opponent of the LIG is the Islamic government of the General National Congress, also called the “Salvation Government”,  which is led by the Muslim Brotherhood with support from a coalition of Islamic groups known as “Dawn of Libya”. It is believed that one of the combat groups of the General National Congress was involved in the assassination of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens in 2012. The Muslim Brotherhood are also accused of providing political cover to ISIS during its expansion in Libya before 2014, which is a plausible accusation considering Qatar’s tangible support to both ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood.

It too enjoys international support by Qatar, Turkey, and Sudan, with the former two countries playing roles identical to they played in the Syrian conflict.  Qatar’s considerable contribution included  financial support to the General National Congress and smuggling arms using C-130 military cargo planes in cooperation with Sudan, while Turkey has smuggled arms to the  “Dawn of Libya”  using ships. Turkey also benefits from illegal oil trade with the militia, according to unconfirmed reports.

Since 2014, ISIS has had strong influence in much of Libya, especially in Darnah east of Banghazi, but this influence of the terrorist organization has shrunk over time. However, Libya is one of the bases of recruitment and money laundering for ISIS, where ISIS is believed to has received indirect support from Turkey, Qatar and the General National Congress. Moreover, ISIS views Libya as an operating base from which to stage expansion into countries of the Sahel and to aid ISIS cells operating in Tunisia and Egypt.

Completing the list of warring parties, Tuareg forces control southwestern Libya, including Amazigh and Ghat area, and are considered indirect allies of the General National Congress.

The Qatar-Turkey “Axis”

Given the balance of forces outlined above, the conflict in Libya would have come to a close years ago had it not been for the direct involvement of the Qatar-Turkey alliance, whose aggressive acts against Syria had likewise escalated that conflict. To be sure, the Qatar-Turkey alliance was one of convenience, with the two parties pursuing different objectives which simply happened to be not mutually exclusive.

For Turkey, the aim of the game at the time was neo-Ottomanism. Both Syria and Libya are, after all, parts of the former Ottoman Empire, with the former being wrested from its grasp by the French and the British at the end of World War I, and the former falling to Italy in Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912. For Qatar, the objective was establishing oneself as a regional power player not only independent of Saudi Arabia but also equivalent to it, a task that would have been greatly facilitated by establishing Qatar-friendly regimes in Libya and Syria, extending Qatar’s control over the region’s hydrocarbons, and gaining access to new markets in Europe. That final point of the Turkey-Qatar strategy was welcome by European factions favoring continued eastward expansion because the Qatari gas pipeline could be used as a political weapon against Russia.

The Turning Point?

However, that coalition proved too weak to overcome the resistance of legitimate government forces in Libya and Syria, particularly after the direct Russian military involvement in Syria spelled the end of the “Assad must go” campaign, and it never managed to secure the support of the United States for either of its objectives. The US, for its part, attempted to sponsor its own jihadists in Syria or favored the Saudi-led efforts. Therefore it was only a matter of time before either Turkey or Qatar realized its strategy was doomed and sought to pursue a different course of action. Turkey proved the weaker link in that coalition thanks to, ironically, US enlistment of the Kurds as its proxy army in Syria. Faced with an impossible to dislodge Russian presence in Syria, Turkey opted to change its aims to become an “energy gateway” to Europe by joining forces with Russia in the form of the Turkish Stream pipeline.

Worse, while initially the West was generally in favor of any and all forms of “Arab Spring”, including the Turkish-Qatari efforts in both Syria and Libya, by 2016 it was becoming clear the downsides were outweighing the positives. The refugee crisis, in particular, that became a potent political issue threatening the unchallenged liberal status quo had forced a re-evaluation of the policy, lest the likes of Front National or AfD come to power in Europe. Even the US, which did not receive a flood of Middle East refugees, was affected.  On April 11, 2016, Obama was forced to admit that Libya was the “worst mistake” he had committed during his presidency as the mistake was that the United States did not plan for the post-Gaddafi era. He was not doing it because of any sorrow for the citizens of countries he despoiled, but rather because the resulting chaos was now negatively affecting Hillary Clinton’s chances to win.

But it was Donald Trump who delivered what surely will be a fatal blow to Qatar’s international ambitions, first by giving a green light to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to pounce on Qatar, and then directly accusing it of sponsoring terrorists. The ensuing blockade of Qatar meant that the country’s leaders would have little time or money to continue financing militants in Libya or Syria. Indeed, shortly after the Qatar blockade was imposed, the Russian military stated the war in Syria, other than the fighting against ISIS, had practically ground to a standstill.

Considering that Turkey and Qatar have been the main obstacles to ending the war in Libya, Turkey’s defection followed by the US-authorized Saudi political and economic assault on Qatar have implications not only for Syria but also for Libya. Indeed, there are already many signs the political situation in Libya is evolving. Arguably the biggest development in recent months was the release of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi’s son, by a Tobruk-based militia upon a request from the House of Representatives. With Saif al-Islam Gaddafi being wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged atrocities committed by the Libyan government during the 2011 war, the fact of his release indicates the political fortunes are now favoring the House of Representatives and Marshal Haftar, a shift also suggested by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statements in support of Haftar playing  an important role in Libyan politics and the new French President Macron’s admission the war in Libya was a major mistake.

But here the Western officials seem to be following the trends rather than making them, as the root cause of the shift appears to be the sudden weakening of Qatar’s positions in the region. Egypt is a clear beneficiary of that weakening and is intent on pressing its advantage, to the point of pro-Sisi Egyptian media actually advocating bombing of Qatar. The Qatari disarray is also made apparent by LNA’s recent announcement that the Qatari opposition has provided the LNA with a list of Libyan citizens who worked for Qatar’s intelligence services.

Honorable Peace or Humiliating Defeat?

Qatar’s situation is not an enviable one. For the time being Turkey’s military support and the US unwillingness to allow Saudi Arabia to utterly devastate Qatar are enough to allow it to maintain a brave face. But in the longer term it needs to find an accommodation with at least one of the key power players in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, US, or…Russia. The fact of growing Turkey-Russia cooperation on a variety of issues and Qatar’s outreach to Russia in the form of a foreign minister visit and the simplification of visa rules for Russian citizens, suggests that Qatar is at least contemplating realigning its alliance membership. However, considering that all of the three above-named powers are on the opposite side of the barricades as far as Libya is concerned, it seems unlikely Qatar can maintain its proxy war there even with Turkey’s support. Therefore, almost no matter what Qatar decides to do next, it will have no choice but to write off Libya as a total loss, an act that will hasten the end of this tragic six-year war.

Donate

SouthFront

Do you like this content? Consider helping us!

  • MeThinks

    Libya…BS
    Written by someon not paying attn to what happened as it happened

    Libya is NATO and Washingtons fault

  • MeThinks

    Haftar goverment of shi*t has same discriminitory bias to Iran as Sauds

    • Red Tick Alert

      In this case it has nothing to with the main division of Islam, but the minor ones. Nothing to do with Iran either.

    • Mikronos

      Actually we don’t know what the “government” of Haftar has, because he’s not a ‘government’ yet. What we do know is that he has made deals with some Moslem extremists to go after Moslem extremists he dislikes even more. He has an ‘in’ with the Air Force command , but soime of the army would shoot him, as soon as look at him. Libya is, underneath it all, a tribal country – we’re not sure what tribal support he has and without that the fattest money biefcase in Maryland or bestest western security force won’t stop somebdy tribal cutting his throat.

      He’s photogenic enough to make the cover of any US publication without frightening somebody.

  • Rodney Loder

    Libya was NATO’S last stand.

    • Mikronos

      Last Stand? They were doing the ‘hokey pokey’, same as always.

  • Mikronos

    How did Haftar rise to command the National Army, when he reappeared in Libya – after wanderin in the US desert, all he had with him was a small bodyguard and a briefcase full of US dollars. He bought the Chief of the Air Force soon after arriving but one would have thought that, having been there for all the fun, the flyboy would have wanted to command. Too bad he didn’t have the briefcase.

    It is little wonder that Haftar, with his Georgetown connections, would be advertised as some kind of ‘saviour of his country’, at least by his American pals. I think he still has some pretty stiff local competition.

    As far as Qatar in Libya is concerned that was just another ‘Arab coalition’ effort (with the UAE in the starring role) like the other one in Somalia that Qatar pulled out of last week.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      After all the buy-gold articles, seems people still like those dollars…

      • Mikronos

        To buy gold? They call that ‘realising value’.

        And everybody does it, for saving paper is, essentially, quite stupid.

  • MeMadMax

    It doesn’t matter what happens to Qatar at this point…

    It is now a Russian Ally(hopefully).

    • Ronald

      If they were smart , yes , but wishful thinking .
      They think their money will protect them , but they are most likely about to be hit .

      • Ma_Laoshi

        Being a Russian ally like Syria is — smart? That must be why Norway – Sweden – Finland – Montenegro all are moving in the other direction. It’s not about being mature or responsible, or countries could just join up with Pope Francis and leave it at that. It’s about who can protect the little ones.

        • Red Tick Alert

          What a ridiculous comment.

        • Ronald

          “Libya wanted to dump the petrodollar and get the whole of Africa trading in the Gold-Dinar coin “, from Red Tick Alert , got it on the button . Trading in the petrodollar , is the red line that Qatar crossed , therefore their high rank on the hit list . Qatar has a deal with China to accept their currency rather than US dollars . In order to stay among the living , they have three choices , Russia , Iran , or Turkey . Iran is the most practical , although Shia and Wahhabi , are polar opposites . As far as I can see ,Turkey has already sold them out , Russia would be a “neutral corner” , and strong enough regardless of northern Europe politics .

          • Ma_Laoshi

            Yeah I know the petrodollar angle, and how, without nukes of your own, you tend to get whacked just for questioning it. Which means that the US is still powerful and *dangerous*, and I think Qatar will continue to play ball with them as long as humanely possible. I mean what would the alternative even be: Qatar asking the Dark Throne “please vacate your principal air base” would be a much bigger joke than Angie asking Obama “please stop spying on my cell phone”.

            The US is putting on a big show in Syria to show that Russia is NOT strong enough to confront the US. It’s not even the Kremlin’s fault really if China’s not on board. If one is to find hope in small steps, I’d say that at least Russia/Turkey/Iran are not at each other’s throat for the moment, so the options you present are not mutually exclusive.

        • MeMadMax

          The right is now left, left is now right…

          Better jump ship while you still can…

      • MeMadMax

        Well, you never know. All russia has to do is sprinkle some “peacekeepers” here or there and will keep them at bay until the big guns arrive.

    • Mikronos

      Where did you get that news? Fox?

      • MeMadMax

        Whats Fox?

  • Dimosthenis Cochliaridis

    CIA plan is to ship all those salafi terrorist in Syria and Turkey to Libya and other North-afferican Lands.

    • MeMadMax

      They already been doing that for years now…

  • Ma_Laoshi

    Oh please: pre-war Libya was “one of the richest countries” IN AFRICA. I guess Libyans see the advantage of that looking back, but let’s keep some proportion.

    • Mikronos

      It may have been. African wages aren’t all that god. My doctor was educated in Libya and he desn’t seem to need any feathers or bones to treat me – speaks english too!! And Ghaddafi let him go!!!!.

  • Ma_Laoshi

    Isn’t this some conveniently-timed blame-shifting onto Qatar now that they’re down? Yes they’re scum; so are all other sides in the Libyan chaos. For chrissakes Gadhafi himself was scum but he looks great compared to ALL others, because he cared about the country to some extent. How can we make anything of these words without even being told their *author* and who (s)he works for?

    • Red Tick Alert

      Why was he scum ?

      “because he cared about the country to some extent” – tell me what extent look it up, because you maybe surprised.

      Totally agree with the last sentence.

      • Ma_Laoshi

        The younger Gadhafi had an appetite for supporting all kinds of “moderate opposition” in other people’s countries. Of course the CIA does this on a vastly bigger scale, but I think it’s consistent to condemn both. The older Gadhafi is someone who’d been decades in power, and it led to the same rot as with Thatcher/Blair/Merkel; WILL happen to Putin as well if he hangs on. And I just cannot overlook torture, which I blame both on him and on the westerners who sent their captives to Hotel Tripoli. Whether these rise to the level of scum… seeing Libya without him yes I can see your side as well. If you’ve actually worked in Libya for an extended time, I’d give much weight to your judgement.

        Like all dictators, he never put the country first to a sufficient degree to actually let go. Let’s face it, any independent country exhibiting some kind of weakness will have their door knocked down by the Huns. We condemn the Huns but they don’t seem to care. Some time needs to be spent on *why* these countries are weak, and lionizing their leadership may lead to rose-tinted glasses.

        • Ronald

          Plato’s ideal government was the “benevolent dictatorship” , which Omar Qadhafi , was , he was too good was the problem , large agri projects ,gold backed currency , etc., and selling the concept of a US of Africa . Omar’s weakness was he failed to see the red line of the US , trade must be done in US dollars . He also failed to imagine they would bomb Libya back into the stone age in order to enforce that .
          His son ,al Islam , does have a degree from the London School of Economics , is he Salafist or Wahhabi ? Will he live to rule Libya , quite likely , because of his father the people would be behind him . That’s not to say he will be the benevolent dictator , but he might at least reunite the country .

          • Ma_Laoshi

            It may be hubris but I’m going to differ with Plato on that. Or maybe that was for his time but shouldn’t we move on? My other family (still unsure if you’re Dutch LOL) is East European, and they were truly exasperated that western fellow travelers couldn’t appreciate that Communist oppression wasn’t funny. I hate seeing the EU slide into authoritarianism; if I nonetheless wished the same upon Libyans, isn’t that placing the darkies on a lower level than myself? Have we not learned from Orwell that unchallenged power *always* corrupts? Or just listen to Chancellor Palpatine for chrissakes.

            But yes, Muammar Gadhafi and Uncle Saddam ultimately were too soft for the real world, even though we don’t tend to speak of them that way. How does Washington manage to mindfuck *everyone*? Happening now to Putin as well. Maybe they really know a thing or two about religion in that place. Then again, maybe they just buy off all opposition with the dollars they print; for me, antisemitic stereotype fails most clearly in that the greed of the goyim truly is boundless.

          • Ronald

            My family did have properties etc. confiscated by the communists after WWII , so communist authoritarianism , is not the Platonic “ideal” I had in mind .
            Accountability , or central command , is a key ingredient in running any functional organization . Larger organizations become dangerous when the right hand has no idea what the left is doing . A good king or dictator will at least have a clear idea of what he has ordered , and to whom . Hopefully a clear idea of the general direction . I’m not convinced that power always corrupts , but a corrupt power is always challenged .
            “Representative Democracy”, is delivering boundless greed , you got that right

          • Ma_Laoshi

            All fair enough. I know the US Constitution was written by hypocrites; at least there were smart hypocrites among them, with the foresight to let power challenge itself. It’s too early for me to become sentimental, but has the ever-present greed always been boundless? In W Europe, it seems to me some kind of Rubicon was crossed in the Clinton-Blair “third way” years, when greed got to be glorified *on all sides*. Confiscating Tony’s dirty money… that’s the day I’d dance in the street.

  • Red Tick Alert

    What a load of tosh.

    Libya wanted to dump the US petrodollar and get the whole of Africa trading in the Gold Dinar coin.

    Oh something like this may also assist the author on his next attempt on the article – http://conspiracy-nation.com/only-3-countries-in-the-world-without-a-rothschild-central-bank/

    In fact, whilst I love this site, this must be the worst article I have read….

    After Trump visited Saudi, the World knew the view of the scum and the deep state afterwards. They want Iran and Iran is the biggest terrorist ever in humanity (the hypocrisy still makes me laugh).

    Iran just smirks and wipes its jacket’s shoulder down, the laughs, so the next target was Qatar who have strong links with Iran in a Varity of ways – however I would guess it is predominately due to the Quatarian North (Dome) / Iranian South Pars gas field that they jointly develop; one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the World.

    I could go on about the new geopolitical alliances springing up or even the support of the Muslim Brotherhood; but I you should be doing that.

    Not impressed, my view only.

  • wimroffel

    McCain’s description of Russia as a “Gas Station Masquerading As a Country” certainly applies to Qatar.