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Tuesday, 21 July 2020

House authorizes potential military intervention in Libya

House authorizes potential military intervention in Libya: The House of Representatives yesterday gave the all-clear to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to deploy Egyptian troops to Libya. Meeting in a closed session, MPs voted unanimously to authorize the president to send the military over the border to counter what a parliamentary statement described as “armed criminal militias” and “foreign terrorist elements.” The vote came a few days after the president pledged to protect tribal leaders in the east of the country if forces loyal to the UN-recognized government in Tripoli try to seize the strategic town of Sirte in the center of the country. Eastern lawmakers allied with Eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar (backed by Egypt, the UAE, Russia and France) called on the Sisi administration this month to intervene after Turkey helped forces loyal to Tripoli make battlefield gains.

El Sisi, Trump agree on need for ceasefire: El Sisi and President Donald Trump agreed in a phone call yesterday on the need to agree a lasting ceasefire, Ittihadiya said. El Sisi voiced concern over what he described as “foreign interference” — a reference to the Turkish military presence in Libya — which he said undermined security.

What the pundits are saying: According to the FT’s Heba Saleh, “Mr Sisi has made clear that an Egyptian incursion into Libya would be aimed at cementing dividing lines and spurring talks towards a settlement.” She quotes a Cairo-based Western diplomat as suggesting it is “unlikely Egypt would take its forces all the way to Sirte, some 900km from its borders. He argued that a limited presence in eastern Libya was the likelier option, along with potential strikes by the Egyptian air force.”

Shoukry has been looking for support in the Levant: Palestinian sources said yesterday that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s trip to the West Bank this week was focused on securing support against Turkey. We’re assuming this featured heavily in the conversation Shoukry had with the king of Jordan too.

Ankara seems to be searching for support from the Statelet: Turkey’s defense minister met with his Qatari counterpart yesterday, according to a statement by Qatar’s Defense Ministry, which didn’t provide additional details.

The story is receiving wide coverage in the international press: Reuters | Associated Press | AFP | France 24 | Bloomberg | Financial Times | SBS | Deutsche Welle | Al Monitor | Xinhua | Arab News | The National.

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