The Libyan crisis is solved yet, with no significant optimism for settlement after the Berlin II Conference, which came to a conclusion a few days ago.
Egypt succeeded in thwarting Turkey’s plan, which is that the Dbeiba government will expel all foreign forces and mercenaries, except for the Turkish forces. This is based on the illegal security agreement signed between Ankara and the former government of Al-Serraj
The reality indicates that Turkey will procrastinate, as usual, in implementing the withdrawal from Libya.
Dbeiba’s speech at the conference, indeed, included all the points in general, but it did not present what the government had realistically accomplished, nor did it present a clear plan for a solution.
Moreover, analysts view Dbeiba’s remarks about a security plan to secure the elections as “just an illusion”, stressing that some members of the government meet with the militias at graduation parties held for them as if they were regular forces, describing them as “heroes”.
In addition, 200 new Syrian mercenaries were brought to Libya just days before the Berlin II Conference, which means that the matter still poses a great danger.
On the other hand, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not waste time, and immediately began practicing acrobatics and shuffling the cards. He also deliberately blackmailed the US and offered President Joe Biden a “stay versus stay” plan.
This means that Turkish forces would remain in Afghanistan to cover the withdrawal of US forces from there, in exchange for the US side agreeing to the Turkish military presence in Libya.
This provoked Egyptian diplomacy, which immediately issued several decisive messages to Turkey, including non-interference in the affairs of Arab countries. Alongside this was the commitment to the full withdrawal plan from Libya, and Egypt’s rejection of any negotiations regarding the Mediterranean gas file.
Cairo also gave Ankara a choice between leaving Libya or suspending negotiations to restore relations between the two countries. Finally, Egypt took a step to confirm its seriousness, as it suspended any negotiations with the Turkish side until further notice.
The complexities of the Libyan scene currently, for Turkey, are no longer in favour of the military forces’ survival on the ground, but in the number of gains that are supposed to be reaped after the stability of the situation.
This especially relates to the field of reconstruction, and was revealed in a study issued by the UN a few days ago prepared by the UN Committee Economic and Social Affairs of Western Asia (ESCWA) under the title “Peace in Libya: Benefits for Neighbouring Countries and the World”.
This study emphasises the importance of the recent positive developments in the country, which will be translated into a rise in economic growth rates, and an increase in investments.
It also heralds job creation within Libya and in neighbouring countries, especially Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Sudan. Bringing peace to Libya will launch reconstruction efforts. This will certainly generate significant economic gains for these countries in light of the linkage of their economies to the Libyan economy.
Since the outbreak of the conflict, ESCWA has shed light on its social and economic impacts by assessing the quantitative impact not only of the devastation it has caused but also by calculating the return on bringing peace to Libya and neighbouring countries, intending to promote dialogue between the Libyan parties and regional and international actors.
The study indicates that by 2025, economic gains in Egypt will reach about $100bn, in Sudan about $22bn, in Tunisia about $10bn, and in Algeria about $30bn. The study adds that peace in Libya will present opportunities at the international level, which will generate economic gains for Libya’s main trading partners, such as Italy, Germany, France, and Turkey. The gains in these countries are expected to reach $13bn, $7.5bn, $6bn, and $5bn, respectively.
The study also analyses the quantitative impact of peace through a set of main indicators, including the expected growth following the reconstruction process. It also includes the desired results on investments, and the resumption of exports to Libya, in addition to the impact of all this on employment levels in neighbouring countries. There is the added possibility that unemployment in Sudan will decrease by 14% until 2025, 9% in Egypt, 6% in Tunisia, and 2% in Algeria.
The study focuses on the results of the second phase of the ESCWA project concerned with measuring the impact of peace in Libya on the reconstruction of the country.
This falls within the framework of the Libyan social and economic dialogue implemented by ESCWA to discuss the alternative social and economic frameworks required to achieve sustainable development in Libya.
The situation between Egypt and Libya is historical, and it can have its geographical and moral justifications as well, but it remains ambiguous and suspicious with a country like Turkey that sought and continues to portray itself as an extension of the hateful Ottoman heritage.
Therefore, it is fighting for the sake of the forbidden yield, and this is not strange for the Ottoman ruler, who stupidly repeats the catastrophes of history, forgetting that conditions are no longer the same as in the past – and that there is a country called Egypt that can restrain him and put an end to his conspiracies.
Dr Hatem Sadek, Professor at Helwan University