The Pharaoh vs. The Sultan: A New Threat of War for Libya?


Of all of the worldwide cases of national development and re-development which have taken place in the 21st century, the case of Libya is arguably the most tragic of them all (alongside the case of Syria, where the true face of the Arab Spring was bared, for all to see). Following the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the seemingly democratic opposition movement that replaced his own regime very quickly descended into a disorganised and destructive political coalition, mostly made up of different tribes, Islamists and Western mercenaries. The main goal of the coalition was simple – the indefinite destabilisation and long-term collapse of a state which was formerly the most developed on the African continent. The reason behind this self-destructive goal? Because Libya under Gaddafi was fundamentally opposed to Western influence in the region, and the Libyan state proved that a nation did not need to bow to the influence of American imperialism in order to gain power and influence in the world. Libya became Africa’s most successful country because Gaddafi was simply an effective leader.



Following the West’s destruction of the Libyan state – a campaign supported by French intellectual Bernard-Henry Levy – the West’s alleged desire to bring peace and democracy to the Libyan people did not come to pass. Instead, it resulted in a new and protracted civil war in the country, as well as the establishment of a new slave trade in North Africa. These two resulting events following the death of Muammar Gaddafi are also significant factors towards the ongoing migration crisis plaguing Europe today.


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Regarding the ongoing series of civil conflicts in Libya nowadays, there are two primary belligerents – the unity government under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, who are also supported by the Western powers, and, on the other side, General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA). However, when Haftar was marching on Tripoli – following the defeat of the Islamic State in Libya – in order to end the war, a surprising turn of events occurred. President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan intervened in the conflict, and managed to rout Haftar’s forces. Erdogan’s rationale for getting involved in the Libyan conflict was primarily his desire to expand Turkey’s sphere of geo-political influence in North Africa, as well as to pursue the goal of reclaiming the “Blue Homeland” – the nickname for the waters around this part of the Mediterranean Sea. The Tripoli Government remains supportive of the Turkish claims.


Most significant targets for Islamic extremism in Egypt are the Coptic Christian.


The following counter-offensive caused concern in Cairo. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared on the 20th July that Egypt will intervene in Libya if the Government of National Unity moved to capture the city of Sirte in Libya, which is a crucial location for Libya’s oil trade. The question that remains is why exactly the Egyptian government are so interested in the military advancements of the Libyan government? President el-Sisi seized power following a coup d'état in 2013 against Muslim Brotherhood official Mohamed Morsi. Following this seizure of power, militant Islamic fundamentalist and Arab nationalist groups proceeded to remove various Muslim Brotherhood members and Salafists from various positions of power. Since the coup, Egypt has been suffering from an unprecedented level of Islamic extremism. Currently, the most significant targets for these extremists in Egypt are the Coptic Christian minority in the country. However, one of the main objectives for el-Sisi in Libya is to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining influence and control in the war-torn country. If the Muslim Brotherhood were to seize control of Libya, this success would likely lead to a significant boost in morale for el-Sisi’s enemies within Egypt itself, thus increasing the risk to his own political power, as well as his own life. Although we have little idea as to when the crisis in Libya will likely come to an eventual halt, the ultimate outcome in Libya – whoever emerges victorious – thus not only affects the future of Libya itself, but also the future geo-political ambitions of the governments in Egypt and Turkey as well.


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Since the end of August, political developments in North Africa emerge rapidly. On the 21st August, a ceasefire was announced between the warring factions of Libya; the city of Sirte is now at the centre of a demilitarised zone; on the 17th September, the Chief of Libya's Unity Government in Tripoli resigned, as well as his counterpart in Tobruk. They did so in the hopes of increasing opportunities for the creation of free and fair elections in the future, as well as to increase the possibility of a newly-unified Libyan state. Although the best outcome would be the re-emergence of a unified and peaceful Libya, the geo-political rivalry between Egypt and Turkey for greater influence in North Africa is yet another obstacle on this long road to peace.


Alexander Markovics*


Alexander Markovics


*About Alexander: Alexander Markovics was born in Austria on May 9, 1991. He is Secretary General of the Vienna-based Suvorov Institute, which is dedicated to foster an understanding between Austria and Russia, as well as the dissemination and popularization of the Fourth Political Theory, and the European New Right. His main research interests are the emerging multipolar world, the European New Right and the Fourth Political Theory. In view of the advancing Americanization and liberalization, it is his goal to help regain the epistemological sovereignty of Europe and to make his contribution to the decolonization of Europe from the (post-) modern age, as well as the rediscovery of its tradition. Originally a leader and co-founder of the Identitarian Movement in Austria, he left the movement after it turned to transatlantism and right-wing liberalism. Since then he has worked as an author and translator of texts from English into German. He is a regular author of the “Deutsche Stimme” (German Voice) magazine, in which he writes the column “Einspruch” (Objection). Alexander has also written articles on geopolitical and metapolitical topics for a number of blogs and magazines in German-speaking countries. In June 2020, his book “Der Aufstieg der Neuen Rechten” (The Rise of the New Right) was published in German by Arcadi.


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