Monday, February 24, 2020

The Eastern Med Rivalry

The alliance between Turkey and the UN-recognised government of Libya changes the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean and across the Middle East. 

 On November 27, Turkey and Libya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that commits Turkey to providing military assistance to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA). The MoU also redraws Turkey’s maritime boundaries in a way that dramatically impacts the transport of gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe. Particularly worrying is that this new deal will undermine  plans for a 1,900-kilometer EastMed pipeline connecting the Israeli Leviathan  and the Cypriot Aphrodite gas fields to the EU.  

The deal undermines their ability to transport natural gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe without crossing Turkish waters. In any event, the Turkey-Libya agreement has set the stage for a broader conflict that will unavoidably involve Egypt, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Russia and the United States.

Turkey’s policy makes it more likely that its rivals will increase their support for the Libyan other government led by Haftar who’s forces currently control more than 70% of the Libyan territory while almost 60% of the population is under the control of the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. 

According to Turkish news: “More than half of Haftar’s troops are mercenaries from Russia and Sudan, who are mainly paid by the Gulf states.” 

Now adding to the civil war are Turkish-supplied and equipped Syrian mercenaries.

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