Voices from the Arab Press: LIBYA AND THE TURKISH OCCUPIER

On the one hand, Turkey wants to join the EU, but on the other hand, it is aligning itself with Russia.

By MEDIA LINE
July 17, 2019 16:48
Voices from the Arab Press: LIBYA AND THE TURKISH OCCUPIER

TURKEY’S PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN – then Turkish prime minister – speaks to the Libyan people on the 80th anniversary of the martyrdom of Libyan resistance hero Omar al-Mukhtar, near the shrine of his burial place in Benghazi, on September 16, 2011.. (photo credit: ESAM AL-FETORI / REUTERS)

LIBYA AND THE TURKISH OCCUPIER
Al-Etihad, UAE, July 9
What does Turkey want from Libya? What are Turkish soldiers doing on Libyan soil? Is it Libyan oil and gas? Yes. Is it the desire to extend Turkish influence outside of Europe? Yes. Is it an attempt to grow Turkey’s influence over the Arab world? Yes. It is all of the above. The Libyan Army, parliament and people seek to restore the Libyan state to normalcy and assert full sovereignty over their national territory. They are supported by the vast majority of Arab countries. But the Libyan capital has been hijacked by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and ISIS.
All of these armed groups are funded by three countries: Iran, Turkey and Qatar. Turkey has no interest in seeing stability restored to Libya. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally warned of a massive movement of terrorists from Syria into Libya, with the logistical and financial support of Ankara. Erdogan has made it his personal goal to fight the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by commander Khalifa Haftar, through direct military confrontation. Yet the Turkish economy is still weak and the currency is still highly undervalued. Turkey, which is threatened by US sanctions, is playing a duplicitous game: On the one hand, it wants to join the EU, but on the other hand, it is aligning itself with Russia.
Erdogan has turned his country into a brutal dictatorship that crushes the rights of its own people while supporting terrorism around the world. It is a modern state that should not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. However, it is led by a megalomaniac who has the dream of restoring the Ottoman Empire back to its glory days. The Libyan Army no longer tolerates direct Turkish and Qatari involvement in Libyan affairs. It explicitly threatened to target Turkish ships, planes and personnel found on Libyan soil. There is ample evidence showing how Turkey exported light and heavy weapons to support the militias in Libya while helping facilitate the movement of terrorists from Syria to Libya.
Unfortunately for Europe, these militias that are supported by Erdogan will not protect Europe from illegal immigrants. The only true way to protect Europe is to ensure a stable and independent Libyan state that can oversee its own internal affairs and protect its own borders. Therefore, a political and diplomatic coalition must be created to fight the Turkish-Qatari aggression on Libya. This should consist of Arab, Muslim and international actors who oppose the Turkish hostility in northern Africa and who want to collectively work to ensure Libya’s sovereignty. – Abdullah bin Bajad al-Otaibi

IRAQI CORRUPTION BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY
Al-Arab, London, July 8
Many Iraqis today return to the writings of Hanna Batatu, Maruf al-Rusafi, Ali Al-Wardi, Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab, King Faisal, Noureddine Al-Said and their likes. These were renowned poets, critics, novelists and political leaders who played a fundamental role in Iraq’s long history. While studying the texts produced by these great thinkers should be lauded, it also serves as a form of escapism. Looking into the rich lives of these historical figures helps one evade the gloom surrounding us today in Iraq’s political system.
Unlike the giants who helped build Iraq, today’s politicians don’t care about the Iraqi homeland. Instead, they are obsessed with their power, their money and their prestige. Like a suffering patient in need of painkillers, Iraqis today find themselves returning to their past in search of stories of integrity, honesty, patriotism, honor and dignity. Truthfully, however, these past eras were not free of corruption. In his memoirs, for example, Abdul Aziz Al Qassab, who served as prime minister in 1926, recalls many instances of embezzlement and bribery during the days of Ottoman rule, the British Mandate and even during the era of Iraqi independence. The difference is that today’s corruption has become public. People are no longer ashamed of it.
Iraq’s government ministries are tight-knit cliques of corrupt men and their cronies. The same is true of the Iraqi military leadership and even the Iraqi private sector: banks, investment institutions and trade unions. All of these serve the interests of strongmen located outside Iraq’s borders, not the interests of the average Iraqi citizen. Iraq’s elected officials no longer pretend to care about their public; they unashamedly abandoned their people in their quest for money and personal influence abroad. – Ibrahim Al-Zubaidi

LIBYA AND THE ARAB LEAGUE
Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, July 11
The Arab League’s hesitant and distant stance toward Libya – especially after it turned down a request from Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the Libyan Presidential Council, to help his country block Turkish aggression – raises fundamental questions about the effectiveness of this organization, which is supposed to support its Arab member-states. Instead of coming to the rescue of Libya, the Arab League has maintained a neutral position.
This is especially shocking when one considers the close Turkish-Qatari alliance, which directly undermines the interests of most Arab nations. In a desperate attempt to salvage his country’s economy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accepted Qatar’s offer to serve as the latter’s mercenary in North Africa. The goal: to save the Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist militias that make up the Sarraj army, which occupies Tripoli, from defeat. The victory of the Sarraj army is a victory for terrorism in the North African region, which in turn makes Libya a base from which terrorists can expand their activities into the rest of Africa.
According to reports that are still circulating, the Turks have begun to ship hundreds of terrorists to Syria on Turkish boats. This means that Libya and its army, which control more than 85% of Libyan territory, will face a real dilemma in the near future. The question that we should all keep returning to is the following: What is Turkey’s benefit in intervening in a country located hundreds of miles from its borders? The short answer is Qatari money, on the one hand, and support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, on the other.
Do the Arab League’s member-states truly fail to understand this reality? Do they lack the minimal decency to intervene to stop this Turkish aggression, if not for the sake of stopping terrorism in Libya then for the sake of stopping terrorism within their own borders? Unless terrorism is uprooted in Libya right now, we will witness the country continuing to fall into the hands of extremists. Soon enough, Libya will become a base of operations for the Islamic State in Africa. I call upon the member-states of the Arab League to immediately work to contain this problem. Now is the time; before it becomes too late.
– Mohammed Al-Sheikh

THE IRANIANS HAVE LOST HOPE IN TRUMP
Al-Arabia, Saudi Arabia, July 10
Trump ordered a military strike on Iranian targets but decided to back down at the very last minute because a respected general appeared on Fox News, saying an attack would be a mistake. The name of this four-star general is Jack Keane, and he voiced similar concerns about some of the President Trump’s decisions in the past. For example, Keane strongly criticized Trump when the latter decided to withdraw all US forces from Syria following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both Trump and Keane know very well that the US drone that was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz, which warranted a US response against Iran, was not targeted accidentally.
But Keane provided Trump with the right excuse at the right time, given the president’s reluctance to go to war with Iran. This decision was certainly not received well. It resulted in Trump’s critics comparing him to his predecessor, Barack Obama, who in August 2012 threatened to use force against the Assad regime if the latter used chemical weapons against civilians. Assad crossed this red line but the White House did not react. Trump built his reputation as a strong and aggressive man by painting Obama as a weak and cowardly leader. This humiliating comparison, which personally insulted Trump, made him come out in declarations to the press that he was not a dove, not a hawk, but a rational man.
Trump may have made a mistake in refraining from striking Iran, but the fact remains that the current administration maintains a firm and decisive strategy to punish the aggressive Iranian regime. This is in contrast to president Obama, who did not have any strategy in Syria and chose, instead, to leave the country in an effort to appease the Iranian regime. The Iranians tried to provoke Trump in more than one way, with statements and slogans, and then by deeds, but the White House remained steadfast in its strategic position to crack down on the mullah regime. Tehran tried to turn Trump’s secretary of state against his national security advisor, and both of them against Trump himself. But this effort did not succeed.
After the decision to cancel the strike, Iran’s propaganda machine, with the help of the anti-Trump media and a handful of its loyalists in the Western world, began to circulate false reports that the president had been pressured by some members of his administration to strike Iran. The Iranian foreign minister, Jawad Zarif, even mocked Trump for being “manipulated” to enter a war he does not want to enter. But Trump eventually had the last say when, just a few days later, he imposed new sanctions on the Iranian leadership in a clear sign that he was serious and unafraid of escalating the situation with Iran.
This step helped him restore his image to an extent. Consequently, the Iranians have lost hope in Trump. They now know that he is fully aligned with his closest aides in his effort to strangle Iran economically in a strong and comprehensive manner. If war with Iran is to take place, it would happen at a time that best suits Trump, not when it is most convenient for Tehran. – Mamdouh Mahini

The Media Line


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