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Middle East Press on Supreme Leader, Netanyahu and Saudi-Hosted G-20 Summit: New Age Islam's Selection, 22 October 2020


By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

22 October 2020

• Iran Suffers As the Supreme Leader's House Crumbles

By Dr. Kamal Azari and Mohsen Sazegara

• 'Mr. Security' Netanyahu Discovers: Security Last Thing on Israelis’ Minds

By Mazal Mualem

• Citing Rights Abuses, House Democrats Push Administration To Snub Saudi-Hosted G-20 Summit

By Elizabeth Hagedorn

• Will Santa Bring The Much-Desired Antidote To The Pandemic?

By Ambica Sachin

• Turkey-Africa Ties In Framework of Libya and East Med Developments

By İrfan Kaya Ülger - Huriye Yildirim Çinar

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Iran Suffers As the Supreme Leader's House Crumbles

By Dr. Kamal Azari and Mohsen Sazegara

21 October 2020

 

Riot police tries to disperse people as they protest on a highway against increased gas price in Tehran, Iran in November 2019. (File photo: AFP)

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While some may argue that Iran is a democracy, it is, in fact, a nation controlled within the Bayt, or house of the Ayatollah. A house that is crumbling.

At the core of the Ayatollah’s empire is a small group of leaders who have planned for and created a Shia theocracy for the past thirty years. The Bayt followed a straightforward but dynamic course. It elevated the Ayatollah to a mythical character with supernatural powers. It accumulated as much wealth as possible to buy and support street thugs in Iran and neighboring countries. It took credit for any victory and blamed elected officials for any defeat. In contrast, the elected officials had to balance the books and face the music.

Now, this house of cards is collapsing. The empire is lost, and the Zionist archenemy is 21 miles from the border. The coronavirus has ravaged the nation. The economy is in shambles. Corruption is rampant, and the disgruntled population is in the majority. Strikes have spread across several economic sectors. Financial market crises are adding more fuel to discontent, and massive unemployment creates survival problems for many. Environmental disaster, in the form of air and water pollution, degradation of farmland, and increasing climate change, looms overall.

In such dire circumstances, the old trick of dodging responsibility no longer works. The mounting problems are eroding the core of the theocracy. Some of the Ayatollah’s more daring associates see that the emperor has no clothes even if they don’t acknowledge it publicly. Still, the daily inertia of decision making at the Bayt has created a political vacuum that elected officials cannot fill. The demoralized and discouraged elected president has lost all his capabilities. He faces an empty treasury, the scorn of the public, and a demoralized working class.

These realities have forced Bayt to find a way out. As expected, the solution is more of the same familiar approaches and none has the potential to elevate Iran from its current condition.

Sayyid Mojtaba Hosseini Khamenei, the Ayatollah’s son and heir apparent, represents one attempt at preservation. His radical tendencies promise a return to the original revolutionary zeal and the bloody fundamentalist principles of the Revolution. In an effort to solidify control and address growing corruption, Mojtaba developed and began to implement a plan to replace some 8,000 aging and corrupt leaders in the judiciary, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, its intelligence, military and national radio and television.

Such Bayt housekeeping attempts have caused pushback from the institutions’ senior leaders. This group of leaders represents the second power center at the top closest to the supreme leader. Perhaps fearing for their own careers, these senior officials also include General Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran and many high ranking officials. This group advises a slower course of reform, insisting any change should be gradual and not generational.

A third group, which possesses a good deal less power and influence, advocates reconciliation with past reformers, the rehabilitation of former president Mohammad Khatami, and ending the house arrest of Mir- Hossein Moussavi and Medhi Karoubi. Their proposals seem to have little chance.

In fact, none of the proposed solutions represents the magic bullet Iran needs to rescue itself from complete collapse. Here, the reality of dictatorial power reveals itself; commands alone are not enough to save a corrupt and wounded nation. If they were, many of history’s great empires would still stand. This predicament has left the regime in a precarious position, one from which it has no way to extricate itself.

On August 30, disgruntled leaders expressed their concerns in a secure video conference with the Ayatollah, who came out in full support of his son, adding more to the confusion and dismay of his leaders. It seems that the only solution has been to incite fear among the population by increasing punishments for active protests or demands for political reform.

But long jail sentences and executions of many innocent young people will not solve Iran’s fundamental social problems. These actions will cause the regime to lose even more of its legitimacy. Like all other totalitarian regimes, somehow, they have managed to paint themselves into a corner. An end to the regime is the only escape, and it will come sooner than later.

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Kamal Azari and Mohsen Sazegara are Founding Board Members of the Iran Transition Council, an alliance of Iranians of different ethnic and religious backgrounds launched last year as an alternative voice to the government in Iran. Azari directs the ITC in the United States. Sazegara directs the ITC Civil Resistance group and was one of the founders of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2020/10/21/Iran-suffers-as-the-Supreme-Leader-s-house-crumbles

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'Mr. Security' Netanyahu discovers: security last thing on Israelis’ minds

By Mazal Mualem

Oct 21, 2020

 

Naftali Bennett (L) speaks to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on March 4, 2020. Bennett has stolen Netanyahu's thunder on the coronavirus. Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

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Shortly before the April 2019 Knesset election, the Israel Democracy Institute published the results of an extensive poll that asked what issue was most important to Israelis as they headed out to vote. Based on its findings, most Israelis were focused on social or economic matters. Some 45% of respondents responded that these were the most important issues for them, ranking significantly higher than foreign affairs and security (28%), religion and state (11%) or bolstering and defending democracy (9%).

The actual election showed a different result. People may have been thinking about the economy or democracy, but their votes still focused on security affairs. Most Israelis cast their ballots for the Likud headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who prides himself on his brand as “Mr. Security,” or for the former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party. In fact, three out of the four men at the top of the Blue and White list were former chiefs of staff: Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya’alon.

There was nothing unusual about this vote either. Most Israelis identify their existential dread with security threats. It is a paradigm that is hard to break, which is why it has been the top consideration in just about every election until now. Certainly, there were years in which complaints about government corruption gained momentum. That is what happened in 1992, when the Likud was considered to be a corrupt party. Even then, however, it was not the sole factor in determining the outcome of the vote. The winner of that election was Yitzhak Rabin, who was also a former chief of staff. Israelis believed that he would be able to rein in terrorism within Israel.

Netanyahu has benefited from this voting pattern. He spent much of his time as prime minister benefiting from the “Mr. Security” label. Even when he ran against three former chiefs of staff in three successive election campaigns, he came out on top. The results prove themselves. He is still prime minister.

But then the coronavirus came and reshuffled the deck. The results for Netanyahu were nothing short of tragic. The pandemic began to spread in what was otherwise a good year for Netanyahu, in terms of both civil and security affairs. There was quiet along most of the country’s borders, and people enjoyed a high level of personal security (figures provided by the Defense Ministry for the last 56 years show that not a single Israeli was killed as a result of terrorism from August 2019 to August this year). There were also important achievements in the campaigns against Iran and Hezbollah over the last decade, and Israeli maintained its status as a regional military superpower. In addition to all of this, Netanyahu surprised everyone by signing peace agreements with two important Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which further strengthened Israel’s standing in the region. And there were other achievements, too, resulting from Netanyahu’s excellent relations with US President Donald Trump. The United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and relocated its embassy to Jerusalem. Both of these fulfilled the aspirations of Israelis, regardless of political affiliation.

And yet, while this may have been one of Israel’s most successful years in terms diplomacy and security affairs, people are still deeply worried about the economy and their health. The headlines in all media describe a health system that is starved for funds, hundreds of thousands of unemployed Israelis and businesses going under. Then there are the mass demonstrations against Netanyahu, who is accused of corruption and of dismantling Israeli democracy. Social media is flooded with images of business owners destroying their wares in protest, stories of people who died of the coronavirus, and accounts of young people in despair who are becoming a lost generation.

The most recent research and polls all indicate that this serves as fertile ground for the rise of someone such as Yamina leader Naftali Bennett. It explains why he is now the only candidate who really challenges Netanyahu’s rule. Ever since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Bennett has focused exclusively on social and economic issues. He went out to the people, visiting hospitals and meeting with business owners. “If it’s not the economy, then I’m not interested,” became his coronavirus campaign slogan. He published a book, “How to beat COVID-19,” and accused Netanyahu of leading the country to the brink of disaster. It all worked to Bennett's advantage.

Another factor that helps Bennett, but which has received less attention from the media, is the stable security situation and diplomatic developments that have benefited Israelis over the last few years. Netanyahu has many critics. Some of these are former security chiefs, who claim that he is all bluff, and that he actually poses a real threat to national security. Nevertheless, even they cannot deny these facts. It turns out that the sense of security that Israelis feel and the state of calm along the borders actually act against Netanyahu’s interests, because they give people time to focus on social and economic issues. These are people who have been taught to close ranks during security crises. They put their political differences aside and stood together during the many wars that Israel has fought against external enemies. The situation now is different. This is the first time in the country’s history that the existential threat facing Israel is internal. There is no way to blame what is happening on Hamas, Hezbollah or Iran. Netanyahu is an expert at fearmongering campaigns, particularly when it comes to Iran. Now he is discovering that security is the last thing on Israelis’ minds.

On Oct. 19, it was revealed that the IDF found an assault tunnel, which began in Gaza and aimed at penetrating Israeli territory. As it turns out, the early discovery of this tunnel was made possible because of the underground barrier under the border fence between Israel and the Strip; this barrier started being built after Operation Protective Edge in 2014. This anti-tunnel barrier includes very advanced technologies, placed dozens of meters underground. In this particular case, it revealed a tunnel that was being excavated very deep in the ground, but which was not intended for use at present. Rather, it was being dug for strategic reasons, with plans to use it in the event of war.

Military commentators reported that the IDF originally opposed the underground barrier because of its cost, but that Netanyahu applied pressure to get them to reverse their decision. He even gave the IDF an blank check for up to 1 billion shekels (nearly $300 million). Then he went down to the Gaza border and ordered the construction of an underground barrier stretching for 65 kilometers (40 miles), so as to eliminate any strategic capacities Hamas might have in the next war. The barrier is scheduled to be completed this year.

A high-ranking delegation of economic and finance ministers from the UAE arrived in Israel the very next day on a direct flight from Dubai. These are two dramatic events, but they both got swallowed up by the harsh news about the economy and the pandemic.

Netanyahu tweeted, “We continue to work doggedly on all fronts to ensure Israel’s security, and to prevent any efforts to inflict harm on our sovereignty or citizens.” There may be dramatic photos from the border with Gaza or the arrival of the delegation from the Gulf, but Israelis are still going about their day-to-day lives. As long as the border remains quiet, the only threats they really face affect their wallets and their health, and most people think that Netanyahu failed on both fronts.

The real question is whether Netanyahu can still recover politically. He knows where public sentiments lie, so he spent the last two weeks dealing exclusively with the coronavirus crisis. He has adopted a more official attitude, and has even reduced his attacks on his political rivals. The irony is that if there was a real security crisis, it would actually help him in an election.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/10/israel-gaza-strip-hezbollah-hamas-benjamin-netanyahu-bennett.html

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Citing Rights Abuses, House Democrats Push Administration to Snub Saudi-Hosted G-20 Summit

By Elizabeth Hagedorn

Oct 21, 2020

As Saudi Arabia gears up to host the Group of 20 next month, a group of House Democrats is urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to withdraw the United States from the annual summit in protest of the kingdom’s dismal human rights record.

A letter signed by more than 40 members of Congress describes Saudi Arabia as “an unfit and inappropriate” host and calls on Pompeo to make progress on human reforms a condition for US participation in this year’s meeting of major world economies.

“The Saudi government has a long record of silencing the very voices that are necessary for a meaningful global conversation regarding the massive challenges we collectively face,” the lawmakers wrote to Pompeo on Wednesday. “Our government has an obligation to ensure that G-20 convenings are not used by host governments to obscure or hide their own repressive and environmentally destructive practices.”

The letter comes as human rights organizations are dialing up the pressure on foreign governments to snub the gathering, which will be held virtually Nov. 21-22 and chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Last month, the mayors of London, Los Angeles, New York and Paris cited human rights concerns when boycotting the Urban 20, a summit of world cities held in Saudi Arabia. The European Parliament has also voted to majorly downgrade the European Union’s participation in the G-20.

“I cannot think of a worse selection to host the G-20 summit,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on a call with reporters Wednesday. “Saudi Arabia’s government stands in stark contrast to every ideal we claim to uphold as Americans.”

Since emerging as Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made good on some pledges to modernize the country, including lifting a ban on women driving. But many of the very women who campaigned for those freedoms remain behind bars.

The family of prominent right-to-drive campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul says she has been tortured, threatened with rape and periodically held in solitary confinement during the more than two years she has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia without trial.

“They stopped Loujain because she tried to help improve the situation. They will do it again and again,” said Alia al-Hathloul, the activist’s sister.

Human rights reforms, including the allowance of free expression and peaceful activism, were among the issues Pompeo said he raised with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on his visit to Washington last week.

During joint remarks with his Saudi counterpart, Pompeo touched on the plight of American citizens, including Walid Fitaihi, a dual US-Saudi citizen swept up in the Saudi government’s anti-corruption campaign. After spending nearly two years in prison, the Harvard-educated physician is now barred from leaving the country under a strict travel ban.

Saudi Arabia has faced a rising tide of criticism in Congress since the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a crime the CIA concluded was personally ordered by Prince Mohammed.

The young prince blames rogue actors inside the Saudi government but has also said he bears responsibility for what happened under his watch. In September, a Saudi court sentenced eight unnamed defendants to prison over Khashoggi’s murder in a closed-door trial widely seen as a sham.

US President Donald Trump, who repeatedly dismissed the intelligence community’s findings on Prince Mohammed’s complicity, has rebuffed calls for a reset in US-Saudi relations. Viewing Riyadh as a valuable ally and bulwark against Iran, Trump bypassed Congress to move ahead with billions of dollars in weapons sales to the kingdom.

The Trump administration has also resisted making public the intelligence community’s findings on the journalist’s murder. In an effort to hold Saudi Arabia accountable and seek information from US intelligence officials, Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz filed a civil lawsuit in a US federal court Tuesday against the crown prince and other Saudi officials.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/10/house-democrats-to-pompeo-skip-saudi-arabias-g20-over-righ.html

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Will Santa Bring The Much-Desired Antidote To The Pandemic?

By Ambica Sachin

October 22, 2020

I'm most chuffed that in the current "me first" era, there are little people who are able to think beyond themselves

"I'm going to write to Santa for medicines for all my friends so we don't get coronavirus," my five-year-old chirpily informs me one morning. The e-learning we had opted for when schools reopened for the new academic year is obviously giving him major Fomo vibes. How long do you get a first grader to sit still in front of a screen and expect him to prosper with no social interaction with kids his age? How much of Lego can you construct in your free time? How much of pretend play can you engage your mind in? Left generally unsupervised after his school work is done by midday, the painstakingly set earlier ritual of nodding off at 7 in the evening only to wake up bleary-eyed at the break of dawn and a quick dash to the bus stop has been replaced by an abysmally late wake hour. From bed to washroom to classroom with a breakfast detour is all done under a record-worthy 30 minutes at our household currently.

"My brain is paining badly," he grimaced dramatically the other day as we began another morning of classes. 'Why, what happened?,' I pretend concern as I quickly scan to make sure the computer's camera is not on and his entire class is not witnessing his histrionics. "I studied too much yesterday," he moans, his face scrunched up in what he presumes to be a look of utter misery. I'm hard pressed to not retort that he might have a better career prospect as a stand-up than an astronaut or space superhero he is aspiring to be. But apparently children have feelings, I am told, as he moans about the lack of appreciation for his self-acclaimed wunderkid traits.  

There are days when I'm tempted to tell him that yeah, appreciation might be a bit lacking in this family right now swarmed as we are with official work, house work, e-learning, in the midst of seeing ourselves through a deadly virus that has deprived many of us of the support system we had taken for granted earlier.  

From an 8 to 2 session in front of the computer screen to relaxing in front of the telly for a bit afterwards and connecting with family members back home through the mobile screen, he's been peering through a virtual window at the world for long.

"You know, I don't go down to play anymore since the monster coronavirus is all over the place - it could be in the garbage bin, in the soil.," I overheard him explain matter-of-factly to his aunt over the phone. The virus has been a regular in our vocabulary ever since we went into lockdown mode way back in March. Strict admonishments to touch absolutely nothing, including handles and walls and all shiny surfaces have become de rigueur ahead of our rare family trip outside the house.

"Please call up Ma'am and tell her I have asked Santa for the medicines," he informs me as I dash off for work. Children are incredibly resilient creatures. They love to know all the minute details of an emergency and take great pride in assuming they could be part of a heroic solution. "What can I do to help," has been a constant refrain in my house specially now that the mid-term break is on. In the midst of it all, I have also come to realise that kids, just like adults, require a sense of routine. A purpose to wake up to - and no amount of free TV time can make up for the lack of one.

And I'm most chuffed that in the current "me first" era, when under the thrall of a strong survival instinct, we are all retreating into our self-imposed bubbles - what better way to do that than by self isolating with a stockpile of food items some of us may never get through in our lifetimes - there are little people who are able to think beyond themselves. Now I just hope Santa gets the memo.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/editorials-columns/will-santa-bring-the-much-desired-antidote-to-the-pandemic

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Turkey-Africa Ties In Framework of Libya And East Med Developments

By İrfan Kaya Ülger - Huriye Yildirim Çinar

OCT 22, 2020

African countries, which already have fragile economies, are negatively affected by the Libyan crisis. After 2011, the large investments made by the Moammar Gadhafi regime in many African countries were terminated. As a result, many Africans have been deprived of potential sources of income and employment.

The seizure of Libya's assets in some African countries has also been a factor that strains relations in the region from time to time. Apart from this, Libya was an important immigration region before the civil war, where many people from African countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Sudan and Somalia found jobs for high wages and sent money to their country.

With the developments after the Arab Spring, many migrants became unemployed and started new searches to find a livelihood.

Another factor of the Libyan issue affecting the African economy is the energy dimension. After the oil fields were closed by putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar forces, daily oil production, which was 1.2 million barrels, decreased to 262,000 barrels a day. All these factors, along with the effects of the coronavirus have compounded the economic problems of the continent.

The developments in Libya have the potential to impact African countries in terms of security. The absence of peace and stability since 2011 caused Libya – which has porous borders – to be defined as a major threat to regional security.

In particular, southwestern Libya is known as a region where many radical and terrorist groups are deployed and engaged in arms and smuggling activities due to the country's security deficit and political stalemates.

Terrorist and criminal organizations here can easily cross into Europe, the Middle East or sub-Saharan African countries, as they do not have border controls. For example, it is known that many terrorist factors that came to Libya through the Middle East and then moved to northern Mali have increased the security problems in Mali.

Apart from this, global terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida and Daesh are going to have new formations in the region through Libya. The Daesh-linked structure known as the "Desert Army," which carried out actions in Chad, Niger, Algeria and Libya regions, was deployed in southern Libya and increased the number of weapons and members.

Another issue that worries sub-Saharan African countries in terms of security is migration due to conflict. The masses of people escaping from the conflicts in Libya are going to countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Chad.

In this case, the situation of these countries, which are already struggling with many political, military and economic problems, may worsen.

Another aspect of the Libyan crisis that threatens African security is its potential to increase existing ethnic conflicts. The countries involved in the Libyan issue use these tribal and ethnic groups to further their own interests and increase their effectiveness in the region.

This situation may cause new crises and conflicts by intensifying ethnic polarization in North Africa and sub-Sahara in the near future.

France and Egypt's attempts to reduce the impact of Turkey are an example. While France is trying to reestablish its former colonies in Africa such as Chad and Mali, Egypt is trying to gain the support of the tribal and tribal chiefs in the region.

In fact, Cairo emphasized the neutralization of the Fayez Sarraj administration and Turkish power in Libya by hosting the leaders of the Libyan High Tribal Council on July 20. It was even mentioned that Egypt could carry out a military intervention for this purpose. Some tribal leaders in Libya welcomed Egypt's possible military intervention, while others looked at the attitude of the Cairo government with concern.

North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa are areas of political tribal strength. In Libya, Haftar is mostly active in the rural side of eastern regions and the influence of the tribes in these regions is evident. From this general framework, it can be understood why Egypt sought support through tribes on the Libya issue.

Turkey has also recently hosted the leaders of the Tuareg ethnicity which has a dense population in North and West Africa. While Tuareg's support is important in the region, Turkey should pay attention to the potential linkages between extremist groups and criminal organizations and the local leaders.

Media agencies and think tanks that are supported by Egypt and some Western actors spread disinformation falsely accusing Turkey of supporting terrorist organizations and radicals.

This negative image of Turkey, which has been created, may profoundly affect the country’s interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and relations with the regional countries.

At this point, Turkish political leaders and assigned diplomacy officers should stay away from rhetoric and actions that could lead to speculation.

Turkey's moves in Africa

North Africa, the Sahel and sub-Saharan African countries should be included carefully in Turkey's strategies for the Eastern Mediterranean and Libyan issue. Because these regional countries are influenced heavily by developments and exposed to intense lobbying against Turkey. Being aware of this situation, Turkey's policies toward Africa have gained new momentum in the last couple of years.

Turkey has increased its diplomatic representation in Africa in recent years. The bilateral trade with the regional countries has increased substantially. Significant military and defense agreements that were signed between Turkey and African countries worry other global actors such as France, China and Russia who want to stay effective in the region.

Turkey built a military base in Somalia spending $50 million, signaling that its military presence on the continent will not remain limited by international peace operations.

Following this base and military training activities in Mogadishu, the naval jurisdiction and military cooperation agreement signed with the Sarraj government in accordance with international law and the sending of troops to Libya enabled the second Turkish military deployment in the continent.

The international media mentioned that Turkey aims to increase to three the number of countries in Africa where there is a Turkish military presence with the military agreement that was signed with the Niger government in July 2020.

After Niger, Turkey is attempting to develop political and military ties with Chad. French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing the former French colony to support Haftar forces.

Although it is thought that this support will be provided due to Chad's President Idriss Deby's closeness to France, Haftar's presence among the Libyan forces that occupied the African country in the 1980s have caused a rift between the two presidents. Turkey should assess Chad's status strategically remaining cautious about its active support for France in the Libyan crisis.

Another factor that ensures the Turkish military presence in Africa is SADAT International Defense Consultancy Company which is private security company. Considering the fact that other forces that want to be active in the continent are involved in the region with their own private military companies, Turkey's move should be understood in the context of realpolitik.

However, taking into account that the names of these military private companies are occasionally used in black propaganda against their states, SADAT's activities in the region should be carefully controlled.

Thus, SADAT may be an important institution that can strengthen Turkey's hand in the Libya crisis, and the relations with African countries will become stronger in the future.

Turkey's defense industry, which has become stronger in recent years, is very important in terms of Turkey's military moves in Africa.

The export of Turkish weapons to the region is also included in the agreements in defense and military fields signed with the continental countries. This important factor that improves bilateral relations between Turkey and African countries in the military field – if used correctly – may provide a great advantage to Turkey and the Sarraj government in the Libya crisis.

While Turkey performs these moves in the military field in Africa, Egypt as a major competitor to Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya issues is also working on creating effective military strategies in the continent.

As it is known, there are two major security threats for the Cairo government, the instability and terrorist threat from Libya and the conflict with Ethiopia in the scope of the construction of the Great Renaissance Dam.

In order to eliminate these two threats, Egypt has been making military preparations close to the Libya-Egypt border while it sent troops to the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) military base in Eritrea to tackle the second threat.

While Eritrea, experiencing border crises with Ethiopia, welcomes Cairo's move, this is followed as an alarming development by other countries in the region. According to some experts, Turkey should use the Ethiopia card against Egypt who has been considered as a major rival in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya.

However, another vital issue to be considered in this regard is that while supporting Ethiopia against the Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi regime for the interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, relations with Egypt and Sudan are at risk in the long term.

As a result, Turkey has to continue its struggle with regional and global actors in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya, in different parts of the African continent too.

Turkey may have advantageous positions against rival actors in this issue, due to factors such as the absence of colonial past in Africa and the regional relations, which were developed on the basis of the win-win principle.

Turkey’s strategy for Africa will both strengthen the hands of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libyan issues and also reflect positively on future relations with the countries of the continent. For this reason, it is important to emphasize that Turkey is a pro-peace actor that could contribute to the elimination of security threats that may emerge from the Libya crisis.

https://www.dailysabah.com/opinion/op-ed/turkey-africa-ties-in-framework-of-libya-and-east-med-developments

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