First Published: 2016-03-17

Egypt's Sisi warns West against Libya intervention
Sisi says foreign intervention could trigger 'uncontrollable developments' for Libya and the region.
Middle East Online

Sissi

CAIRO - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has warned Western powers Libya could spiral out of control if they try to intervene militarily in the conflict-wracked North African state.

Speaking in a rare interview, the military-backed ruler of one of the region's biggest powers said the West and its allies should instead concentrate on strengthening the army of Libya's internationally recognised government and let it do the job of stabilising the country.

The army is commanded by Khalif Haftar, an officially retired general who spent 20 years in exile in the United States and has been described as a potential 'Libyan Sisi' because of his fierce opposition to Islamist groups.

"If we provide arms and support to the national Libyan army it can do the job better than anyone else, better than any outside intervention which would risk dragging us into a situation that risks getting out of hand and triggering uncontrollable developments," Sisi told Italy's La Repubblica in an interview published Thursday.

Sisi said history had "spoken clearly" about the difficulty of trying to impose peace from outside.

"Two lessons must be kept in mind: that of Afghanistan and that of Somalia," he said. "Those were long foreign interventions (that started) more than 30 years ago and what progress has been made since?

"The results are there for everyone to see."

Sisi also suggested that European governments were underestimating the scale of Islamist influence in Libya.

"Europeans look at Libya as if IS (the Islamic State group) was the only threat," he said.

"That is a serious mistake. We have to be aware that we are up against different acronyms with the same ideology: what do we say about al-Qaeda networks like Ansar al-Islam, like Somalia's Shebab or Boko Haram in Africa."

Italy has said it is prepared to lead a UN-backed international peace force into Libya if and when the country proves capable of establishing a national unity government with the authority to ask for outside security help.

Sisi said such a mission would be fraught with difficulty and it would be better to concentrate on building up Haftar's forces.

The army commander was involved in the 1969 military coup which brought Moamer Kadhafi to power in Libya. He later fell out with the dictator and was forced into exile, returning in 2011 to take part in the uprising that toppled Kadhafi.

He has long had close relations with the Egyptian military having served alongside their forces in the Sinai desert as a young Libyan officer during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

 

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'

Opposition calls on Iraqi Kurd leader to step down

IS ‘executed’ 116 suspected of Syria regime collaboration

Israel arrests 51 Palestinians for ‘terror-related’ crimes

Greening the Camps brings food and hope to refugees

UNICEF says 1,100 children malnourished in Syria’s Ghouta

UN says Yemen children in desperate need of aid

Orthodox Jews block Jerusalem entrance in protest

Six terror suspects arrested in Morocco

EU announces 106 million euros in aid for Sudan

French judges to rule on whether 'Jihad' is acceptable name

Saudi Aramco chief confirms IPO despite doubts

Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say

Sudan editor convicted after Bashirs accused of graft

Russia’s Lavrov urges Iraq-Kurd dialogue

Kurds to arrest 11 Iraqis in response to similar Baghdad move

Car bomb attack kills 9 in south Yemen military base

Rouhani boasts about Iran’s greatness in region

Iraq unrest highlights long-standing political divisions

Bahrain temporarily frees female activist

Egypt court sentences 11 people to death for 'terrorism'

Israel police arrest 15 over anti Jewish-Arab dating campaign

Tillerson woos Gulf allies to curb Iran influence

Abadi, Sadr meet in Jordan

No clear US strategy in Syria after Raqqa liberation

Tillerson pushes to undercut Iran at landmark Saudi, Iraq meeting

Gulf share values plummet

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike