DesPardes + PKonweb

Egypt’s President Tells Troops to Be Ready to Fight Abroad

If Egypt goes the way it is proposing, it may be up for a surprise: Pakistani Defense analyst

(UPDATED) — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi carried out an inspection of troops in the country’s western military district on the border with Libya on Saturday during which he said that the military must be ready to operate both inside the country and outside of it, should the need arise.

“Be prepared to carry out any task within the borders of Egypt or outside of them, if necessary,” Sisi said, adding that the Egyptian army, being one of the strongest in the region, “protects, not threatens.”

The inspection was attended by the army’s commander-in-chief, the chief of general staff and other military officials. Sisi’s address to the troops was broadcast on national television.

Sisi warned that advances by Turkey-backed Libyan forces on the Libyan city of Sirte could prompt an Egyptian military intervention in the neighboring country in support of Cairo’s ally Khalifa Haftar.

In the televised address, Sisi said Sirte is a “red line” for Egypt, citing the need to protect its porous border as grounds for “direct intervention” in Libya.

The key city of Sirte, which lies some 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of the capital, is under the control of Haftar’s forces, who last year launched a recently aborted attempt to seize control of western Libya.

On 6 June, Sisi had a meeting with Libya’s Khalifa Haftar, one of the two rival political leaders in that country which have waged a civil conflict since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Following the meeting, the Egyptian president announced the so-called Cairo Initiative which outlined conditions of a political settlement in Libya and stipulated that warring parties ceasefire on 8 June. The initiative was supported by Russia, the United States and several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while Turkey and the rival Libyan administration, the UN-backed Government of National Accord of Fayez Sarraj, rejected it.

Speaking to DesPardes, a Pakistani defense analyst says the Quad ( KSA , UAE , Egypt and Bahrain) on one side and Turkey + Qatar are supporting opposing forces in Libya. “Apparently, with right technology and on right side of history, Turkey has the upper hand”, he says. “If Egypt goes the way it is proposing, it may be up for a surprise”.

Meanwhile, Ankara has urged forces led by the eastern-based Haftar to withdraw from the strategic city for a ceasefire agreement to be reached.