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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/20/20

Erdogan Wants Double-Front War in Syria and Libya

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Message Ali Zeid

On February 20, the world mass media reported the death of two more Turkish servicemen in Syria following clashes between opposition and government forces in Idlib province. This case could break a new ground for wide-scale invasion of Turkish army to Syria, the move that was mentioned by Erdogan in his address to Parliament the day before.

Meanwhile, the Turkish president held an unsheduled meeting with the head of the Libyan Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj in Istanbul. Erdogan is under longstanding promise to him to help fighting the Libyan National Army, which controls the better half of the country.

Playing a double-front game, Turkish leader strives after world's recognition of enhanced Turkish role in Middle East and Northern Africa issues. It exhibits his ambitious plan to rekindle the former strength of the Ottoman state, which was spreading from Persian Gulf to Gibraltar while being at the height of its power.

Being the adherent of political Islam, the Turkish president probably believes in resumption of another tradition of the Ottoman state, the proclamation of Grand Turk as caliph, the head of Muslim world Ummah. In pursuit of reaching his goals, Erdogan rests upon local Islamic forces, militants of radical terrorist organisations who are dreaming about creation of world Islamic State.

Both in Syria and Libya the front forces of new caliphate are formed by militants of Islamist organisations. According to different sources, there were redeployed nearly 3,5-thousand militants of Syrian rebels from Idlib province to support the Libyan Islamists of Sarraj. However it has led to an unexpected consequence: weakened Syrian rebels became an easy target for Assad units who in a wide-scale offensive managed to regain control over large territories in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, giving back control over 94 percent of country's territory to Syrian president.

The same situation is ongoing in Libya. Neither Syrian rebels nor shipments of Turkish weapons and equipment that ignore the UN Security Council's arms embargo can't help Libyan jihadists to make a difference. The government of Sarraj controls the little part of the country near the capital. Moreover, the Libyans, who are weary of 9-year war, favor Haftar's Libyan National Army.

Turkish army suffers losses in Libya like as in Syria. There was news about death of number of Turkish soldiers on February 18 following a strike by Haftar's army at Tripoli's seaport. Shippings in Libyan territorial waters that are under control of LNA's aviation are posing more hazard to lives of Turkish servicemen especially having in mind Haftar's readiness to restrict further shipments of Turkish arms to Sarraj's government.

Trying to go in wars in Syria and Libya, Erdogan risks to loose both of them. Turkish economy, being exhausted by world crisis and Syrian refugees, could break down under the Erdogan's high-flying plans, and Turkish citizens could refuse to support his party during the next elections.

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I'm a Lebanese Middle East researcher of Syrian origin. In 2012, my sister was severely injured after a mortar shell hit our house in Al-Rastan outskirts (Homs province, Syria). Our family had to flee for medical treatment to Lebanon. Since that (more...)
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