Before we get into the answer I posted at Quora, note that I had presented a translation of a detailed report on the GNA’s ties to terror, here:
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/military-affairs/us-and-un-recognize-terror-sponsoring-government-of-libya. This is very important because the terrorist-linked GNA (Government of National Accord) is actively seeking US support for its mischief and US politicians are anxious to embroil their country in yet another disastrous intrigue.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WILL THE [Libyan] GNA BE ABLE TO CAPTURE SIRTE AND THE REST OF THE TRIPOLITNIA REGION?
Under the spell of the sleazy US msm, many Westerners may think that the GNA is the good guys. But this is one of those issues where you need to be careful what you wish for.
It is a little early to say who is winning. But just recently, the Turkey-backed jihadist groups supporting the GNA took back the al-Watiya arbase that had been in the hands of Khalifa Haftar’s LNA. They also destroyed a Russian-supplied Pantsir anti-air defence system that had successfully shot down Turkish drones.
So one might suppose the GNA is starting to get the upper hand.
But we need to remember that, although the West and even the UN supports the GNA, that government has been overly tolerant of the jihadist militias. The GNA’s strong man Fayez al-Sarraj has been suspiciously tolerant of the gangs that engage in slavery and human smuggling.
As usual, there is US sympathy on the side that imports terrorists. According to the Washington Times, a US senator is already stirring up war sentiment, clearly preparing US minds for another US troop engagement in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region, this time on the side opposite Russia. How much closer do these psychopaths want to bring the world to WW II?
Here is what the Times wrote:
Sen. Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, has asked whether Mr. Haftar should face U.S. sanctions for working with the Russian mercenary forces.
[See how the US Establishment pretends that all Russian involvement in the Middle East is evil while US involvement always brings peace? Yet, we know that if it had not been for the entry of the Russians in the Syrian conflict in September 2015, ISIS would now own Syria! This senator is kicking off a propaganda campaign aimed at ultimately pulling US troops into Libya, predictably with the same kind of disastrous consequences we saw in Iraq and Syria. The warmongers never sleep]
Mr. Murphy wrote a letter to Mr. Pompeo ahead of the Senate hearing to ask whether ties between Mr. Haftar’s forces and Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenaries could trigger mandatory sanctions on Mr. Hafter under the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. [Haftar is fighting terrorists, while the GNA – which a US senator supports -- is supporting them. Same scenario as in Iraq and Syria.Will the US public fall for another round of "WMDs in Iraq" narrative leading to full-scale war?]
“Russia’s significant financial and military support for one faction in the Libyan civil war is guaranteed to further destabilize the country, trigger further armed support from Turkey to the other side of the conflict, harm large numbers of civilians and fuel the migrant crisis,” Mr. Murphy said in a recent letter to Mr. Pompeo [So according to this sleazy senator, it will be Russia’s fault if Turkey stays involved by sending ISIS and al-Qaeda to Libya. How do they say these things with a straight face? And without someone slapping them!]
Not much is written in the West about the ties of the the Libyan government, to terror and crime but I consulted the Russian press and managed to come up with an enlightening report. My translation appears below with my clarifying notes [in brackets].
Libyan PNS leadership calls Idlib terrorists "life jacket"
Representatives of the so-called Government of National Accord (PNC) of Libya admitted to cooperation with terrorists from Syria. Ahmad Maityg, a member of the PNS presidential council, said that the decision to attract Syrian militants was made because of the difficult situation in which the "government" sitting in Tripoli found itself.
The head of the Libyan PNS, Fayez Sarraj, realizing that the Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, defeats the gangs of terrorists fighting on the side of the PNS, turned to foreign states for help. According to Maytig, the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party sent a corresponding request to the United States, but Washington refused, deciding not to help the criminal "government" of Sarraj. [The descriptor “criminal” is from the Russian author of this translated report, but it is appropriate. It is not likely that US officials called Sarraj’s government criminal, but they certainly are aware of its criminal activities.]
Meanwhile, Turkey, contrary to promises made at a conference in Berlin, is actively supporting militants of the Libyan Socialist Party. Ankara is engaged in the recruitment of Al Qaeda and Islamic State militants (both terrorist groups are prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation), after which they are transferred by plane and ships to Libya.
The leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party, realizing that the United States is not going to help them, was in a practically hopeless situation, Maytig said. Therefore, the Syrian terrorists recruited by the Turks became the last reliable chance for the Sarraj regime to retain power. Moreover, according to a member of the PNS presidential council, the “government” in Tripoli does not attach much importance to where the aid comes from. [If the Sarraj government were a carrier of civilized values, you can be sure it would not be importing ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists]
“When you are drowning and someone hands you a life jacket, what will you do: look at the person who holds it to you or take it,” Maytig explained in an interview with The Washington Post.
[A Washington Times report on the WaPo story is here:
Despite all the attempts by the Libyan GNA to get support from the United States, offering them substantial dividends from the sale of the Libyan GNA gang, which attracts terrorists to its side, writes FAN. [It is to Trump’s credit that he refuses to help these thugs, but it is hard to say how long he will resist the temptation to help them. Remember his flip-flop on Syria]
Further, the regime of Sarraj was not helped by a large-scale information campaign to spread the fake story about the presence of the Russian Wagner mercenaries in Libya, which was cited by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to justify the Turkish intervention in Libya.
May 20, 2020
CALIPHATE IN MINIATURE: RIFT BETWEEN TURKEY AND AL-QAEDA IN IDLIB
In the second half of April and early May, the Syrian province of Idlib became the epicenter of a military political drama developing between Turkish forces and their al-Qaeda-linked allies.
The escalated tensions even led to a military incident on the M4 highway, near the town of Nayrab, when the Turkish Army and militant groups directly controlled by Ankara clashed with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its supporters. At least 11 members and supporters of the al-Qaeda-linked group were killed by live fire from Turkish troops and strikes by Turkish unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
This incident happened during a failed attempt to remove the camp of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham supporters, which had been established to block the highway and prevent the movement of joint Russian-Turkish patrols in the area. The creation of a security zone along the M4 highway, the withdrawal of radical militant groups from the zone and joint patrols in the area were among the key provisions of the Idlib ceasefire deal reached by the Turkish and Russian presidents in Moscow on March 5. Since the start of the implementation of the deal, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and other radical groups have been working to sabotage them. Seven joint Russian-Turkish patrols took place in a small area between Saraqib and Nayrab, as the situation in southeastern Idlib was moving closer to conditions in which the resumption of full-scale open military hostilities there would become inevitable. The number of ceasefire violations increased and both the Syrian Army and Idlib radicals were blaming each other for the apparent collapse of the de-escalation deal.
However, by May 5, the situation had changed. The protest camp near Nayrab disappeared. The Russian Military Police and the Turkish Army held their first extended joint patrol along the M4 highway passing the location of the former camp. On May 7, the sides held their second extended patrol, which became the longest one since the signing of the ceasefire deal in March. For the first time, the Russian Military Police reached the eastern entrance to the town of Ariha. These extended patrols became an important breakthrough in Turkish-Russian cooperation over the situation in southeastern Idlib despite the fact that the security zone agreement was still far from its full implementation.
The interesting fact is that this step forward was not due to Ankara’s anti-terrorist efforts in Greater Idlib, but came as a result of a deal reached by Turkey and the leadership of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The terrorist group de-blocked the M4 near Nayrab. In turn, Turkey reportedly agreed not to oppose Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s decision to open a commercial crossing between the militant-held part of Idlib in western Aleppo near Maaret Elnaasan. Earlier, Ankara and militant groups directly controlled by it had sabotaged this initiative. Turkey seeks to control all economic and social life in northwestern Syria. Meanwhile, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham sees the commercial activity between Greater Idlib and the rest of Syria as an important source of income through various fees and trafficking of goods.
Neither Turkey nor Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are interested in military operations by Syria, Russia and Iran in Idlib. Therefore, in face of the threat of the new Syrian Army advance and the resumption of the Russian air bombing campaign, they reached a tactical agreement to prevent this scenario. However, this did not annihilate their mid- and long-term contradictions.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham enjoys the direct protection of the Turkish Armed Forces and indirectly receives financial support from Ankara. But the group is too large and too influential to be an ordinary Turkish puppet. In fact, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leadership and its close allies are working to turn Greater Idlib into their own ISIS-style emirate. While publicly they make loud statements about the goals of the so-called Syrian revolution and the need to ‘liberate’ Damascus from the ‘bloody Assad regime’, in fact, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has long since abandoned any plans of major expansion through direct attacks on the Syrian Army. They have been tightening their military, security and political grip over the militant-held part of Greater Idlib. If the situation develops in this direction, Idlib will have every chance of becoming a foothold for international terrorist groups operating all around the world, primarily in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. A network of training camps, weapon trafficking and financial flows for terrorist organizations recruiting new members and planning terrorist operations will all contribute to the growing influence and wealth of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Some global and regional players would be happy to use this opportunity to pursue their own geopolitical goals.
Turkey, which controls the border and is a key regional player keeping ties with Idlib militant groups, may become one of the main beneficiaries of this scenario and the Erdogan government could have agreed on this if the world were the same as it was back in 2011. However it is not.
The weakening of US influence in the Middle East, the shrinking global economy, the fragmentation of global markets and the collapse of the remote chance of Turkey joining the European Union as well as Turkey’s own diplomatic and political pretensions towards regional leadership turned Moscow into its key economic, diplomatic and security partner. Therefore, Ankara is forced to consult the interests of Moscow in its policy because without the military technological, diplomatic and economic cooperation with Russia Turkey has no chances to turn its own geopolitical ambitions into reality.
The current agreement between Turkey and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is rather a result of the tactical convergence of interests rather than a solid alliance. Even if they are able to prevent the resumption of the Syrian Army advance on Idlib, the tensions between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Turkey will increase because they have different strategic interests. It is likely that within the next half year, Ankara will increase pressure on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and their allies in order to undermine their influence and bring most of the political, administrative and military influence in the Greater Idlib region to ethnic Turks and representatives of groups directly controlled by Ankara.
All of this would be done under the pretext of restoring peace and stability as well as securing democratic elections to form the ‘legitimate’ local authorities. In the event of success, Turkey will consolidate control over northwestern Syria and form a controlled group of persons that will represent the militant-held area in negotiations with the Damascus government. This group must have no links to radicals. The goals of these possible negotiations are to reach a peace agreement and guarantee a wide autonomy for the militant-held part of northwestern Syria in the framework of the comprehensive agreement between Ankara and Damascus. The characteristics of this autonomy will depend on the military political situation in the country at that moment. However there is no doubt that control of the Syrian-Turkish border will be among the key points of contradictions.
On the other hand, Ankara and Damascus may reach no comprehensive agreement because of the complicated military political situation in Syria. This could happen if the security situation deteriorates in the government-controlled part of Syria and Damascus starts losing control over particular regions; for example, due to the increasing activity of ISIS. In these conditions, Ankara will return to the idea of a direct annexation of the northwestern part of Syria. It will justify this move by the need to protect civilians and claiming that Damascus is not able to effectively battle the international terrorism.