Egyptian Parliament Clears Way for Involvement in Libya
Egypt’s parliament, meeting in closed session on Monday, authorized military intervention in neighboring Libya, nudging that country’s civil war toward becoming an international conflict. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has warned on several occasions that Egyptian troops could end up in Libya in case an assault is launched by forces of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on the coastal city of Sirte. The city is currently held by the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which has had Egyptian backing in its bid to unseat the Tripoli government. An official parliamentary statement issued in Cairo after the vote made no mention of Libya, saying only that lawmakers had greenlighted the movement of troops to counter “criminal militias” and “foreign terrorist groups” on a “western front.” Libya is to the west of Egypt. The GNA, recognized by the UN and supported militarily by Turkey, announced last week that it would consent to a cease-fire only after the capture of Sirte, considered a gateway to the country’s richest oil region. Military intervention by Turkey earlier this year is believed to be what dislodged the LNA from positions it held around the capital city after a 14-month offensive, and any presence in the country by Egyptian troops could lead to fighting between the two regional powers.