Top Figure with Libya’s GNA Tells Egypt’s Sisi: Stay Out of Fighting
Abdurrahman Shater, a member of the Libyan High Council of State, accused Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of “beating the drums of war, tweeting: “Take your hands off us, do not repeat the tragedy in Yemen.” Shater, an ally of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), was referring to a statement Sisi made earlier in the weekend at an Egyptian airbase near the border with Libya. During that visit, the Egyptian leader said Cairo could send “external military missions if required,” saying that “any direct intervention in Libya has already become legitimate internationally.” Sisi had just issued a warning to troops allied with the GNA to stay out of the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, where they were seeking to remove insurgents led by renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar. Sisi has been backing Haftar, who, like the Egyptian president, is an avowed enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood. Haftar’s forces control most of the eastern and southern parts of Libya, including some of its most productive oil fields. Egypt has also been a major player in a Saudi-led coalition seeking to undo gains made by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where five years of at-times intense ground fighting and airstrikes have turned that country into a humanitarian catastrophe due to hunger and illness.