Assessments

Turkey's Help Won't Win Its Allies the Libyan War

Jan 8, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This Dec. 26, 2019, photo shows a damaged vehicle in the wake of an airstrike in Zawiya, 45 kilometers west of Tripoli.

This Dec. 26, 2019, photo shows a damaged vehicle in the wake of an airstrike in Zawiya, 45 kilometers west of Tripoli. Turkey's assistance to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord might help the administration win a battle or two, but not the wider war.

(HAMZA TURKIA/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Squeezed by an army on the advance, Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) has reached for a lifeline across the Mediterranean in Ankara, which is planning to send special forces, drones and other assistance to Tripoli. But while Turkey's military support will help keep the GNA afloat in Tripoli with an eye to ensuring it remains part of any future Libyan political system, it's unlikely to move the needle enough to halt the opposing Libyan National Army's (LNA) offensive on the city entirely. More to the point, LNA leader Khalifa Hifter's foreign backers are likely to respond to Turkey's move by increasing support for the field marshal -- meaning that, in the long run, Ankara's involvement in Libya runs a high risk of encountering mission creep....

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