Libya: Libya Gets Busy

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November 22, 2023: Russia and Turkey continue to keep troops in Libya despite agreeing to withdraw their troops. Both nations want to protect their interests in Libya with sufficient guarantees that their economic agreements will be respected. The UN and NATO oppose this because the Libyan Tripoli faction wants to legitimize an illegal treaty signed by them in 2019 granting Turkey some of Greece’s offshore oil and natural gas rights in an area between Libya and Turkey. This treaty ignored existing, and internationally recognized, Greek claims on that area. Turkey and Greece are both NATO members and NATO backs Greece in this matter.

Turkey won’t withdraw its forces from Libya until a new national Libyan government assures the Turks that the illegal agreement is confirmed by a national Libyan government. Many people in both factions do not want to be stuck with a treaty that the UN and NATO consider illegal. Russia is no friend of NATO and is currently at war with NATO-backed forces in Ukraine. Turkey is also a NATO member, but most other NATO members see the Turks as a liability for NATO because of its cooperation with Russia. The problem there is the absence of any legal mechanism for that because, when NATO was founded, the threat to everyone was the USSR, which became Russian after 1991 and just as troublesome. Turks and Russians are troublemakers in Europe and Libya is a foreign branch of that mischief. Right now, the Russian presence in Ukraine is more of a problem than the few Russian troops left in Libya. The Russians remain in Libya to look after deals they made with one of the Libyan governments to obtain oil exploration opportunities. Exploiting these opportunities will have to wait until the Ukraine War is over.

 

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