Egypt’s Sisi: Best route for West in Libya is to support Gen. Haftar’s army

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The West’s best course of action in Libya is to arm and support the army of Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar instead of military intervention, Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi said.

“If we provide arms and support to the national Libyan army it can do the job better than anyone else, better than any outside intervention which would risk dragging us into a situation that risks getting out of hand and triggering uncontrollable developments,” Sisi told Italy’s La Repubblica in an interview published March 17.

Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar
Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar

Sisi said history had “spoken clearly” about the difficulty of trying to impose peace from outside.

“Two lessons must be kept in mind: that of Afghanistan and that of Somalia,” he said. “Those were long foreign interventions (that started) more than 30 years ago and what progress has been made since? The results are there for everyone to see.”

The Egyptian president also suggested that European governments were underestimating the scale of Islamist influence in Libya.

“Europeans look at Libya as if Daesh (ISIL) is the only threat,” he said. “That is a serious mistake. We have to be aware that we are up against different acronyms with the same ideology: what do we say about Al Qaida networks like Ansar Al Islam, like Somalia’s Al Shabab or Boko Haram in Africa.”

Italy has said it is prepared to lead a UN-backed international force into Libya, but Sisi said such a mission would be difficult and could lead to the country spiraling further out of control. He said it would be better for Western nations to concentrate on building up Haftar’s forces.