In the aftermath of a new attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt, the Egyptian army retaliated. This Monday the Egyptian air force has flown a series of air strikes against the Shura Council of Derna in Libya – whom they hold accountable for the attack that cost the lives of 29 copts last week. So far no nation, nor group, have claimed the attack.
Why do they hold Derna accountable? Perhaps they have information that we do not have, which makes them so sure of hitting the right spot? Maybe …
But Derna is known to be a hotspot for islamist militancy, with local Jihadist groups being strong enough to kick out the Islamic State; so this could be good, even if at the end of the day the Egyptians attack a city that is not actually responsible for the attack, they still weaken Jihadists – win-win.
A third possibility: a long-term vision. Egypt attacked locations in its neighbouring country, working hand-in-hand with the Libyan National Army General Haftar and his militias who have been fighting Islamists in the East of the country. Egypt claims to be acting in legitimate self-defence and that more strikes would follow to safeguard Egypt.This looks like the basis for long-term support to Haftar. Perhaps in view of cleansing the East of Jihadists and reconstructing a new Libyan dictatorship?
Simultaneously, Algeria has called on Egypt to cease its intervention in Lybia, as it would not solve the security issues in Egypt. Perhaps Algeria has its own candidate in the race and just does not like General Haftar? Could this be the beginning of a proxy war between Algeria and Egypt, fought out in Libya? This may bear some resemblance with the fate of Poland, lying in between Germany and Russia and having been divided and cut up many times …
But at the end of the day – is it not in the interest of all that Libya becomes a stable country again?! Probably it is. The only question is how, as part of Egypt, as part of Algeria, as its own country… so who supports stability most – or should the question rather be, who messes up Libya more? Egypt by intervening forcefully in its own ‘apparent’ interest? Or Algeria by doing nothing and playing along the diplomatic canals?
Are Egypt and Algeria preparing the sharing of Libya?