Egypt on collision course with Turkey over Libya

The Egyptian Parliament voted for the deployment of troops to Libya

Egypt’s parliament approved the deployment of military forces abroad to fight “criminal militias” and “foreign terrorist groups” on a “western front” – in a clear reference to Libya’s western neighbour.

As the decision emphasises, the Egyptian troops will defend national security. No further details were given.

Meanwhile, the Qatari Defence Minister met with his Turkish counterpart and the Libyan Interior Minister to discuss the latest developments in Libya, as announced by the Qatari Ministry. Qatar and Egypt are on opposite sides of a regional dispute, along with three Gulf countries.

Egypt’s House of Representatives, which is filled with el-Sissi supporters, said after a closed-door session that armed forces could be deployed outside the country to fight “criminal militias” and “foreign terrorist groups” on a “western front,” but did name Libya directly. It said the troops would be defending Egypt’s national security.

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The move could bring Egypt and Turkey, who support opposite sides in Libya’s chaotic proxy war, into direct confrontation.

El-Sissi said last week that Egypt, which shares its western porous desert border with Libya, would not stand idle if there was a threat to the nation’s security. He also warned that the strategic coastal city of Sirte was a “red line,” and that an attack on the town by Libyan government forces would prompt Cairo to intervene.