Interview on Libya crisis with Colonel Anthony Shaffer former Dia officer now tv commentator and bestseller writer published on May 2016 Derin Ekonomi Turkish magazine
Syria’s bloody mess, Iraq’s State fading, Egypt’s democratic step back and Libya’s quagmire are just a short list of MENA (Middle East and North Africa) area crisis record. The background elements are the US withdrawal from this area to better focus on Asia, and the coming back of an old fashion “colonial” style policy of some European and Gulf states; both are component of chaos receipt. We have asked an assessment about the Libyan scenario to a former US Defense intelligence agency officer, bestseller writer (Operation Dark Heart) and main TV channels foreign affairs commentator, Colonel (Ret.) Anthony Shaffer. A different point of view that could help to avoid other mistakes on the Libyan “s**t show” as stated by president Barack Obama. The suggestion of Shaffer about the European stepback and the local neighbors (Tunisia and Egypt) step forward opens to the real debate. Are Egypt, with al Sisi downgrading regime and Tunisia still not stabilized democracy fit for the task?
Last March, some European press exposed a Libya plan – basically a division of the Country into three sectors: Italian (Tripoli), British (Tobrouk) and French (Fezzan). A map of national interests (oil companies) with the overview of the United States. This looks like a black&white documentary coming from Seventies – with different sponsors: the UN, Italy, Turkey, Qatar and the US backing Serraj’s new executive; the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE supporting Haftar ambitions.
Colonel Shaffer, is such a plan credible?
The European plan for Libya (Italy, France and England) is a totally return to colonial ideology that could not work in XX century and I think will not work now. Frankly the issue regarding Gheddafi, I mean the toppling of Gheddafi, was a blind ambition by the European nations, takinfor grant that removing Gheddafi would make things easier for them. It was completely a miscalculation and Europeans are suffering for that now. The key issue is to address it rapidly to bring some level of stability to the region. European powers have to step back. I do believe that they have brought back the governance of the region, but the main military means for stability cannot be Europeans. For their own interests this choice could be counterproductive.
What could be Tunisia’s role in this game and what the role of Egypt?
Tunisia is one of the two countries that have to lead to bring stability. The two neighbors are Egypt and Tunisia. Tunisia, because is a main issue for them – they have jihadists troubling them and of course Egypt. I guess the presence of Egyptians in Libya has been underestimated. Let me be clear on this side. I met with General Mohammded Farid al Tuhami a couple of years ago (he was the Egyptian General Intelligence chief till December 2014). I’ve asked him if there was any problem with refugees coming from Libya. He laughed, “It is not a problem” he said. “The problem are the Egyptians that are running the Libyan economy if they decide to come back here”. He estimated about 3 millions of Egyptians that are really part of the infrastructure running the country (…)