We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

May 22, 2020

Russia and Turkey double down in Libya

Russia and Turkey have reached another turning point in their proxy war in Libya. The FT reports of a suspected deployment of at least eight Russian-made fighter jets to Libya from Syria. If confirmed, it could seriously escalate the situation in Libya. Admiral Khalifa Haftar, backed by Russia, suffered a series of setbacks including the loss of the al-Watiya airbase this week after Turkish drones destroyed Russian-made Pantsir air-defence systems. The Turks acted in support of their faction, the GNA government in Tripoli. If the new fighter jets are a quid-pro-quo in retaliation, Russia may destroy Turkish equipment, or the airbase itself to make it unusable. The foreign ministers of Turkey and Russia called for a cease fire after a phone call this week, but at the same time Turkey warned of grave consequences if Turkish interests in Libya are targeted. Observers now fear both sides doubling down in support of the opposing factions. There has been a massive influx of weapons, equipment and mercenaries over the last weeks. Wolfram Lacher, an expert on the region, said that the big question is whether Russia and Turkey can step back from this looming escalation, and once again press their Libyan clients to negotiate a ceasefire.

Show Comments Write a Comment

May 22, 2020

What to make of No 10's Brexit briefings

It could be a bluff, or just the usual High Noon build-up to a deal. But the Brexit negotiations are clearly at the more dramatic end of the scale of EU-level negotiations. The potential for an accident is massive. And both sides would have to shift by a lot for a deal to happen.

James Forsyth writes in the Spectator that Number 10 no longer believes that the gap between the negotiating positions can be bridged. The next round of meetings will be the critical one. The contours of an agreement would have to become visible at that meeting, or it won't happen.

The way Forsyth portrays the thinking within the UK government, it treats Covid-19 as an opportunity to prepare for a new post-Brexit world.

"The prospect of extra customs checks are nothing compared to the airport queues, travel quarantine and temperature checks which may ensue once countries come out of lockdown. The shift towards ‘supply chain security’ means that cross-border supply chains will become less important. The prospect of a WTO Brexit has never been less intimidating."

Also interesting is the shifting position of the Labour Party. Sir Keir Starmer is not pushing for a Brexit extension because he wants to move on from Labour's disastrous Brexit strategy, for which ironically he shared responsibility.

This downbeat view on the probability of a deal seems to come out of Downing Street directly, but not from Boris Johnson himself. He seems more optimistic than others because he believes that people will eventually compromise if the pressure is on. That has been our experience too. But it would imply that he, too, would have to compromise. He has not laid the groundwork for that yet. And the European Council would also have to give Michel Barnier a new mandate. It can still happen.

A further consideration is that this issue plays almost no role in member states at the moment. Governments are not under pressure to relent. Covid-19 has indeed increased the possibility of a Brexit accident.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • April 19, 2018
  • Greece fears escalation after Erdogan calls snap polls
  • Towards repeat elections in the Czech Republic?
  • Lords defeat UK government on customs union - but it’s not what it seems
  • December 19, 2017
  • German pre-coalition talks to conclude mid-January
  • Shall we talk about Brexit?
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 10, 2017
  • Nein, nein, nein, und nein
  • Sounds like a bad Brexit story, but ain’t
  • On how not to exit the euro
  • December 12, 2016
  • Renzi without Renzi
  • Shall we compensate the losers of globalisation?
  • The need for a partnership with China
  • August 18, 2016
  • Watch out for a return of the Ukraine crisis
  • Moody's is relatively optimistic on the UK
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 15, 2020
  • Towards an EU-run refugee camp
  • September 01, 2020
  • What just happened in front of the Reichstag?
  • When revolutions fail
  • August 17, 2020
  • How Putin could divide the EU over Belarus
  • The impossible mission of forming a federal government in Belgium
  • July 30, 2020
  • Labour still miles away from where it needs to be
  • July 20, 2020
  • What will happen on January 1
  • July 08, 2020
  • Maybe they are not negotiating after all?
  • Macron's 600 day government of battle
  • June 30, 2020
  • Europe disunited on how to face Turkey
  • Covid-19 digital shock
  • June 22, 2020
  • What we learned from Trump in Tulsa
  • Greece seeks EEZ deal with Egypt to counter Turkey
  • Political pressure on French judiciary in Fillon probe?
  • June 15, 2020
  • US and Germany step up fight over NordStream 2
  • Macron's agenda for the next two years
  • June 09, 2020
  • The EU and the re-emergence of the state
  • This is not 1968.
  • June 05, 2020
  • What to make of the German fiscal expansion
  • Inequality through and after lockdown
  • June 01, 2020
  • Refugees' mass eviction in Greece
  • This is Brexit week again
  • May 27, 2020
  • On the dangers of wishful thinking
  • Spain to introduce basic income
  • The temptation of easy money
  • May 26, 2020
  • French fashion stores - lockdown is one crisis too many
  • An important German supreme court ruling against VW
  • Public scrutiny over lockdown rules
  • May 22, 2020
  • Russia and Turkey double down in Libya
  • What to make of No 10's Brexit briefings