Egypt is not sitting idly while neighboring Libya implodes. Its leaders are appealing for international backing for a campaign to “disarm” the Libyan extremists and sanction the countries that supply them with weapons and funds.In a recent article in al-Monitor, a number of highly ranked Egyptian officials speak in favor of a weapons collection program, which they say other, unspecified neighbors of Libya have also approved. They claim that Egypt has no intention of invading Libya, but rather is waiting for the international community to take the lead in restoring order:
[Maj. Gen. Zakaria] Hussein [a strategy expert and the former head of the Nasser Military Academy] asked: “How can the success of the Egyptian initiative be ensured? Who will ensure the disarmament of militias in the absence of a state in Libya? Who will adopt the law? Egypt will not enter Libya for disarmament purposes. The fact is that in order to succeed, its initiative primarily relies on the existence of international support. The international institutions ought to play their role in order to restore the needed stability to Libyan territories.”
Zayed added that Egypt has no wish to disarm the tribes in Libya that are “striving for stability,” but only those extremists who are accelerating the country’s collapse. However, al-Monitor notes, Egypt’s Foreign Minister has warned that Egypt cannot rule out an “intervention,” though he did not say what that intervention might look like.Egypt looks set to act in Libya because it is simply too dangerous not to, as Libya continues to disintegrate and send ripples of chaos in all directions. However, Egypt’s insistence that it had no part in the airstrikes against Libya late last month, its appeal to international backers, and its careful approach to Libya’s tribes all indicate a country that is getting its ducks in a row, and taking care to keep on the good side of people it might need. How or when Egypt will act regarding Libya remains to be seen, as does the implementation (let alone success) of an internationally backed disarmament program. But there is no doubt that Egypt is readying itself.