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Regional Detension in the Middle East and North Africa

Regional Detension in the Middle East and North Africa: Opportunities and Challenges for Stability.

MSF analysis for information purposes

Over the past decade, the Middle East and North Africa have been marked by conflict and strong competition between states in the region. The civil war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instability in Yemen and the growing influence of Iran were just some of the major issues affecting the region. However, in 2022, the region experienced a reduced level of conflict intensity and competition. Governments in the region began to adopt de-escalation measures and engage in diplomacy more actively than in previous years.

These developments have been driven by the post-pandemic recovery and the need to focus more on economic affairs. While most states engaged in regional competition have reduced their power projection, Iran has stepped up its activities, exerting its influence in the war in Ukraine by supplying arms to Russia. This has raised concerns about the sustainability of this regional de-escalation in the medium term, particularly in the context of the lack of formal solutions to the various crises in the region.

However, there are important opportunities for stabilising the region in the longer term. An increased focus on economic affairs and development could help reduce tensions and increase regional cooperation. Investment in infrastructure, education and technology could open up new economic opportunities and encourage collaboration between countries in the region.

In addition, greater involvement of the international community could help reduce tensions and stabilise the situation in the region. Diplomatic dialogue, support for conflict resolution and involvement in peace processes could play a key role in building confidence and promoting cooperation.

However, there are also major challenges that need to be addressed. Lack of trust between states in the region, religious and cultural tensions and the influence of external powers are just some of the major issues affecting the region. In order to strengthen regional de-escalation and ensure long-term stability, these challenges need to be effectively addressed.

Regional conflicts[1]
Over the past decade, regional conflicts have been a constant presence in the Middle East and North Africa, affecting the economies and lives of millions of people in the region. Since 2011, three major civil wars have engulfed the region: the war in Syria, the war in Yemen and the conflict in Libya. These conflicts have resulted in thousands of casualties and millions of people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

However, in recent years, these conflicts have seen their lowest level of violence ever, yet they continue to destabilise economies and societies in the region. While some observers see this de-escalation as a sign of progress, there are fears that conflicts could escalate again at any time.

The war in Syria, which began in 2011 as an uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s government, has led to the highest number of casualties and refugees in the region. In recent years, government forces and their allies have managed to expand their control over most of the country’s territory, but still face a significant number of opposing armed groups. In addition, tensions between Israel and Iran, which supports militant groups fighting the Syrian government, continue to raise fears of a possible escalation of the conflict.

The war in Yemen began in 2015 when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa and other major cities. Yemeni government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have been fighting the Houthi rebels, and the conflict has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Even with the recent peace talks, tensions remain high and tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could escalate the conflict at any time.

The conflict in Libya erupted in 2014 when a coalition of Islamist groups and rebels took control of the capital Tripoli and other parts of the country. The conflict has sparked a humanitarian crisis and destabilised the entire region. Despite recent peace talks, tensions remain high and the country faces a political and economic crisis.

In Yemen, a UN-mediated ceasefire was agreed in April 2022[2]. It froze the frontlines and ended in October. Although the ceasefire has brought some peace to Yemen, internal conflicts and continuing tensions between the various parties involved in the conflict in Yemen remain the order of the day. Despite the ceasefire, Houthi forces have continued to expand their territory through the east and south, controlling towns such as Taiz and Bayhan, as well as other smaller regions. Emirati-backed groups also continued to advance against the Houthis, who were forced to withdraw from several areas. This fighting continued and tensions between the different sides remained high. The conflict in Yemen has also been complicated by the involvement of other states in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia intervened in the conflict in Yemen in 2015, supporting Hadi’s government and fighting the Houthis, while Iran has been accused of supplying arms and support to the Houthis.

Despite diplomatic as well as United Nations efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Yemen, the situation remains uncertain and complicated[3]. However, the ceasefire has had some benefits for Yemen. The reduction in violence has allowed more humanitarian access to affected areas, which has led to an improvement in the humanitarian situation. It has also allowed trade and business to resume, which has had a positive impact on the local economy.

However, it is important to note that this ceasefire has not solved the underlying problems in Yemen and that many of these problems, such as extreme poverty, hunger and natural disasters, remain unresolved. Also, tensions between the different parties and the involvement of other states in the conflict in Yemen will continue to influence the situation in the region.

The ceasefire agreed in Yemen in April 2022 was hailed by the international community as an opportunity to end the years-long conflict in the impoverished and war-torn country. However, many analysts and experts have expressed concern that the parties to the conflict would not abide by the ceasefire, but instead try to use the lull to prepare for the next round of fighting. The Houthis, the rebel group that controls most of Yemen’s territory, are believed to have accepted the truce only to rebuild their forces and prepare for new attacks. UN expert reports [4] have indicated that Iranian arms supplies to the Houthis continued during the ceasefire, suggesting that the rebel group took advantage of the ceasefire to re-equip its forces.

While the Houthis consolidated their positions in northern Yemen, anti-Houthi forces used the lull to regroup and prepare for new rounds of fighting. However, these forces faced conflicting supporters whose interests and risk profile were more limited than in the early years of the intervention. Thus, anti-Houthi forces faced funding and weapons supply problems, which limited their capabilities.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia, the Yemeni government’s main ally, agreed to the ceasefire not only to appease the United States and the rest of the international community, but also to reduce its exposure to the conflict, particularly in the form of Houthi airstrikes against the kingdom’s infrastructure. However, Saudi Arabia has continued to financially support the Yemeni government and provide military assistance.

Factions backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have largely complied with the ceasefire, mainly out of exhaustion but also out of respect for their supporters. The Houthi decision not to extend the ceasefire in October came as the regional security situation worsened. The failure of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Iraq over Yemen[5] and widespread popular unrest in Iran have heightened concerns about the potential for further attacks by the Houthis, as well as Iran, on Saudi Arabia.

All in all, the April 2021 ceasefire in Yemen brought a period of calm to a conflict that has lasted for years. However, there are fears that the parties to the conflict will not respect the ceasefire and will try to take advantage of the lull to prepare for the next round of fighting. It is necessary for the international community to continue to monitor the situation in Yemen and support efforts to bring peace and stability to this war-torn country.

In March 2021, a new government of national unity was formed in Libya, uniting the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. The move was seen as an important step towards national reconciliation and stabilisation of the country, which has been marked by conflict and instability since 2011, when the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime took place.

In October 2020[6], a UN-backed ceasefire was agreed, to be followed by the deployment of observers. In April 2021, a follow-up resolution was agreed to call for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries. The Libyan elections, originally scheduled for December 2021, were postponed due to a lack of consensus between the two factions on a constitutional electoral framework.

In early 2022, two rival governments claimed authority and legitimacy: the Tripoli-based National Unity Government led by Dbeibah[7] and the National Stability Government based in eastern Libya and led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha. Both entities relied on militia support: Dbeibah depended on factions based in Tripoli and Misrata, while Bashagha was able to gather some support in Tripoli as well as from militias loyal to the parliament in Tobruk.

Khalifa Haftar,[8] the country’s most powerful warlord, nominally backed Bashagha but did not commit his Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), which failed to take the capital in 2019-2020. These factions competed for territory, especially oil export facilities, and institutions, including the National Oil Corporation and the Central Bank of Libya.

The situation in Libya has been volatile and tense since 2011, when the civil war that led to the ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi began. Since then, the country has been divided between different political factions and militias fighting for power and control over resources.

In 2021, hopes of ending this instability have been rekindled following the formation of a national unity government and the scheduling of presidential elections for the end of the year. However, the postponement of the elections and the disruption of the electoral process fuelled political divisions and led to a resurgence of violence.

In Libya, violence resumed in mid-2022 due to a political stalemate. Long-awaited presidential elections had been scheduled for late 2021[9] after the formation of a unity government led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah…

Currently, there are two rival governments claiming authority and legitimacy in Libya: the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU), led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, and the eastern-based Government of National Stability (GNS), led by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha. Both entities rely on the support of militias, which fight each other for control of territory and resources, especially oil export facilities.

Khalifa Haftar, one of the country’s most powerful warlords, has nominally backed Bashagha but has not committed his Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), which failed to take the capital in 2019-2020. Haftar and his forces have also faced opposition from other militias and factions in eastern Libya, as well as foreign intervention, particularly from Turkey.

In August 2022, Libya was again in the international spotlight due to an incident that took place in Tripoli. Former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha attempted to seize power by mobilising several militias and gaining political support from countries in the Gulf region as well as Egypt[10]. His aim was to oust the national unity government led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, which was supported by another coalition of militias.

Bashagha managed to gain the support of several militias in Tripoli and Misrata, who joined his forces in their bid to seize power. However, Dbeibah managed to consolidate his defences and remain in power, thanks to political and military support from other factions and allies.

This confrontation weakened both sides and showed that there is no military solution to the political crisis in Libya. It is important to note that states in the region, such as Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, appear to be less willing to deploy forces or provide equipment in this current round, but are prepared to support more reliable and effective local partners.

Dbeibah has tried to maintain support from Turkey, which has maintained a small presence in the country and provided humanitarian aid, but has lost support from the United Arab Emirates, which had previously backed a coalition of anti-Dbeibah militias. Instead, Egypt backed parliament speaker and Bashagha ally Aguileh Saleh.

The Wagner Group is a private Russian military company believed to be involved in several international conflicts, including in Syria, Sudan and Libya. As for its presence in Libya, the group is believed to have been involved in supporting forces led by Khalifa Haftar in their attempt to take control of Tripoli in 2019 and 2020. This effort failed, and the group lost many fighters and equipment. However, the group is still believed to have a significant presence in Libya, with around 1,500-2,000 soldiers and troops alongside Haftar’s forces and in key locations, including oil installations.

As for the link to events in Ukraine, there is no clear information on any reduction in the Wagner Group’s presence in Libya. However, it is believed that the group may be involved in delivering military equipment and aid to Haftar’s forces. Russia and the Wagner Group have denied any involvement in the conflict in Libya, but there are concerns about the possibility of Russia using its private military companies to expand its influence beyond its borders.

Libya remains a convenient pressure point for Russia against Turkey and European countries. Some of the fighter jets previously associated with Wagner appeared to have been transferred to LAAF control. This led to relative calm in the country, but presaged violent competition as new challengers, courting foreign support, prepared to replace existing groups. In addition, there were continued attempts to rearm[11].

Crews of ships participating in the European Union’s Operation Irini,[12] a maritime mission designed to intercept illicit shipments bound for Libya, boarded several vessels in 2022 and seized weapons and military vehicles bound for Libya.[13] The UN process, which in 2019 and 2021 seemed close to reaching an agreement, was again threatened in late 2022.

Overall, the political and security situation in Libya remains unstable, with two rival governments and a host of militias fighting for power and control of resources. While the international community has tried to help resolve the crisis, in particular by holding presidential elections, their postponement has fuelled tensions and political divisions and led to an escalation of violence in the country.

In conclusion, while the formation of a new government of national unity was an important step towards national reconciliation and stabilisation in Libya, there are still significant challenges that need to be addressed if the country is to return to stability and prosperity. Closer cooperation between the two factions and the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from the country is needed to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy and effective governance.

Despite a decrease in the level of violence in Syria in 2022, the main fighting objectives have not changed significantly. President Bashar al-Assad’s regime remained firmly entrenched in Damascus, but remained too weak to consolidate its power in areas of the northwest and northeast not under its control.

Assad’s various opponents remained in disarray and heavily dependent on foreign support. In this context, Turkey was seen as the most important regional power that could make a difference in the Syrian conflict, but the US lobby and Russian opposition appeared to prevent any Turkish plan to take over more territory from the Kurdish-dominated administration in northern and eastern Syria.

Instead, the biggest changes this year have taken place inside the rebel haven of Idlib,[14] where the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has seized more territory from Ankara-aligned groups.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has taken advantage of the opposition’s weaknesses and managed to consolidate its position in Idlib, gaining greater control over urban areas and strengthening its military position by acquiring new equipment and recruiting new fighters.

As for the political situation, peace talks continued between representatives of the Syrian government and the Western-backed opposition, but without significant results. In contrast, Russia continued to strengthen its position in Syria, notably through its military base in Latakia.

On the other hand, the United States has maintained its military presence in Syria, particularly in the Deir ez-Zor region, where some of the country’s most important oil resources are located.

Overall, the conflict in Syria remains a complex and intense one, with various actors involved and diverging interests. While violence has decreased recently, the main battle lines remain unchanged and a political settlement of the conflict still seems far from being achieved.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has had some military effect in Syria. Moscow maintains a naval presence in the port of Tartus and an air base at Hmeimim, as well as a military intelligence group in Damascus that coordinates Russian activity across the country. In the first months since Russia’s invasion, there has been no notable reduction in the size of the Russian military presence in Syria, estimated at around 4,000 troops. But reports of an increased figure emerged in the autumn, suggesting a limited but notable Russian readjustment, including the relocation of one of Russia’s S-300 air defence units back to Russia. Indeed, as Russian forces began fighting in Ukraine, this had a direct impact on the Syrian battlefield[15].

In recent years, relations between Russia and Turkey have undergone many changes. The two countries were at one time on opposite sides in Syria, but are now allies. But beyond the political relationship, Turkey has benefited greatly from Russia’s isolation and dependence on Turkish goodwill.

One of Russia’s big problems has been linked to the conflict in Syria. After intervening in the Syrian conflict, Russia partnered with Bashar al-Assad’s government and got involved in bombing the rebels. This action has caused Russia to be isolated in the international community, with the exception of a few countries such as Turkey.

Over the years, Turkey has managed to exploit this situation and has become a major beneficiary of Russia’s isolation. Turkey has become Russia’s preferred partner in the region and has become essential for transporting energy from Russia to Europe.

But the most important benefit Turkey has gained from Russia’s isolation has been linked to the situation in Syria. While Russia supported Bashar al-Assad’s government, Turkey supported the rebels and the opposition. This position gave Turkey some leverage over the situation in Syria and helped it expand its influence in the region.

However, the prospects of Russia supporting an Assad campaign to retake Idlib[16] have been considerably reduced. The jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has taken over more territory from Ankara-aligned groups, weakening Turkey’s influence in the region and further weakening Russia’s position.

However, the situation in Syria remains uncertain and Turkey must constantly reassess its strategy in the face of new changes in the region.

Similarly, Iran has benefited to the extent that it has been able to maintain its influence in Syria, with little chance of rejection from Russia.

Israel has been one of the few states in the Middle East region that has not publicly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and this is in part due to concern about maintaining military coordination with Russia in Syria to ensure air access and avoid incidents. Israel also wanted to maintain its air superiority and was concerned about a possible Russian retaliation in Syria if it provided direct military support to Ukraine. Although Israel has been reluctant to publicly criticize Russia, Israeli officials have held talks with leaders in Europe and the United States to discuss the situation and express concern about the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine[17].

In addition, Israel has raised the alert level on its northern border in the context of escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, but also because of possible attacks by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories are divided into two distinct areas, the West Bank and Gaza, each with their own administration and security forces. In the West Bank, the security forces are under the control of the Palestinian Authority and are known as the National Security Forces (NSF). These security forces were created as part of the peace agreements signed with Israel in the 1990s and are funded and trained by the EU, the US and Jordan. The NSF has had a relatively effective and robust presence in the West Bank and has been involved in maintaining internal security and stability.

In Gaza, the security forces are controlled by Hamas[18] and are known as the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 after a bloody battle with forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are considered to be well organised and effective in maintaining security in Gaza. Hamas has received support from Iran and other regional actors, but has no formal military logistical structure and does not conduct external military deployments.

In terms of weapons, both Palestinian security organisations do not have heavy military equipment or a formal defence industry. However, Hamas has managed to build up a substantial arsenal of improvised rockets and mortars, as well as some portable guided weapons, with which it has launched repeated attacks against Israel in the past. During the 2021 conflict, Hamas unveiled new capabilities such as parachute munitions and rockets with a range of up to 250 km, which increased Israel’s perceived threat level.

In sum, the Palestinian security forces are split between two separate organisations and have no heavy military equipment or formal defence industry. However, Hamas has a significant arsenal of improvised rockets and other portable weapons, which pose a continuing threat to Israel’s security.

Regional effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022
Many states in the region have preferred to remain neutral in the war in Ukraine or have only mildly condemned the Russian invasion, without taking action against Moscow or reducing their engagement. Over the past decade, Russia has emerged as a security interlocutor as well as a possible alternative to the US in the eyes of several countries that were uneasy about US policy fluctuations and appreciative of the apparent effectiveness of Vladimir Putin’s state policy. Several countries – notably Algeria and Syria, but also Egypt, Iraq and other smaller states – have been traditional customers of Russian weaponry as well as defence partners, sometimes even conducting joint exercises with Russian armed forces. Even regional US allies have raised the possibility of acquiring Russian weapons systems, such as the S-400 air defence system. Russian military trainers and private military companies, including the Wagner Group, have operated in several countries in the region, including Libya, Syria and Sudan.

In addition, Russian military trainers and private military companies, including the Wagner Group, have operated in several countries in the region, including Libya, Syria and Sudan. These companies have been involved in armed conflicts, providing military and logistical assistance to local troops and military groups.

However, there are also countries that strongly oppose Russia’s involvement in the region. For example, Ukraine and Georgia have faced military aggression from Russia and have tried to approach Western states for support in the face of this threat. Other countries in the region, such as Poland and the Baltic states, also see the Russian military presence near their borders as a threat and have called for support from NATO and other Western allies.

In general, Russia’s involvement in the region around Ukraine has generated a range of different reactions and positions from different states in the area, reflecting the complexity and diversity in the region.

However, Russia’s prestige and credibility have diminished in 2022, compared to a peak in 2015-2016, when Moscow successfully intervened in the Syrian civil war. Russia’s operational and military failures in Ukraine and the relatively poor performance of its weapons systems have damaged its reputation across the region. It is widely believed that Russia will find it difficult to innovate technologically and maintain its export capacity, given its domestic demands and shortfalls. Concerns about the risk of incurring Western sanctions were also seen as a deterrent for most countries. Importantly, the rapid development of Russian-Iranian defence relations has caused significant unease, particularly among Gulf governments. In recent years, Iran has hoped that Russia would help it recapitalise its armed forces. But Moscow, seen at the time as a major partner, was reluctant and did not want to upset Israel and the Gulf countries and risk Western disapproval. The conflict in Ukraine made Russia more dependent on Iranian goodwill: Moscow bought Iranian UAVs and deployed them in Ukraine. Tehran supplied Russia with Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 direct attack munitions and the Mohajer-6 UAV, while Moscow tried to fill the gaps in its inventory resulting from the invasion. As of 20 November 2022, the initial batch of Shahed systems appeared to have been nearly exhausted in Russia’s attacks. They were used to supplement Moscow’s inventory of ground-attack cruise missiles, which had been significantly depleted since it launched the 2022 invasion on 24 February. Russia has also requested Iranian assistance to circumvent Western sanctions[19].

There has been a regional de-escalation trend in 2022. In the Gulf region, Iran has been engaged in separate diplomatic talks with two of its main rivals, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A key motivation for the Saudi and UAE governments was the need to avoid entanglement in a US-Iran or Israel-Iran escalation, especially as talks on Iran’s nuclear programme appeared inconclusive. In addition, both sought to curtail air strikes in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates was the target of several waves of drone and missile attacks in January and February, and the Saudi city of Jeddah was hit in March during the Saudi Grand Prix[20].

[1] The Middle East in 2022: A Year of Transition is a report published by the Atlantic Council in January 2022. The report focuses on events in the Middle East in the previous year and attempts to provide a perspective on how the region will develop in the coming years. The report looks at developments in the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya and suggests that they still remain a major source of instability in the region. The report looks at the role of the US in the region and suggests that the US is trying to redefine its position in the Middle East and North Africa.

[2] The ceasefire in Yemen was agreed through a call for a cessation of hostilities issued by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in March 2022. This call was accepted by all parties to the conflict and the ceasefire came into effect on 9 April 2022.

[3] Yemen: 5 years of war, hunger and despair published by BBC News analyses the devastating impact of the war in Yemen on the country’s population and economy after five years of conflict. It also looks at foreign involvement in the conflict in Yemen, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ support for government forces loyal to President Hadi and Iran’s involvement in support of Houthi forces.

[4] The article Iranian Weapons and Exports to Yemen Rebels Violate UN Arms Embargo, Panel Finds published in The New York Times on February 10, 2022, reports that a report by UN experts claims that Iran has violated the UN arms embargo in Yemen by supplying weapons and military equipment to Houthi groups. According to the report, Houthi forces received Iranian weapons and military equipment, including ballistic missiles, drones, small arms and explosives. The report also highlights that there is evidence of Iranian involvement in missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, as well as providing technical support and training to the Houthis. The UN experts also noted that the Houthi have managed to strengthen their military capabilities during the April-October 2021 ceasefire by exploiting gaps in the surveillance and interception system and using ports and airports in Yemen.

[5] According to the article Saudi, Iran fail to reach breakthrough on Yemen talks in Iraq published by Al Jazeera on 12 April 2022, representatives of Saudi Arabia and Iran failed to reach a significant breakthrough in their talks on the Yemen conflict, which took place in Iraq under the auspices of the UN. Delegations from the two countries met for two days and discussed ways to help bring peace to Yemen, but failed to reach agreement on a cessation of hostilities or other concrete solutions to end the conflict. The Iranian delegation accused Saudi Arabia of violating the UN arms embargo by supplying arms to the Houthis, while the Saudi delegation accused Iran of supporting and supplying arms to the Houthis. Both sides have expressed their willingness to continue talks, but no date has yet been announced for a new round of talks.

[6] The October 2020 peace agreement was a ceasefire agreement signed between the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by General Khalifa Haftar. The agreement was brokered by the United Nations and entered into force on 23 October 2020. Through the peace agreement, both sides committed to an immediate cessation of hostilities on all fronts and the withdrawal of all military forces from the Libyan border area. The agreement also called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya…

[7] Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, Acting Prime Minister of Libya

[8] Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, is a Libyan military officer, holding since 2016 the rank of Field Marshal, the main commander of the so-called “Libyan National Army”, one of the parties involved in the current civil war in Libya, especially in the east of the country. In November 2021, Khalifa Haftar announced his candidacy for the presidential elections in December 2021.

[9] Libya: What is behind the resumption of violence? Al Jazeera, published on 7 July 2022. The article provides a detailed analysis of the political and security situation in Libya and the causes behind the resumption of violence in the country.

According to the article, the main cause of the violence is the political stalemate in the country, which has been exacerbated by the postponement of presidential elections originally scheduled for the end of 2021. This postponement has fueled political divisions and led to political and militia realignments, and now two rival governments are claiming legitimacy and authority. The article also highlights the fierce competition between rival factions for territory and important institutions such as oil export facilities, the National Petroleum Corporation and the Central Bank of Libya. The article also mentions the role played by external factors, such as Turkey and Russia, which support various factions in the Libyan conflict and protect their own interests in the area.

[10] Libya’s Bashagha tries to take power in Tripoli – Al Jazeera, 16 August 2022. According to the Al Jazeera source, in August 2022, Fathi Bashagha, the former interior minister and leader of the national stability government in eastern Libya, attempted to take power in the capital Tripoli by mobilising several militias and gaining political support in the Gulf as well as in Egypt. He tried to take control of Tripoli airport, but was repulsed by security forces backing current Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

.[11] The military Balance-2023

[12] Operation Irini was launched in March 2020 as a European Union maritime mission to monitor the UN arms embargo against Libya. The main purpose of the mission is to prevent the supply of arms and related materiel to Libya that could be used in the country’s internal conflict. In 2022, crews of ships participating in Operation Irini continued to board vessels carrying military equipment or other goods that could be used in the Libyan conflict. These boardings took place mainly off the coast of Libya, but also in other areas of the Mediterranean. During these boardings, weapons and military vehicles were seized that were to be delivered to Libya. Operation Irini is considered one of the most important international initiatives to stop the supply of arms to Libya and to help restore stability and security in the region.

[14] Idlib, City in Syria

[15] The military Balance-2023

[16] Russia calls on Turkey to help stabilize Syria’s Idlib – Al Jazeera, April 1, 2022, reports on Russia’s appeal to Turkey to help stabilize Syria’s Idlib region, which remains under rebel control and is the subject of frequent conflict. According to the article, the call was made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow. .

[17] Israel Treads Carefully as Russia-Ukraine Crisis Escalates published in The Wall Street Journal published on March 3, 2022.

[18] Hamas is an Islamist Palestinian paramilitary organization. Its stated goal is the conquest of territory currently within the state of Israel.

[19] The military Balance-2023

[20] Houthi drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah airport hits during Formula E race (The Guardian) According to the article “Houthi drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah airport hits during Formula E race” published by The Guardian on 10 February 2021, Houthi drones hit Jeddah airport during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The drone attack caused a fire at a fuel storage facility, and Saudi authorities said they intercepted and destroyed two other drones heading towards the same target. According to the source, the attack has been condemned by the United Nations, as well as several world leaders and officials.

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