Amr Moussa hints at Egypt incursion into Libya

Photo: Amr Moussa hints at Egypt incursion into Libya
 / Arab World

The Egyptian government should consider a military solution for the unrest in Libya, Amr Moussa said in a statement issued Sunday.

The former Egyptian foreign minister raised speculation that Egypt is considering an armed incursion into Libya, where fierce fighting continues between rebel groups and security forces, Al Arabiya reported.

The current unrest in Libya, Egypt's neigbour to the west, poses threats to Egyptian national security, the statement added.

"The situation in Libya is a major concern for Egypt, Libya's neighboring countries, and the Arab world at large," Moussa said.

"Statelets, sects and extremist factions in Libya directly threaten Egypt's national security. I call for a broad public debate to sensitize public opinion to the risks, and to build the necessary support in case we have to exercise our right to self-defence."

Egypt's foreign affairs spokesman declined to comment on Moussa's statement.

These remarks are given great weight considering Moussa's high profile in Egyptian politics, in addition to his close ties with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. His statements are an indicator that an Egyptian military operation in Libya is on the table.

"Libya burns, and Egypt approaches a military solution", al-Masry al-Youm, one of Egypt's largest private newspapers, printed as a headline.

Security analyst and former army officer Khaled Okasha is one critic of the intervention. "A seasoned politician should know the limits of state intervention in other countries, even if they represent a threat to us," he told al-Watan newspaper in comment to Moussa's remarks.

Moussa's statement is in-conjunction with Egypt's concern over fighting in Libya, which has been exacerbated by the killing of 21 Egyptian soldiers last month in a checkpoint on the Egyptian-Libyan border.

Egyptian concerns have deepened after 13,000 Egyptian migrant workers fled to Libya's Tunisian border in recent days, many with frightening stories of their treatment by Libyan militias.

The unrest has solidified Sisi's position in Egypt as his supporters believe stern leadership is the only alternative to the chaos seen in states like Libya and Syria, even if it comes at the cost of everyday freedoms.

Another government source said they knew of no immediate plans to intervene in Libya.

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