US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Advisor Reveals Biden’s Options in Libya – Al Marsad

Professor Gregory Aftandilian from the American University in Washington and advisor to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that President-elect Joe Biden’s main advantage compared to Donald Trump is his belief that the United States must work closely with its allies to solve several problems in the world. Biden has close relations with many world leaders and has played a prominent role in foreign policy differently from Trump, as he put it.

(Libya, 2 December 2020) – Professor Gregory Aftandilian, speaking on the USL program on NEWS218 Channel on Tuesday, said the new administration may change its approach to the Libyan crisis, ruling out any move by Trump to stop Russia and Turkey from violating the arms embargo in Libya. Libya is not a priority for him and thus he will not interfere in the remaining months of his post, said he.

Aftandilian indicated that Biden will stand behind the United Nations and the efforts that helped reach a ceasefire in Libya and will also try to pressure the various parties outside Libya that supply weapons to warring factions. “He will seek to pressure these intervening countries to abide by the agreement on mercenaries, weapons, and military equipment,” argued Aftandilian.

Regarding Biden’s options in Libya, Gregory Aftandilian said that if the ceasefire persists, a transitional government comes to light, and the violence stops, Biden will further support efforts by the international community aimed at achieving stability in Libya.

He stated that if Libya deteriorates again into a cycle of violence, Biden may not want to get involved more than necessary, stressing that Biden will support the work of the United Nations in Libya, and pressure the various countries to end their military presence in the country.

He indicated that Turkey has understandings with Russia on Libya, not with Washington, and this does not help rapprochement with the United States.

Regarding the ongoing Libyan dialogue aimed at finding a political solution to the Libyan crisis, Gregory Aftandilian indicated that the period before holding the elections is long and several issues may arise that could disrupt the elections, asserting that the future of the Libyan people is at stake.

He said, “What makes the Libyan dialogue different this time is that the military situation on the ground has reached a dead end, as the tie in  military forces is what led to the ceasefire that led to this political process sponsored by the United Nations in Tunisia.”

He also argued that the Democrats’ support for the Muslim Brotherhood was a baseless claim linked to conspiracy theories frequently prevalent in the Arab world.

Regarding the deteriorating Turkish-American relationship, Aftandilian mentioned that this relationship has been in decline for several years because Erdogan has been acting more and more like an authoritarian figure, and Turkey is trying to stretch its muscles across the region.
He stressed that the erosion of the United States’ appreciation of Turkey will continue as long as Erdogan remains the president of Turkey. The Biden administration will be more inclined to pressure Turkey, explaining that Biden throughout his political career was supportive of Cyprus and opposed the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. The elected president will not maintain a warm and friendly relationship with Erdogan, argued Aftandilian.

“Turkey is seen as instigating violence in Libya over the past two years, which is described as a civil war,” said Gregory Aftandilian. The absence of the Trump administration has left room for other players, such as Turkey and Russia to control the situation on the ground.

He pointed out that there are Russian-Turkish understandings are under the table though it is not clear what the Turks and Russians are talking about at this stage about Libya, but certainly, the two countries want to maintain their influence there.

Regarding the impact of this intervention, Aftandilian indicated that when Russia and Turkey talk about the fate of Libya, it may not be in the best interests of the Libyan people.

He believed that Biden is the best democratic politician who might try to bridge the divide in the US, indicating that Biden will bring to the world a sense of decency and morals, and more order for how to forge policy, refrain from insults, and not using those words that have become a very distinctive feature of Trump. “Biden will restore America’s reputation in the world. There will be major differences in the way the United States deals with its allies,” added Aftandilian.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)