In recent months, Ankara has put its full weight behind the financial and military support of the Fayez al-Sarraj government. In light of the unanimity that the Turkish goal is to protect the project of political Islam in Libya and throughout North Africa, its second dream transcends Libya and goes further in considering expansion throughout the Sahel and Sahara countries by seeking to secure the southern gate. There is a trend towards Chad based on the extremist groups supported by Ankara and Doha.
CAIRO – Whoever thinks that Turkey’s ambitions will stop at Libya or North Africa is mistaken. It is more than wrong to imagine that the ties that brought together Ankara and terrorist organizations are limited to penetration in Arab countries.
The Turkish system paved the way for its Islamic project years ago in Africa, and began to prepare the soil with soft and rough tools. The first was the weapon of aid. The latter was to embrace militants and provide them with logistical support that enabled them to penetrate local fronts across the continent.
Supporting terrorism to establish influence in Africa
Perhaps many did not pay attention to the depth and details of the infrastructure links between Turkey and the extremists in countries such as Chad, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, and others, because the Qatari interface diverted their gaze. Monitoring focused on the relations that link Doha and extremist movements operating in these countries, and Qatar was caught red-handed providing support and numerous charges were brought against it, until evidence revealed the joint role of Turkey and Qatar in Libya and the attendant expectations regarding the willingness Ankara to extend its influence beyond the Libyan borders.
The environment near Libya seems ripe for closer cooperation and coordination between Ankara and the broad spectrum of active terrorist organizations, which have increased their movements during the past weeks in conjunction with the increasing Turkish presence in Libya, and gained new areas of land and influence as major powers were engaged in fighting Corona, mitigating campaigns against extremists. All which aided the Turkish agenda as Ankara launched expanded campaigns on new fronts, granting the takfiris a greater opportunity for freedom of movement beyond Libya’s borders. The Boko Haram group, which was originally born in Nigeria, began to be seen extensively in the area known as the countries of the Chad Basin, as if it received a signal of this further expansion becoming a tangible reality, and moved to achieve victories in conjunction with Turkish gains in Libya.
The Chadian army was able to pursue many terrorist elements supported by Ankara and Doha
It succeeded in dragging the Chadian army into direct engagement, relieving pressure on the southern Libyan front, which turned into an open theatre of differentiated Chadian forces, and a source of supply for mercenaries to fight the wars in which the Tripoli government was involved.
Chad has become a central target of the Boko Haram and fierce battles have occurred between the Chadian forces and elements belonging to this group, in which dozens of victims have fallen on both sides. The main objective was to place the Chadian Front over a volcano of successive tensions and revive the role played by extremist movements who suffered losses at the hands of the Libyan National Army forces two years ago in cooperation with the tribes there.
Chad has a bitter history with the extremists, and Qatar, Turkey’s stepdaughter, is the equation that controls them. They cut ties with Doha in August 2017, closed its embassy in N’djamena, and called on Qatar to desist from all actions that undermine the security of Chad, as well as the security of the countries of the Lake Chad Basin and the coast, accusing Doha of trying to destabilize Chad through Libya.
Hard-line organizations maintain a degree of inter-party differences but they overcome them when they face a single opponent, and this is the strategy Turkey has employed with some success in Syria, which ultimately enabled them to maintain an ideological umbrella for all the various Takfiri factions. They are repeating this game in the Sahel and Sahara countries. Even with the battles that have taken place between al-Qaeda and ISIS in Mali or elsewhere, it is easy for Turkey to contain them because tactical interest demands it.
The observer discovered that this project was being prepared at an accelerated pace years ago, when Qatar and later Turkey extended the lines of cooperation with the opposition factions in Chad, Sudan, Mali and Nigeria, sometimes under the pretext of sponsoring negotiations aimed at achieving peace, and another times through various channels to deliver support to terrorists. Local governments have become fragile, unable to confront the plot, and some have weakened to the point of bowing to external pressures, and accepting the opening of lands for the so-called soft powers that are merely a cloak for Turkish intelligence services to operate behind.
Ankara has a network of terrorists in the Sahel and Sahara region. Now Turkey is sending thousands of Syrian terrorists to add to the generous African stockpile, linking its members through a complex network of interests in which the local dimensions coincide with the regional.
Translation by Internationalist 360°