It is clear that disorder in Libya, whose government has struggled to control Islamic militant groups operating inside its border and is currently embroiled in a new crisis, has become a security priority for Egypt in recent weeks. On Tuesday 20 May, the military announced that it had temporarily closed Egypt’s border to Libya following similar moves by both Algeria and Tunisia. Envoys of the Egyptian and Algerian governments recently met to co-ordinate security arrangements in light of the renewed hostilities in Libya. This may eventual pose complications to Egyptians working in Libya who, according to unofficial estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, number over a million, although expatriates have not yet been asked to evacuate Libya.
It was reported on Monday 2 June that a Libyan delegation of four ministers aligned with General Khalifa Haftar’s (a.k.a. Khafter) forces who launched an offensive against Islamist militants in Benghazi, including its Minister of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Cairo on a two-day visit aimed at soliciting help from the Egyptian government. President-elect El-Sisi raised Libya on several occasions throughout his electoral campaign as an issue of immediate concern and has suggested that Egypt would intervene in the conflict if it needed to, although the scope and scale of potential intervention has never been made clear. These comments have been welcomed by some Libyans, including General Haftar, who essentially posed an invitation to Egypt to intervene militarily during an interview he gave to a well-read Egyptian newspaper. We are concerned that as the security situation in Libya deteriorates, Egypt may be pulled into the conflict, thereby adding another dimension to its current overall security risk.
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