In Libya, the Government of National Accord's (GNA) forces continue to take control of critical locations around the country's capital Tripoli from militias loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar. After the GNA's capture of the strategic al-Watiya air base two weeks ago, it managed to then take control of Tripoli International Airport. The seizure of the airport and the surrounding areas in the south and east of the city are critical achievements for the GNA. Haftar's forces are withdrawing to eastern and southern parts of the capital after their defeats. His militias also withdrew from Tarhuna, their last remaining stronghold in the western part of Libya. At the same time, a tacit agreement from the government's side was demonstrated as GNA troops did not attack the withdrawing forces. This handling of the Tarhuna withdrawal by the GNA and the pro-Haftar elements is a diplomatically promising step toward political talks.
International focus has been on the Middle East for decades and particularly on Iran, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya over the past several years. However, whatever is written about the Middle East, Russia is always part of the equation.
The March 5 agreement between Turkey and Russia put an end to the military confrontation in Idlib, Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, shook hands on that deal to de-escalate what had become serious bilateral tensions. The 2018 Sochi agreement has thus been updated.
Andrej Kreutz raised a poignant question in his book from 2007, "Russia in the Middle East: Friend or Foe," well before the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011. Even though Russia has been an important player in the Middle East since the Cold War era, its influence in the region has burgeoned since Syrian President Bashar Assad invited Moscow into the Syrian civil war in 2015.
Turkey's objectives amid the recent tensions in Idlib are clear and the scope of a possible military operation would be limited..