All eyes turned to Lebanon after Tuesday’s horrible explosion in Beirut. According to the Lebanese health minister, at least 154 people died in the accident and over 5,000 others survived with injuries. An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 citizens have been left homeless. Lebanon, where protests broke out in October over economic hardships, suffered a financial loss of between $10 billion and $15 billion from the explosion.
Both sides of the Libyan conflict are getting ready for the Sirte-Jufra front. The attack on al-Watiya air base, probably by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), demonstrated both parties’ determination. As Turkey took precautions to prevent future attacks, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held talks with the interior ministers of Libya and Malta on Monday.
The effective steps Turkey has taken to fill the deepening power vacuum in its region have hurt the interests of many foreign governments. Those countries are unsettled by Turkey’s transformation into a regional and global player with game-changing capabilities under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership.
With Turkey's support, forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) liberated al-Watiya air base from Khalifa Haftar's forces on May 18. The recapture of the air base, a key strategic site in the western part of the country, marked the start of a series of defeats for Haftar forces and their eventual retreat from western Libya.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters Friday that his administration was keeping a close eye on the Libya situation. He referred to increased diplomatic contacts between Turkey and Libya, including Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and top military commander Yaşar Güler’s recent visits to Tripoli, as "shadow marking." Erdoğan stressed that those visits took place "as part of a certain plan."