A breaking news item reported by Al-Jazeera Channel earlier today, 16 May, confirmed that aircrafts were bombing locations belonging to Ansar Al-Shar'ah (Supporters of Shari'ah) and the 17 February Battalions in Benghazi.
Previously, the Algerian Al-Khabar newspaper reported on 12 May that an Israeli website close to the security circles in Tel Aviv said that an American report had warned that Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi might use the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans.
These developments come amid widespread and continuous reports in the Egyptian mass media claiming that a so-called "Egyptian Free Army" was present in eastern Libya.
Al-Khabar noted that the Israeli website Debka said that Field Marshal Al-Sisi, the presidential candidate, plans to resolve Egypt's economic crisis at the expense of Libyan oil resources. The website explained that Al-Sisi is using the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans that will result in the theft of large quantities of oil in Libya's eastern region.
The report highlighted the anxiety of the United States, which supply Field Marshal Al-Sisi with Apache fighter aircraft. The former army chief, it is believed, now has his sight set on the oil in eastern Libya and that the arms he seeks to obtain from the US will be used to wage war on that country.
According to the Israeli report, Egypt's Head of Intelligence Muhammad Farid Al-Tuhamy, visited Washington recently and submitted to the U.S. administration a detailed explanation of the threats posed by Al-Qaeda in the Suez region and the area along the borders with Libya. He said to the Americans that fighters from The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) come to Egypt via Jordan and that the regime in Egypt is fighting them. The report also hinted that Al-Sisi may use the American weapons, including the Apache combat aircraft, which were delivered to him by Washington recently, to carry out an offensive in eastern Libya.
Meanwhile, American sources quoted by the World Tribune, claim that the Egyptian army have secured U.S. endorsement and confidence to fight terrorism in the region. According to these sources, the US gave the Egyptian army the green light to launch a military operation in Libya to eradicate the Islamic groups and bomb some of the locations whose specific details were provided by Washington.
In this regard the Egyptian journalist Ahmad Mousa, who is closely associated with the coup authorities, called last month for the bombing of Libya and the launch of a military operation against it. This coincided with the spread of rumours about the presence of the Free Army inside Libya and the publication of the details of telephone calls among Libyan personalities while discussing Libyan affairs. These hacked conversations were publicised as if they were conspiracies against Egypt. The phone calls which are in the Libyan dialect and cannot easily be comprehended by Egyptian viewers are used to mislead the public.
Mustafa Bakri, another Egyptian journalist close to the Military Council, announced the arrival of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, in Libya. This announcement was intended to justify the forthcoming military onslaught on Libya and to attract sympathy from public opinion in the West, where the issue of Al-Qaeda is quite sensitive. According to experts, this is the reason why the Americans support the Egyptian strike against Libya despite the fact that this may lead to many years of war between Egypt and Libya.
On Saturday 10 May, the Algerian newspaper Al-Khabar also published an article entitled "Preparations along the Algerian borders with Mali". The article includes reference to warnings made by senior officials within the Algerian security agencies of a serious deterioration in the situation in northern Mali in the aftermath of the reduction, several months ago, in the number of personnel working in the French military contingent "Sirfal".
Algeria's Al-Khabar also warned of an imminent war in Libya that may last for a long time and may spill over into neighbouring Tunisia, and may just end with the Salafists taking over in Libya.
Some Libyan media sources, including the Libyan Ayn news website, have reported, according to well informed UAE sources, that the Emirates supports the idea of launching a swift strike against Libya to control the situation there and put an end to the security threats that may be posed in case the Islamists become more powerful. The sources quoted Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayid Bin Sultan Al-Nuhayyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, as saying that he supports the opinion of Al-Sisi, the leader of the military coup in Egypt, that joint U.S. and Arab ground troops should enter Libya and finish off the armed groups that exist there, especially since most of these groups adhere to an Islamic ideology that threatens the stability of the region and do have expansionist objectives at the expense of the region's states, as they claim.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.