ABU DHABI — An unpublicized meeting by Arab chiefs of staff will take place in Cairo on May 18 to coordinate plans for a Libyan intervention, an Arab League source revealed. France and Italy may also play a role, the source said.
The meeting, which will include high-ranking military personnel from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sudan and Libya is intended to set up intervention plans to stabilize Libya, which has seen unrest since the toppling of the Gadhafi government in 2011.
"Five Mi-35 Hind upgraded helicopters were delivered last month ahead of more Russian equipment, which include anti-tank and armor-piercing weapons and munitions," the source said.
"With the operations in Yemen going quit well at the moment and with the movement from the first phase of operations to the second phase, now this could embolden the Arabs to move in to Libya," Rickli said.
"However, in Yemen it was known who were the assailants [and] where direct actions [can] be taken," he said. "In Libya, the question is who could be labeled as the bad guys."
According to the source, a meeting at the end of the month hosted by the Egyptian government for Libyan tribal leaders will be to coordinate operations and guarantee safe passage for the Arab troops.
On May 5, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced that the forum for Libyan tribes is to "unify the Libyan people."
The ministry said in a statement that the forum aims to give Libya the "necessary boost toward political dialogue" and endorse national reconciliation.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty stressed in the statement "the extremely important role of Libyan tribes and civil society" in restoring stability to Libya and supporting the state's "legitimate institutions," such as the Parliament and the "legitimate" government.
"A meeting to coordinate the different tribes in Libya would reinforce the credibility of an action by the Joint Arab Force in Libya," Rickli said.
The Italian and French would be behind that because they have been trying to set up a force to stabilize Libya since 2011 and they wanted the Arabs to take the lead.
"The threat from the Islamic State not only in Libya but also in Western Egypt is getting to be too great, so action is required," he said.
"It is important to point out that after the Cairo meeting is a forum hosted by Justice First in the Egyptian capital that will bring together many of Libya's tribes to achieve a new unity that will act as a force multiplier for the Egyptian-led campaign."
"The main point is that there can be no effective military mission without a clear political strategy. With no political strategy, it is likely only to worsen the already difficult situation in Libya," he added.
"The reasons that push Italy to take part in an international mission would be the promotion of regional stability and the protection of its national security.
"A Libya in convulsions of civil war is a source of instability for the whole North Africa and the Mediterranean, as it represents a geopolitical black hole which breeds the phenomenon of international crime trafficking of drug, arms and people and religiously motivated terrorism," he said. "In addition, there are Italian economic interests in Libya that our government intends to protect, above all those related to the hydrocarbon sector."
Margelletti said that Italy considers it essential to promote dialogue within the two governments in Libya and with all social tribal actors involved in the conflict.
Margelletti added that the involvement of the European Union, the African Union and the United Nations would guarantee the political support necessary for any military action in Libya.
"Technically, the Navy has all the capabilities to support a military operation in Libya, providing special forces, logistic support and, in case, also air defense and close-air support," he said.
"In fact, the organization of an international mission needs a strong political will, a clear unity of purpose among partners and precise shared goals to be reached. Without these elements, the government in Rome could opt for different strategies."