Turkey-UAE rivalry felt strongly in Libya

The rivalry between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has intensified the military conflict in Libya and could spark renewed fighting in Syria, analyst James Dorsey said in an article he penned for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on Monday.

Turkey and the UAE have been at odds over the geopolitical competition across the Muslim world and fundamentally opposed attitudes toward political Islam, and their rivalry "has escalated military confrontations and severely complicated efforts to resolve the conflicts in Libya and Syria," Dorsey said.

In Libya, where Egypt and Turkey support opposite sides, the conflict is in danger of spiralling into a full-blown proxy war with the involvement of various states.

Turkey is giving direct military support to the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli while the UAE is one of several backers of the opposition Libyan National Army (LNA) headquartered in the eastern city of Tobruk, which also include Egypt and Russia.

Meanwhile, the UAE is putting more support behind Syrian President Bashar Assad aimed at thwarting Turkish plans in Syria by breaking the ceasefire in the last rebel-held province of Idlib, Dorsey said.

"The Emirati crown prince had hoped to tie Turkey up in fighting Syria, which would complicate Turkish military support for the GNA in Libya," he said.