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Egyptian army amassing powerful forces at Libyan border.

| 2020

As reported by Defense News Nigeria, Africa's most powerful army - the Egyptian one - is amassing tanks and helicopter gunships at the Libyan border: M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and AH-64E Apache attack helicopters appear more and more numerous, ready to retaliate to “provocations” from Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

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Egyptian army amassing powerful forces at Libyan border 01 Egyptian Boeing AH-64E Apache (Picture source: Twitter account of Defense News Nigeria)

This deployment of forces announces an Egyptian intervention against Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA). The Second Libyan Civil War is an ongoing conflict among rival factions seeking control of Libya. After erupting in 2014, the conflict is mostly between:

* the House of Representatives, elected in 2014 with a low turnout (18%), relocated to Tobruk, which appointed Marshal Khalifa Haftar as commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army with the mission of restoring its sovereignty over the whole of Libyan territory;
* the Government of National Accord, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, based in the capital Tripoli and established after failed military coups and the relocation of the House of Representatives to Tobruk. It is recognized by the UN as the sole legal government of Libya.
Turkey, Russia, Qatar and several other countries each support one of the two rival factions, which means a worsening conflict for the months (and years?) to come.

Egyptian AH-64E Apache attack helicopters

The current Egyptian deployment of forces at the Libyan border takes place as the U.S. State Department recently approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of a refurbishment package for 43 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters owned by Egypt. The estimated $2.3 billion deal is not final but was announced via a required notification by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency to the U.S. Congress on 7 May. As part of the refurbishment package, Egypt would receive 88 GE Aviation T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines; 47 Lockheed Martin Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensors; 45 BAE Systems’ Common Missile Warning Systems; and 92 Honeywell Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems, among other electronics upgrades and spare parts. Many of the components, including most of the T700 turboshaft engines, would be remanufactured. The deal would also come with weapons: Hellfire missile launchers, 2.75in tube rocket launchers, and M230 chain guns.

“Egypt intends to use these refurbished AH-64 helicopters to modernize its armed forces to address the shared US-Egyptian interest in countering terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula, which threaten Egyptian and Israeli security and undermine regional stability,” says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. However, these Apaches seem about see action elsewhere than the Sinai.

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