The execution of 21 Coptic Egyptians in Libya at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) was met with outrage by the Egyptian people and government. Cairo responded politically and militarily. At the military level, Egyptian war planes carried out airstrikes against Darnah to deter extremists and send a message to regional and international parties that Cairo has the upper hand because it has carried out the strikes without prior notice to Washington. The strike was also meant to pamper Egyptian public opinion, renew public confidence in the president, the military and the state and prevent any potential sectarian sedition.
Cairo has also made relentless political efforts at the international stage to gain legitimacy for its military move, as well as, form an international coalition to combat terrorism in Libya. Cairo’s move received various reaction at the regional and international levels.
Cairo’s policy towards Libya is governed by several determinants, notably, support by the elected House of Representatives and Libya’s national army led by Maj. Gen. Khalifah Haftar, the priority to face extremist groups, the need to provide an Egyptian strategic depth that extends from Mauritania until Libya, and Cairo’s unwillingness for a long-term interference in Libya.
Image Source: Reuters Pictures
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