The Address | Benghazi – Libya
LONDON – At a time when Libya is witnessing political and military conflicts, Adnan Tanriverdi, a close confidant of Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is suspected of overseeing the formation of elite mercenary force in the war-torn North African country, The Telegraph reports.
The Telegraph describes Tanriverdi as “the Islamic world’s most powerful gun-for-hire” and “a well-connected ex-general with thousands of battle-hardened Syrian mercenaries at his command.”
The Turkish warlord claims expertise “in all the dark arts of warfare, from sabotage and counter-insurgency to assassinations,” according to The Telegraph.
The vital question that The Telegraph raised in its report was: Is Erdogan’s confidant currently building a secret Islamist army in Libya?
Tanriverdi’s private military contractor, SADAT, which was accused by the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security of acting as “Erdogan’s shadow army”, is actively training Islamist elements who adhere to a Salafist ideology in Syria and other locations in the Middle East, according to JISS.
SADAT also has connection to nefarious terrorist organization such as Hamas and ISIS, according to the American Enterprise Institute.
SADAT itself is not shying away from its Islamist ideology, declaring on its Mission statement that it wants to “help Islamic World take the place where it merits among Super Powers”.
Despite Tanriverdi’s denial that his contractor sent mercenaries to Libya, a recent report by US AFRICOM stated that Syrian mercenaries working with SADAT have helped the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in recapturing Tripoli from the Libyan National Army (LNA) during the 2019-2020 western Libya military campaign.
GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj made a controversial security deal with Erdogan in 2019, which paved the way for Ankara to send its troops as well as mercenaries to Libya.
AFRICOM estimates that there are 5,000 Syrians fighting for GNA. It also said that the Syrians fighting for the GNA are paid and supervised by “several dozen” military trainers from SADAT, which also trains GNA-aligned militias.