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Clinton emails: Egypt worked to contain the turmoil in Libya to avoid regional instability

One of the former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s emails, which have been recently declassified by US President Donald Trump’s administration, revealed Egypt’s foreign policy towards the Libyan turmoil after the outbreak of protests against Late Libyan Commander Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.

Dated back to April 8, 2011, an e-mail sent to Hillary and titled “UK game playing; new rebel strategists; Egypt moves in. Sid,” said that Cairo was interested to contain any turmoil in Libya that could affect Egypt.

“Egypt has a growing interest in keeping a close eye on jihadist movements in eastern Libya. This is especially true as the Egyptian Military is already concerned about Islamist militancy overflow from Gaza, after their forces were pulled back to Cairo during the uprising against Mubarak. In the event Qaddafi’s forces invade the east, Egypt is the most logical destination for refugees from Libyan. Egypt has an interest in controlling any turmoil in Libya that could harm efforts to restart its struggling economy,” the e-mail said.

“A source with excellent access to the highest levels of the SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE ARMED FORCES (SCAF) states that the Egyptian Military has turned its full attention to the crisis in Libya. Traditionally, Egypt is a strong influence in the eastern Libyan region of Cyrenaica [eastern coastal region of Libya] and is now taking advantage of the current crisis to regain that position,” the e-mail read.

The email talked about Egypt’s plans in the case of Qaddafi’s downfall, mentioning the reasons for Egypt’s interests to avoid turmoil in Libya; “in the event, Qaddafi’s forces invade the east, Egypt is the most logical destination for refugees from Libyan. Egypt has an interest in controlling any turmoil in Libya that could harm efforts to restart its struggling economy,” the email said.

One of the reasons is that Libya was a vital place for Egyptian migrant laborers who bring their home millions of dollars in remittances. “According to the Egyptian Labor Ministry, around 1.5 million Egyptians reside and work in Libya, sending home an estimated $254 million in remittances. In the past few years, Qaddafi has placed heavy restrictions on foreign workers, and Egypt hopes that a new regime will be more flexible, and open to receiving Egyptian workers,” the e-mail added.

Radical Islamists like Al-Qaeda-affiliate in Libya was a direct threat against Egypt, the email said, adding “Egypt has a growing interest in keeping a close eye on jihadist movements in eastern Libya. This is especially true as the Egyptian Military is already concerned about Islamist militancy overflow from Gaza, after their forces were pulled back to Cairo during the uprising against Mubarak.”

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