Egypt’s behavior in Libya flies in the face of everything the African Union stands for.
Yet there is an ominous silence from the 55-member continental organisation.
The AU echoes the United Nations in making clear its fears about the Libyan conflict becoming proxy war.
It’s failure to condemn Egypt taking the North African state down that road undermines AU credibility and certainly makes a nonsense of the grouping’s major goal of silencing the guns.
African leaders are behaving like their predecessors who took too far their reluctance to interfere in the internal affairs of their peers.
Two decades ago, having sat on their hands during the Rwandan genocide, African leaders resolved never to allow a repeat of such a shameful occurrence.
Since the fall of dictator Muammar Gadaffi in 2011, Libya has been the biggest mess the AU has had to contend with.
The country has become armoury for conflict in the region and beyond.
Its potential oil wealth has been ruined by the conflict and instability.
Nevertheless that oil attracts the unwanted attention of Russia, Turkey and Egypt all of whom hold the lethally misguided belief that Libya represents their strategic interest.
The most dramatic illustration of this is Egypt’s parliament voting to allow President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to take the country to war over Libya.
The temerity of El Sisi warning the United Nations-backed Libyan Government of National Accord not to attempt to regain control of Sirte is staggering.
A credible government must perforce control the port city at the centre of Libya which is the country’s oil export terminal and gateway it oil fields. The GNA has mounted the ironically named Operation Peace Storm to ensure this.
Egypt backs the rebel force of Khalifa Haftar who are making a last ditch stand at Sirte having been driven out of the capital Tripoli to the west.
Haftar also enjoys the backing of the United Arab Emirates and Russia, which this week shipped mercenaries and air defense systems to the rebels.
France, which takes more than a passing interest in developments across the Mediterranean, has despatched the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaul to lie off Sirte.
Turkey, determined to be player in this game, has provided both troops and arms to the GNA led by Fayez Al Sarraj.
Small wonder the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has repeatedly expressed concern about the developing proxy war in Libya.
Western powers have also been involved in attempts to get the belligerents around the negotiating table, causing the AU to complain about being iced out of peace efforts in one of its member states.
Surely African leaders must accept that their silence about Egyptian interference in Libya rather disqualifies them from achieving an African solution to this particular African problem.