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Meanwhile, In Libya...

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Libya’s Haftar orders forces to attack Turkish ships, bans flights to Turkey


AFP, Benghazi
Saturday, 29 June 2019

Head of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar has ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and interests in the country, his spokesman said on Friday, accusing Turkey of being actively involved in battles.

“Orders have been given to the air force to target Turkish ships and boats in Libyan territorial waters,” said General Ahmad al-Mesmari, adding that “Turkey provided air cover using drones during the militia invasion of Gharyan city.”

The spokesman accused Turkey of helping Haftar’s rivals- the Government of National Accord (GNA)- seize the town of Gharyan, around 100 kilometers (around 60 miles) southwest of Tripoli.

Turkish strategic sites, companies and projects belonging to the Turkish state (in Libya) are considered legitimate targets by the armed forces.”

Haftar’s Libyan National Army, which holds eastern Libya and much of the country’s south, launched an offensive to take the capital in early April.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with a multitude of militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Haftar, a retired general who had taken part in the revolt against Qaddafi, unleashed an offensive in May 2014 to purge Libya of Islamists he branded “terrorists.”

Mesmari added “all Turkish nationals on Libyan territory will be arrested” and “all flights to and from Turkey will be banned.”

He did not explain how the flight ban could apply to areas not under Haftar’s control.



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  • 1 month later...

UAE supplied Chinese drone downed in Libya.




The Libyan Army's Volcano of Rage Operation of the Presidential Council has announced shooting down a Chinese Wing Loong drone provided by the UAE to Khalifa Haftar's forces in the area between Abu Grein and Al-Wishka, southern Misrata.

The media office of the operation said that the Air Force of the Libyan Army intercepted the UAE's drone and shot it down.

It said that Haftar's warplanes tried to strike the downed drone in order to wipe out evidence about its type, but eastern and southern frontlines' forces foiled the attempts.

The shooting down of the drone is a critical U-turn as it shows Libyan Army as ready to deprive Haftar's forces of their airpower that has caused lots of damage in civilian lives and properties in southern Tripoli.

Meanwhile, Haftar's forces retaliated for the drone loss by shelling Mitiga Airport in Tripoli with Grad rockets, leading to suspension of flights, according to the Airport's management.

The flights resumed hours later after no damage was reported.

According to a military source, the source of the shelling was coming from Khalit Al-Furjan in southern Tripoli.



Three more images in the spoiler









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I wonder whether such incidents are covered by the plane’s insurance. Utterly bizarre that GNA supporters sent another plane when Haftar had already shown he is willing to destroy foreign aircraft delivering supplies to his opponents.

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  • 2 months later...

Arrival of Russian mercenaries adds deadlier firepower, modern tactics to Libya’s civil war


AL AZIZIYAH, Libya — At first, the fighters inside the empty school building, about 20 burly, heavily armed Russian mercenaries in dark fatigues, seemed trapped, recalled some of the Libyan militiamen who were there.

But as the Libyans pushed forward, snipers opened fire from inside with high-powered rifles. Within minutes, three Libyan militiamen were killed, all shot in the head.

Hundreds of Russian mercenaries, many highly trained and well-armed, are fighting alongside renegade Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter as he seeks to oust the country’s United Nations-backed government, according to Libyan military commanders and fighters, as well as U.S. military and other Western officials.

These foreigners fighting for Hifter’s self-described Libyan National Army are introducing new tactics and firepower on the battlefield, threatening to prolong the most violent conflict in this North African country since the Arab Spring revolution eight years ago. “The entry of the Russian forces into the war has altered the battlefield,” said Osama al-Juwaili, a top commander of the Libyan government’s forces. “Their presence complicates things for us.”

They represent the latest escalation in Libya’s proxy war, which has drawn in European and Arab countries — notably the United Arab Emirates and Egypt — despite an international arms embargo. And the arrival of these mercenaries comes at a time when Russia has been expanding its military and diplomatic reach across the Middle East, Africa and beyond, enjoying greater clout in places such as Syria where the United States is disengaging.

“We are aware of Russian private military companies operating in Libyan National Army-controlled territory in eastern Libya, and they have also operated in western Libya,” said Rebecca Farmer, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military’s Africa Command. Farmer said the Russian mercenaries work for the Wagner Group, a private army that experts have linked to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Wagner Group has previously appeared in combat in Syria, the Central African Republic, Ukraine and other countries considered strategic for the Kremlin’s geopolitical and economic interests. Russia has arms and construction agreements worth in excess of $4 billion, made with late Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was ousted and killed in the country’s 2011 uprisings and NATO intervention.

“They have a strong economic rationale in their continued support to Hifter,” said Farmer, referring to Moscow. In addition to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Saudi Arabia is backing Hifter, as is France. Italy and other European nations, as well as Turkey and Qatar, are supporting the Tripoli-based government. U.S. policy has been uncertain since April when President Trump endorsed Hifter’s offensive in a telephone call. The former Soviet Union had a close relationship with Gaddafi, sending weaponry and military advisers to Libya throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

In Hifter, Moscow sees an opening to gain back billions in lucrative oil and military contracts that it lost when Gaddafi was killed, analysts said. Russia has printed billions of Libyan dinars to prop up eastern Libya’s economy and help finance Hifter’s military campaign. Russia has also blocked a U.N. Security Council statement that sought to condemn Hifter’s offensive.


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  • 2 months later...

Meanwhile 3rd Ukrainian Il-76 delivering weapons to Lybia destroyed few minutes after landing...


I've seen a report that different NATO countries are backing different factions in Libya. Specifically France and Russia backing one side, Italy another. Any idea what's going on? Seems confusing.

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Meanwhile 3rd Ukrainian Il-76 delivering weapons to Lybia destroyed few minutes after landing...


I've seen a report that different NATO countries are backing different factions in Libya. Specifically France and Russia backing one side, Italy another. Any idea what's going on? Seems confusing.


I've read the same (or similar) report and I'm equally as confused. I understand Haftar/Haftir is supported by Egypt (and possibly the Saudis?) and Russia, and the other side is aligned with Turkey, and thus probably the muslim brotherhood. I don't understand why France is supposed to be aligned with Egypt and Russia, and Italy with Turkey.


Russia seems to bank on Haftar renewing the contracts that Khadaffi made with Russian companies, and Turkey seems to turn the Meditterranean into a "mare nostrum", but what France and Italy hope to gain (or avoid) is unclear to me.

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It was a France vs. Italy for Mare Nostrum operation then, too.

When? What do you mean, different interests re: Khadaffi's Libya?



I think he might mean that back before 1945 the French and Italians were competing for influence in North Africa? I must admit, when I first read the report that thought popped to mind.

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Ah yes, the old rivalry in the med raising its head.




Meanwhile Merkel organizes peace conference in Berlin:





Merkel: Germany to host Libya peace conference
German chancellor stressed Libya's warring parties would need to play an important role to help find a solution.
2 hours ago
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Libyan peace talks will be held in Berlin, as Turkey and Russia appeal to Libya's warring factions to enter a ceasefire.
During a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Saturday, Merkel said: "We hope that the joint efforts by Russia and Turkey will lead to success, and we will soon send out invitations for a conference in Berlin."
Merkel stressed that the United Nations would lead talks if a meeting were to take place in Berlin and that Libya's warring parties would need to play a significant role to help find a solution.
The aim was to give Libya the chance to become a sovereign and peaceful country, Merkel said.
Putin expressed support for the process, saying it was a "timely" idea and necessary to bring the conflict in Libya to an end.
Turkey asks Russia to get Libya's Haftar to accept ceasefire
Earlier this week, Turkey and Russia urged Libya's warring parties to declare a ceasefire on Sunday.
Turkey backs Fayez al-Sarraj's Tripoli-based, internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and has said it will send military advisers and possibly troops to reinforce its support.
Russian military contractors have been deployed alongside renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).
In response to being asked whether he was aware of the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya, Putin said: "If there are Russian citizens there, then they are not representing the interests of the Russian state and they are not receiving money from the Russian state."


Edited by Panzermann
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It was a France vs. Italy for Mare Nostrum operation then, too.

When? What do you mean, different interests re: Khadaffi's Libya?





The comments on that video suggests an oil dispute (Total vs Eni). But I suppose Russian and Turkish companies would take precedence for their respective sides, considering they are more openly supportive.


France does have some ties with Egypt though, that may be part of the reason. Italy seems to be following the standard UN/European response with the GNA as the "official" government.


If the goal is to stop the flow of immigrants (surely an Italian aim), I wonder if Haftar wouldn't be easier to deal with instead of the fractured GNA.

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From the Guardian

Exclusive: 2,000 Syrian fighters deployed to Libya to support government

Two thousand Syrian fighters have travelled from Turkey or will arrive imminently to fight on the battlefields of Libya, Syrian sources in all three countries have said, in an unprecedented development that threatens to further complicate the north African state’s intractable civil war.

The deployment came after Turkey agreed last month to come to the aid of the Libyan prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, who is backed by the UN, in the face of a months-long campaign by his rival, the warlord Khalifa Haftar.
Ankara has supported the Syrian opposition since the early days of the battle against the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, even as the original Free Syrian Army umbrella group grew weak and splintered because of infighting and the growth of Islamist elements within rebel ranks. Turkey now uses some rebel fighters as proxies against Kurdish-led forces despite allegations of human rights abuses from watchdogs.
“This is a very different situation to Syria,” said Claudia Gazzini, a senior Libya analyst with the International Crisis Group. “Anti-Turkish sentiment is already strong because of Ankara’s intervention and could grow as a result of this, playing in Haftar’s favour.”
An initial deployment of 300 men from the second division of the Syrian National Army (SNA), an umbrella of Syrian rebel groups funded by Turkey, left Syria through the Hawar Kilis military border crossing on 24 December, followed by 350 more on 29 December.
They were then flown to Tripoli, the Libyan capital, where they have been posted to frontline positions in the east of the city.
Another 1,350 men crossed into Turkey on 5 January. Some have since been deployed to Libya with others still undergoing training at camps in southern Turkey. More men from the Islamist Sham Legion are also considering travelling to Libya.
The figures are significantly higher than most previous estimates.
Once source said the Syrian men are expected to coalesce into a division named after Libyan resistance leader Omar al-Mukhtar, who was executed by Italy in 1931 and became popular in Syria during the 2011 Arab spring.
The fighters have signed six-month contracts directly with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), rather than with the Turkish military, SNA sources said, for $2,000 (£1,500) a month – a vast sum compared with the 450-550 Turkish lira (£52-£72) a month they earn in Syria. All have been promised Turkish nationality, a carrot Ankara has used to cajole fighters in brigades on its payroll for several years.
Turkey is also paying medical bills for injured soldiers and is responsible for repatriating the dead to Syria. At least four Syrians have died in Libya already, the Guardian can confirm, although their units said they died while stationed on front lines against Kurdish-led forces in north-east Syria.
Last month phone footage of men with Syrian accents claiming to be in Tripoli surfaced on social media, in which one man said: “The Free Syrian Army is in Libya to defend Islam.”
“We liberated this entire military camp from Haftar’s forces,” said another, before turning to a colleague to ask: “What is his name? Haftar? Hantar?”
The footage was questioned by many who wondered how and why Syrian men – nominally still fighting in the nine-year-old war against Assad – had ended up so far from home.
Both Ankara and Tripoli have repeatedly denied the presence of Syrian fighters in Libya, as has the SNA. The Guardian understands that Syrian fighters in the country have since been banned from posting any evidence of their whereabouts to social media.
Turkey itself has so far sent just 35 soldiers to Tripoli in an advisory capacity, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week. Unlike last October’s incursion into Kurdish-held parts of Syria, intervention in Libya has little support among the Turkish public.
Speaking on Tuesday, however, after Haftar walked away from talks in Moscow without agreeing to a ceasefire, Erdoğan said Turkey would not refrain from “teaching a lesson he deserves” to the Libyan warlord.
Haftar is supported by Egypt, France, Jordan, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, while Sarraj is backed by Italy, Qatar and Turkey. Officials from Sarraj’s internationally recognised government have expressed anger that their allies, other than Turkey, have effectively abandoned them since Haftar declared his intention to capture Tripoli last April.
The GNA was reportedly initially reluctant to accept Syrian fighters instead of Turkish troops but accepted the idea when Haftar’s forces drew closer to the capital.
Last month, the Guardian reported that an influx of 3,000 Sudanese had been sent to Benghazi to fight for Haftar, joining around 600 Russian mercenaries, in another sign the conflict’s parameters are growing.
“Letting Syrian proxies do the fighting means that Ankara can avoid its own troops potentially clashing with Russian mercenaries,” said Gazzini. “The next question is – will [Russian President Vladimir] Putin continue to greenlight this? Or will Libya take a backseat if Russia and Turkey decide to prioritise their other overlapping strategic interests?”
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Meanwhile, Haftar went to Greece on Friday, before going to Berlin for the conference. He held talks with the Greek PM and the minister of foreign affairs.


Greece is also annoyed that she is not part of the Berlin conference, although she expects that Germany will represent Greek positions regarding the memorandum signed between Sarraj and Turkey.

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Meanwhile the Turks have expanded their presence in Libya and are busy setting up AD assets, including a Hawk site at Mitaga airport and a Korkut SPAAG was seen being transported from the harbour (below).


This will the second Hawk site in Libya, as the UAE has set one up in the East to protect the LNA.


Apparently, Haftar walked angrily out of talks with the Russians in Moscow and refused to sign the Turko-Russian truce: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-14/how-putin-was-thrown-off-course-by-a-furious-libyan-general



Edited by Daan
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