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Utopia Talk / Politics / Turkey marches through Libya
| Fri May 22 10:01:03|
The New York Times
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In Stunning Reversal, Turkey Emerges as Libya Kingmaker
With a succession of quick victories, Turkish-supported forces in Libya have rolled back the gains of a would-be strongman whose allies, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, now face tough choices.
A billboard depicting Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army, in downtown Benghazi in January.
A billboard depicting Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army, in downtown Benghazi in January.Credit...Ivor Prickett for The New York Times
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By Declan Walsh
May 21, 2020
CAIRO — A string of victories by Turkish-backed forces in western Libya this week dealt a heavy blow to the ambitions of the aspiring strongman Khalifa Hifter and signaled the arrival of Turkey as a potentially decisive force among the foreign powers battling for supremacy in the Middle East’s biggest proxy war.
Libyan fighters backed by Turkish firepower captured on Monday a major air base west of Tripoli, the capital, used drones to destroy newly arrived Russian air defense batteries, and on Thursday pressed their offensive by ousting Mr. Hifter’s forces from a key town south of Tripoli.
The triumphs marked a stunning reversal of fortunes for the United Nations-backed Tripoli government, which looked weak and badly besieged by Mr. Hifter until President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey sent troops and armed drones in January. It was Turkey’s most forceful intervention in the oil-rich North African nation since the end of the Ottoman Empire over a century ago.
“It’s Turkey’s Libya Now,” read the headline on a briefing posted by the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Over a year ago, Mr. Hifter began an offensive to capture Tripoli and appeared to have the upper hand in the conflict, positioning his foreign sponsors, including Russia, to play a major role in Libya’s future.
But on Wednesday, triumphant soldiers loyal to the government in Tripoli paraded through central Libya with a captured air defense system, built by Russia and financed by the United Arab Emirates, in a pointed humiliation of Mr. Hifter’s two most powerful foreign backers.
Forces loyal to Libya’s United Nations-recognized government parading an air defense system truck in Tripoli after its capture at al-Watiya airbase from forces loyal to Mr. Hifter.
Forces loyal to Libya’s United Nations-recognized government parading an air defense system truck in Tripoli after its capture at al-Watiya airbase from forces loyal to Mr. Hifter.Credit...Mahmud Turkia/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Then, on Thursday, Mr. Hifter’s forces were driven out of Asaba, a small but strategic town they had held 60 miles outside the capital.
The United Nations envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, warned the Security Council this week that the escalating fighting, driven by a flood of foreign-supplied weapons, warplanes and mercenaries, risked “turning the Libyan conflict into a pure proxy war.”
Although Turkey’s dramatic gains this week appeared to change the course of the war, they were by no means conclusive. The fortunes of the players in Libya’s conflict have seesawed wildly since the fall of the former dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011.
On Thursday Mr. Hifter, 76, a self-styled field marshal and onetime C.I.A. asset who has been compared by critics to Colonel el-Qaddafi, vowed to strike back with what his air force chief called “the largest aerial campaign in Libyan history” against Turkish targets in Tripoli.
“All Turkish positions and interests in all cities are legitimate targets for our air force jets,” the air force chief, Saqr al-Jaroushi, said in a video.
In reality, Mr. Hifter’s next move will be determined by his sponsors in Moscow, Cairo and Abu Dhabi, where the leaders who have backed his 14-month-old assault on Tripoli, which has killed hundreds of civilians and displaced 400,000 people, were scrambling to assess their support for a stubborn ally who has repeatedly spurned political talks.
Fathi Bashagha, the Tripoli government’s interior minister, told Bloomberg on Thursday that eight Soviet-era jets, escorted by two newer Russian fighter jets, had flown from a base in Syria to boost Mr. Hifter. A European official said he had received similar reports, but said it was unclear if the jets were Russian or Syrian.
Fighters allied with Libya’s United Nations-supported government at an airbase seized on Monday from Mr. Hifter’s forces.
Fighters allied with Libya’s United Nations-supported government at an airbase seized on Monday from Mr. Hifter’s forces.Credit...Hazem Ahmed/Reuters
Any overt Russian military action would be a significant escalation for Moscow, which until now has exerted influence in Libya through mercenaries from the Wagner Group, the private army with close links to the Kremlin that played a key role in Mr. Hifter’s advance on Tripoli last fall.
The European official said that the jets were most likely a signal from the Kremlin to Turkey to slow down its offensive and turn to a negotiated solution.
Russia did not comment on the reports, but after a phone call between the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Thursday morning, the two countries jointly called for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and the resumption of a United Nations-led political process, the Russian foreign ministry said.
Russia and Turkey made a similar joint appeal in January, in advance of an international conference on Libya. But their calls were ignored by Mr. Hifter, who has often infuriated his allies by playing one against the other.
As world leaders met at the conference in Berlin on Jan. 19, Mr. Hifter’s biggest ally, the United Arab Emirates, had started a covert air bridge to send military supplies to eastern Libya. The cargo flights, many of them contracted through shell companies, are under investigation by United Nations officials charged with policing the international arms embargo on Libya, a United Nations official said.
A fighter allied with Libya’s internationally recognized government at the airbase.
A fighter allied with Libya’s internationally recognized government at the airbase.Credit...Hazem Ahmed/Reuters
The victories by the Turkish-backed forces have given them air superiority over Tripoli, and have left Mr. Hifter’s forces in western Libya with just one final stronghold in Tarhouna, southeast of the capital.
“We’ve had quite a change in the military balance,” said Wolfram Lacher, a Libya specialist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “Taken together, this could have dramatic consequences for the morale of Hifter’s forces, and for the cohesion of his alliance.”
Turkey’s success struck alarm bells in Egypt, where President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a bitter rival of President Erdogan, a fellow autocrat, and where any suggestion that Turkey could leverage its new influence to establish a permanent military presence in Libya is a cause of widespread alarm.
As foreign powers meddle, ordinary Libyans continue to pay with their lives. Ms. Williams, the U.N. envoy, said that 58 civilians were killed in fighting between April 1 and May 18, mostly by forces affiliated with Mr. Hifter. “Those guilty of crimes under international law must be brought to justice,” she said.
With the international community so divided on Libya, though, the chances of any true accountability appear vanishingly slim. The best hope for now, analysts say, is that a chastened Mr. Hifter might finally accede to political negotiations.
In a conversation on Wednesday, President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France noted “worsening foreign interference” in Libya and “agreed on the need for urgent de-escalation,” the White House said in a statement.
In the past, though, Mr. Hifter has preferred to double down on military action rather than turn to talks. Last month he publicly reneged on the Libyan Political Agreement, a United Nations-sponsored deal signed in 2015 that underpins Libya’s shaky national institutions, in what was viewed at the time as an effort to shore up his power base in eastern Libya.
“Europe’s window of opportunity in Libya is closing,” Tarek Megerisi of the European Council on Foreign Relations said. “It needs to move fast if it is to protect its role as a barrier against Russian encroachment, and prevent the development of another Syria-style conflict in its neighborhood.”
| Fri May 22 11:00:48|
That's a lot of advertisement.
| Fri May 22 13:58:31|
It's good that Ottoman scum are now wantonly using drone swarms in every engagement, so there are multiple testing beds and plenty of data to improve countermeasures.
| Fri May 22 14:52:36|
what like in black ops 3?
| Fri May 22 15:15:26|
I had to google it, I'm not 14 and my name isn't Kyle. But yes
| Fri May 22 15:22:01|
Yes, much better to have a turkish theocratic client state in Libya then a Russian proxy.
EU confirmed retards
| Sat May 23 04:15:24|
Erdogan keeps on winning!
Turkey has reaffirmed that Khalifa Haftar's elements will be legitimate target for its armed forces if they attack any of its interests in Libya.
Turkish Foreign Ministry reiterated Thursday in a statement by the spokesman, Hami Aksoy, that Ankara reiterates once again that in case of targeting Turkish interests in Libya, this will have very heavy consequences and the putschist Haftar elements will be considered as a legitimate target.
Aksoy’s statement came after Haftar’s forces said they would target Turkish forces and interests in all Libyan cities.
“It is noteworthy that the statement, which is referred by a foreign media outlet and said illegitimate militias loyal to Haftar will target Turkish interests with their air elements, is made after new warplanes are deployed in Libya’s east with foreign support.” Aksoy added.
The spokesman for Turkey's Foreign Ministry said Haftar's statement mirrored the defeat of his forces on the ground, saying it was “the clearest sign” that Haftar and his supporters were trying to escalate the conflict in Libya.
| Mon May 25 13:14:45|
Erdogan keeps on winning!
Western secret mission in Libya to interrupt Turkish shipments, UN report says
United Nations experts have unmasked a secret mission of private western forces in Libya, according to a confidential report seen by DPA.
At least 20 people from Australia, France, Malta, South Africa, Britain and the United States were reportedly involved in the so-called "project Opus" mission in support of putschist commander Khalifa Haftar.
According to the report, they boarded a cargo plane in Amman, Jordan, at the end of June 2019. Officially, they were traveling on behalf of the scientific community to carry out "geophysical and hyperspectral investigations" in Libya on behalf of Jordan. But the U.N. report calls this a "cover-up story."
According to the information, they are members of privately owned military companies.
They were allegedly supposed to stop Turkish supply ships on their way to the coastal capital city Tripoli, and intercept arms supplies meant for internationally recognized government forces, according to the report.
A power struggle rages between the internationally recognized unity government in Tripoli and putschist Gen. Haftar.
Since last April, the eastern forces led by Haftar have been trying to seize the capital Tripoli.
The U.N. has documented foreign mercenaries working in the country.
It said the current arms embargo has also been violated many times, with weapons coming in from places including Turkey, which supports the unity government.
According to the report on the newly discovered mission, planning of the secret operation was mainly carried out by companies based in the United Arab Emirates - the report highlights "Lancaster6" and "Opus Capital Asset."
They had reportedly procured six military helicopters in South Africa in mid-June 2019, first brought to Botswana by land and then flown to Benghazi in Libya, a Haftar stronghold.
At the same time, at the southern tip of Europe in Malta, "Opus Capital Asset" rented two military inflatable boats to be equipped with a machine gun and taken to Benghazi on June 27.
The alleged secret mission was aborted for unknown reasons after only a few days. There are no immediate indications that any attacks have actually been carried out.
Egypt along with the UAE, France, Russia and Saudi Arabia are the main supporters of Haftar's militias.
The UAE has been a strong supporter of the warlord for years, spending large amounts to finance his offensive on the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli. The U.N. also revealed that the UAE has been supporting Haftar with arms and mercenaries.
Haftar, the leader of the illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, has intensified attacks on civilians since the beginning of May as the Libyan army recently gained an advantage and inflicted severe losses on his militants.
Libya's government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.
Following the ousting of late ruler Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya's legitimate government was founded in 2015 under a U.N.-led political agreement.
| Mon May 25 15:34:10|
Putin so sad!
The Libyan Foreign Ministry of the Government of National Accord (GNA) said Saturday it was documenting with the concerned authorities the finding of a foreign fighter's body by GNA forces in south Tripoli, adding that it was looking into the fighter's personal belongings to gather evidence.
In a statement on Facebook, the Foreign Ministry added that once the investigation ends, it will send a file of the incident to the Security Council as an additional evidence of the presence of foriegn mercenaries fighting for Khalifa Haftar's forces on Salah Al-Deen frontline in southern Tripoli.
The Special Deterrence Force of the Interior Ministry said Friday it found a Russian Wagner Group mercenary fighter's body after liberating Salah Al-Deen frontline from Haftar's forces.
The body was seen in several photos and videos published by local media, along with the personal belongings he had lying next to his body.
A source from Special Deterrence Force said three Russian mercenaries had been killed in Friday clashes, two of whom had been recovered by their fellow fighters, while the third was left to fall in the hands of Libyan Army forces.
| Tue May 26 14:27:50|
Trump must act now, can't let Russia win another scenario!
The U.S. military announced Tuesday that Russian fighter jets have deployed to Libya to support Moscow’s private military contractors against the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli.
The aircraft departed from an airbase in Russia via Syria, where they “were repainted to camouflage their Russian origin,” before arriving in Libya, a statement from U.S. Africa Command said.
The fighter jets were sent to provide “close air support and offensive fires” for the Wagner Group PMC, Russian state-sponsored private military contractors carrying out deadly force alongside rebel commander Khalifa Hifter’s Libyan National Army in their fight against the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord, the statement continued.
"Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya. Just like I saw them doing in Syria, they are expanding their military footprint in Africa using government-supported mercenary groups like Wagner," said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. "For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. Well, there is no denying it now."
He continued: "We watched as Russia flew fourth-generation jet fighters to Libya -- every step of the way. Neither the LNA nor private military companies can arm, operate, and sustain these fighters without state support -- support they are getting from Russia."
Satellite images attached to the release showed Russian MiG-29 fighter jets at Al Jufra Air Base, located in the desert about 375 miles from Tripoli.
Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 under President Obama's administration. The country is now split between a government in the east allied with Hifter and one in Tripoli, in the west, supported by the U.N.
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