WAR REGIONAL CONFLICT BREWING IN THE Mediterranean

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment




Evan Kohlmann
@IntelTweet

11m

Armed Iraqi Shiite faction Ashab al-Kahf is threatening to launch shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles targeting U.S. military aircraft in Iraq "in the coming days."
So back to the early 2000s...I'm guessing they've got Iranian copies of Russian and Chinese MANPADS. Yeah that's not going to play as well as they think it will over the long term....
 

jward

passin' thru
Nafiseh Kohnavard
@nafisehkBBC
· 5m
IRGC-linked social media accounts claim that "40 #US army armoured vehicles accompanied CTS, raided PMF's 45 brigade's headquarter ( Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah) in #Baghdad and detained its four leaders"
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Posted for fair use.....


The Interview



Libya: 'Faces a real risk of partition'

Issued on: 25/06/2020 - 18:30Modified: 25/06/2020 - 18:30

THE INTERVIEW © FRANCE 24

By: Marc Perelman
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In an interview with FRANCE 24, Wolfram Lacher, a senior associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, warned of a "real risk" of partition in Libya. He said this could happen either through an escalation of the fighting or because a "frozen conflict" scenario would take hold.

Speaking to FRANCE 24 from Berlin, Lacher said that for the first time, there was a risk that the fighting in Libya could no longer be waged through proxies but would be done openly between foreign powers. He said that the world should "take seriously" the threat by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to intervene if government-backed forces move towards the strategic town of Sirte. Both Egypt and Turkey were "playing a game of chicken" that could well end up in a direct confrontation between them, said Lacher, who is the author of a recent book entitled "Libya's Fragmentation: Structure and Process in Violent Conflict".

Lacher expressed pessimism about the revival of a UN-led negotiation process, noting that Turkey and Russia were angling for a deal between them to control Libya while Egypt, the UAE, the US and France were opposing such a scheme.

He also criticised France's support for General Khalifa Haftar, stressing that he could not understand why Paris kept on backing him despite his shortcomings and his failure to seize the capital, Tripoli. He added that France's stark denunciation of Turkey’s role in Libya was misguided.

He noted that while Turkey had openly supported Fayez al-Sarraj, both the UAE and Russia had been sending more weaponry to Haftar, including Russian fighter jets that could be used in the near future. He estimated that the only solution for Haftar to retain some influence was to maintain control of Libya's east in a "frozen conflict" scenario.
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Posted for fair use.....

Egypt's saber-rattling on Libya raises eyebrows

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's warning of possible Egyptian military intervention in Libya drew mixed reactions both at home and from parties to the conflict.

Shahira Amin


Jun 25, 2020

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's warning that Egypt could intervene militarily in neighboring Libya if Turkish-backed government forces were to advance on the eastern Libyan city of Sirte has drawn mixed reactions from the parties to the conflict in Libya.

The Libyan Parliament affiliated with eastern commander Khalifa Hifter welcomed Sisi's remarks. According to a statement released by the House of Representatives on June 21, speaker of the eastern-based parliament Aguila Saleh had called on Cairo in January “to assist the Libyan armed forces in their war against terrorism and to thwart the foreign invasion.”

The UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, meanwhile, called Sisi's warning a “declaration of war” and an “attack on its sovereignty.” It further stated that the GNA is “the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan state.”

“Any direct intervention from the Egyptian state has now acquired international legitimacy,” Sisi said June 20, citing the threat posed by "terrorist militias" to Libya's security and stability in reference to the more than 2,000 fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) deployed by Turkey to support the GNA against Hifter. Sisi stressed the necessity of protecting Egypt's porous western border against infiltration by armed militants from Libya. His remarks came in an address to Egyptian troops at the Sidi Barrani air force base in Matrouh, a western governorate on the border with Libya.

Thanks to Turkey's support, forces loyal to the GNA have made significant military gains in recent weeks, pushing back Hifter's forces and thwarting a 14-month offensive by the LNA against the Libyan capital Tripoli. The Turkish-backed forces of the GNA have meanwhile been threatening to advance on the strategic city of Sirte and al-Jufra air base, but Sisi's warning that “Sirte and Jufra are a red line” appears to have foiled those plans, halting the GNA forces’ march eastward — at least temporarily.

Sisi's warning came just days after 23 Egyptian laborers allegedly detained and tortured by forces allied with the GNA were repatriated to Egypt. They were shown on a number of Egyptian satellite channels arriving in Matrouh, some draped in the Egyptian flag. Earlier, a video had circulated on Egyptian social media purportedly showing the workers facing abuse and being forced to stand on one leg with their hands in the air.

Sisi's comments were received at home with a variety of responses including surprise, skepticism, dismay and a great deal of patriotic sentiment, as was evident from the widely circulated images of the Egyptian flag and the “Long live Egypt” slogan on social media.

Some saw the warning as a distraction from government failures such as the response to the coronavirus pandemic and the deadlock in talks with Ethiopia over the Great Renaissance Dam Project.

Skeptics like Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University, dismissed Sisi's warning, arguing that it is “highly unlikely” that Egypt would enter a direct war in Libya.

“Cairo, however, will not tolerate an eastward expansion of GNA forces, as it would consider this a victory for Turkey, perceived by Egypt as an 'enemy state' owing to Turkey's support for the Muslim Brotherhood,” Nafaa told Al-Monitor. Turkey offers a safe haven to exiled leaders and members of the Islamic opposition group, considered a terrorist organization by Egypt since late 2013.

Nafaa went on, “President Sisi has made it clear that he rejects Turkey's expansionist goals and has warned he will stop at nothing to deter Turkey from gaining control over Libya. If the GNA repeats the same mistake made earlier by Hifter when he had opted for a military solution rather than a political settlement of the crisis, then we can expect to see Cairo extending further support to Hifter's forces, equipping and arming them — and the Libyan eastern tribesmen fighting alongside the LNA — with sophisticated weapons.” Sisi and Gulf allies the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been supporting Hifter all along but according to Nafaa, that support “will no longer be covert nor discreet.”

Nafaa recalled Hifter's refusal to sign a January cease-fire agreement brokered by Turkey and Russia in Moscow and the repeated violations by LNA forces of another deal struck in Berlin a few weeks later. At the Berlin international conference on Libya in February, global powers and regional actors pledged their support for a cease-fire and an arms embargo in Libya. They also vowed to throw their weight behind the UN-facilitated political process.

“All promises were thrown to the wind by Hifter. My fear is that the pro-GNA forces may choose to ignore the calls for a cease-fire, prompting a further escalation of the crisis and more bloody confrontations,” he added.

Other analysts like Maj. Gen. Samir Farag, senior strategist at the Security and Defense Advisory Board of Egypt, perceived Sisi's warning as “very serious.” “Egyptian military intervention in Libya is imminent if pro-GNA forces fail to respect the cease-fire,” he told Al-Monitor.

“President Sisi has thrown a stone into still waters,” Farag said, adding, “His remarks have prompted similar calls from regional and global powers, including from the Pentagon and NATO (which back the government in Tripoli), for respect of the arms embargo and the cease-fire announced by Cairo earlier this month.”

On June 6, Sisi called for foreign fighters to exit Libya and for peace talks to be held in Geneva as part of an initiative to end the nearly decade-long civil war. Cairo's peace plan won approval from Hifter, who was still licking his wounds after his militia had been forced to retreat from Tripoli but was rejected by the GNA, which continued its onslaught against LNA forces, inching closer to Sirte.

An emergency Arab League meeting held on June 23 produced a formal rejection of “all illegitimate foreign intervention” in Libya and echoed Sisi's call for the withdrawal of all foreign forces. The virtual meeting, held at Egypt's behest, also called for peace talks to end the conflict in the war-ravaged country.

Addressing the Arab League ministerial meeting by video conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt will not hesitate to take every possible measure to prevent Libya from falling under the control of terrorist groups. Citing the initiative announced by Sisi, he added that Cairo was involved in various international initiatives and was keen to achieve a political resolution to the crisis.

“It is clear that Egypt would prefer to exhaust all diplomatic channels and if possible avert military intervention. The ball is in the court of the GNA; its actions will decide which path Egypt will take," Farag told Al-Monitor.

The risk of terrorist militias from northern Syria crossing the border from Libya into Egypt is not the only cause for concern. The possibility of Turkey gaining a foothold in eastern Libya close to Egypt's western border and setting up military bases is another reason for Cairo's alarm.

But Farag pointed to another, even greater bone of contention: a maritime deal signed between Turkey and the GNA in November 2019 that gives Turkey rights to natural resources in the disputed zone demarcated in the agreement. Turkey has already announced plans to begin drilling for gas and oil in the coming months with Tripoli's blessing, much to the chagrin of Egypt and other Mediterranean states (namely Cyprus, Greece and Israel), which fear the deal could hinder their plan to export natural gas to Europe through a pipeline or on LNG vessels.
 

Plain Jane

Veteran Member

Hamas Says Planned Israeli Annexation A "Declaration Of War" While IDF Vows 'We're Ready'
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by Tyler Durden
Fri, 06/26/2020 - 18:05
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In late April Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shocked the region in declaring he expects that by middle of summer Israel would move to annex broad swathes of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, as part of Trump's "deal of the century" peace plan. The date consistently referenced in Israeli media reports is July 1st.
“President Trump pledged to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish communities there and in the Jordan Valley,” Netanyahu said. And just this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to an urgent United Nations appeal not to go through with it ahead of the July 1 target date by saying the matter is solely up to Israel to decide.
This as senior Trump aides reportedly met this week to hash out the matter of whether the administration should give the final "green light" - given it appears Tel Aviv is awaiting the moment of unambiguous backing before annexation. This is because it is sure to spark conflict on the ground. Hamas on Thursday said that annexation will be "a declaration of war".
Hamas file image: AFP

Hamas military spokesperson Abu Obeida vowed that Israel will "bitterly regret" such a provocative decision and act of aggressive, Fox News reports. He called it a "declaration of war against the Palestinian people" in a video message directed both at Israel and for supporters. He vowed his Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades will fight as a "loyal guard in defending the Palestinian people and their lands and holy sites."
Previously senior Hamas officials also said any hope for political dialogue or settlement would be forever destroyed. “Palestinians would not accept these plans at all. They are going to resist these plans by all means available. Gaza is not excluded from this,” another official, Basem Naim, said.
Already the planned annexation has resulted in large protests this week in West Bank cities and towns.
It also appears the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are making ready: “The upcoming events can develop into fighting in Gaza,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said as Israel braces for a possible new intifada. The IDF has essentially said 'we're ready to go'.


Former Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have formed a power sharing unity government. Image: JTA-Wikimedia

"I suggest that Hamas leaders remember that they will be the first to pay for any aggression," Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated Thursday. Gantz is also serving as 'alternate PM' as part of the power-sharing agreement with Netanyahu. He further underscored that Israel "will not accept threats".
The Palestinians from the start have rejected the Trump peace plan, given it allows Israel to annex up to 30% to 40% of the West Bank, including all of East Jerusalem, and further the Palestinian Authority (PA) has claimed it was never ultimately invited to the table as an equal part to negotiations, but that Israel has gotten everything it wants without sacrificing anything.
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Posted for fair use.....

Egypt is prepared to go to war in Libya
Egypt is hellbent on ensuring any remnants of the Arab Spring come nowhere near their borders.

By JUDAH WAXELBAUM
JUNE 27, 2020 21:53

After a fourteen-month campaign on Tripoli, forces loyal to the Libyan National Army are in retreat. To those who support the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, this should serve as great news. Since 2012, a power vacuum has consumed Libya following the fall of longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Both sides of the civil war view themselves as the true leaders of Libya. The Government of National Accord is the product of a 2015 UN-brokered agreement, known as the Libyan Political Agreement. This agreement was deemed unacceptable by neighboring Egypt, which originates from their political history with those who make up the GNA.


The GNA has historical ties to the Libyan wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the same organization that participated in the 2011 overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. In 2014, the Egyptian military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood, making them illegal, and installed General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as president.

Egypt under Sisi is heavily invested in the success of the LNA. Other than the United Arab Emirates, Egypt is the most committed supporter of Khalifa Haftar and the LNA. They view any advances by the GNA as a direct threat to their western border. Sisi declared a “redline” in Libya, announcing that Egyptian troops could be sent into Libya if the GNA enters the territory of Sirte in the east or Jufra in the south. Sirte holds symbolic value as it is the home town of Gadaffi.

The GNA views Sisi’s comments as hostile and has no plans to back down. Turkey’s backing of the GNA is what led to this crossroad. Earlier this year, Turkey entered several agreements with the GNA, sending drones and supplies. If tensions do not break soon, we are at risk of a direct conflict between Turkish and Egyptian forces in Libya. Sisi proposed a ceasefire, but the GNA rejected, claiming they will liberate all of Libya. To the west, Algeria has taken a neutral stance, offering to host peace talks. The GNA views Algeria’s neutrality as an endorsement of what they call a coup attempt.

Haftar and the LNA had several opportunities to accept a ceasefire during their campaign on Tripoli. They overplayed their hand, which resulted in Turkey storming in to save their allies in the capitol. The GNA has kicked Haftar’s forces out of Tripoli’s outskirts and the LNA stronghold of Tarhuna.

The GNA has no interest in calling off the fighting right as they appear to have the LNA on the ropes. It should be noted that the LNA still holds control of Libya’s oil fields, therein lies the country’s real authority. Oil is the lifeblood of the Libyan economy; without those reserves, the GNA cannot have a legitimate claim to power.


The LNA’s inability to slow down GNA forces puts the entire region in peril. It was one thing when the LNA had the GNA surrounded in a steady stalemate. Now, Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates cannot sit by and watch their investments go up in flames. Sisi’s red line should not be taken lightly. If Egypt sends troops into Libya to enforce a red line that is 1,000 km. from their border, the GNA has stated they are prepared to engage.

Egypt is hellbent on ensuring any remnants of the Arab Spring come nowhere near their borders. Last month, Russia reduced the presence of Russian mercenaries within the country, meant to convey their disappointment in the LNA. This comes as reports indicate former Syrian guns for hire have arrived in Libya for better pay.

The international community is growing tired of this conflict. Both the US and Russia have echoed the UN’s calls for a political solution to the fighting. It is unclear if a political solution is viable in a civil war where both sides believe the other has no claim. No one wants Libya to become the next Syria, but that ship appears to have already set sail.

Even if one side manages to become victorious, it is hard to imagine stability in Libya’s future. This conflict has the global community on the edge of their seat as the slightest advancement could force a sharp increase in fighting. All we can do now is wait to see if Sisi keeps to his word.

The writer is the western regional vice chair for the College Republican National Committee.
 

Plain Jane

Veteran Member

Russian Mercenaries Have Entered Libya's Largest Oil Field To Block Output
Profile picture for user Tyler Durden
by Tyler Durden
Sat, 06/27/2020 - 12:30
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Despite that Gen. Khalifa Haftar's year-long offensive to take the capital was recently was defeated and ultimately pushed back, his Libyan National Army (LNA) still controls most of the country's major oil fields.
The Benghazi-based commander has for years secured all oil fields especially in the eastern half of the country, even as Libya's official National Oil Corporation (NOC) is based in Tripoli and operates under the aegis of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
Haftar has long used this "oil weapon" by threatening to impose a total blockade on exports. Recall that in late January and into February of this year he did just that, declaring a "catastrophic" blockade of oil fields taking output down to almost zero in order to starve Tripoli and the NOC of vital state revenues, which has continued to now.
Oil production makes up over 90% of Libya's national revenue, via Reuters.

With his dream of seizing Tripoli dashed, thanks in no small part to Turkey's providing significant military support to the GNA, the oil blockade appears to in force more severely than ever, but this time reportedly with Russian help.
Since last year it's been widely reported that Russian mercenary firm, the Kremlin-based Wagner Group, is embedded with pro-Haftar forces. But this latest development via Reuters on Friday will certainly raise eyebrows in Europe and Washington. The NOC is now charging that Russia is meddling in its domestic production:
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Friday Russian and other foreign mercenaries had entered the Sharara oilfield on Thursday to block the resumption of energy exports after a months-long blockade by eastern-based forces.
Most of Libya’s main oilfields are under the control of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which has fought alongside Russian mercenaries according to the United Nations.
This after the NOC tried to restart production at Sharara earlier this month following pro-Tripoli forces pushing the LNA back from the outskirts of the capital, which witnessed fierce fighting for months.
AP image
"While foreign mercenaries continue to be paid vast sums of money to prevent the NOC from carrying out its essential duties, the rest of the Libyan population suffers," corporation chairman, Mustafa Sanalla said.


He called the loss in revenue, which most reports starting months ago estimated at $6 billion as leading to the "disastrous decay of our oil infrastructure."

Kremlin-based Wagner Group security contractors have long been reported on the ground in Syria supporting Assad, and more recently - since last year - even in Libya supporting pro-Haftar forces.


Wagner Group contractors previously photographed in Syria.


Oil stoppage has military implications on the ground, given the GNA's national army relies on the country's oil revenue to purchase weapons via Tripoli's central bank.

It remains further that oil exports make up over 90% of Libya's national revenue, and again Haftar has long held the majority of the nation's oil fields. Trump a year ago even personally "thanked" Haftar for "securing Libya's oil" amid a lawless war-torn situation.

Since then US policy vis-a-vis Haftar has been confused and unclear, with moments of Washington coming close to expressing outright support, while it remains that US officially and formally recognizes the Tripoli GNA under PM Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj.
 

jward

passin' thru
Israeli defence chief says West Bank annexation 'will wait' until after coronavirus crisis

defence minister says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to begin annexing West Bank territory will have to wait due to the country's coronavirus crisis.

Benny Gantz, who also holds the title of alternative prime minister, told his Blue and White Party on Monday that his top priority is helping the country navigate the health and economic crisis stemming from the pandemic.

"Anything unrelated to the battle against the coronavirus will wait," he said.

Netanyahu has said he wants to begin annexing occupied land as soon as this week, in line with President Donald Trump's Mideast plan. A top US envoy is in the country trying to work out a deal with the Israelis.

Gantz's announcement immediately complicated that mission and exposed a rift in the country's new coalition government, which brings together Netanyahu's Likud Party and Gantz's Blue and White.

Earlier Monday, Netanyahu told Likud members that he was working "discretely" with the Americans. "The issue does not depend on Blue and White," he said.

Earlier on Monday, the UN's human rights chief said that Israel's planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank would have "disastrous" consequences for the region.

Read more: Israeli annexation and a history of broken American promises
The warning by Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, added to the growing chorus of international voices urging Israel not to annex territory.


The UN secretary-general, the European Union and key Arab countries have all spoken out against annexation, saying it would violate international law and all but destroy any remaining hopes of establishing a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

"The precise consequences of annexation cannot be predicted," Bachelet said in a statement issued by her office in Geneva. "But they are likely to be disastrous for the Palestinians, for Israel itself, and for the wider region."




Israel's Foreign Ministry accused Bachelet of politicising her office and noted that it froze ties with her office early this year due to what it called her "one-sided" attitude.

"It is not surprising that she decided today to join the Palestinian campaign against the American peace plan, and to publish declarations before any decision has been made," the ministry said in a statement.

The Trump plan, unveiled in January, envisions leaving some 30 percent of the West Bank under permanent Israeli control, while granting the Palestinians limited autonomy in the remainder of the area.

The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, for a fully independent state.

Israel captured all three areas in the 1967 war, though it withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Netanyahu, a strong supporter of Trump, has been unswayed by the international criticism. He says the supportive Trump presidency has provided a rare opportunity to redraw the map and annex Israel's scores of settlements, as well as the strategic Jordan Valley. He has pledged to move forward as soon as July 1, seeking to take action well before the US presidential election in November.



Comment: 'True to form, Israel will carry out annexation in stages'


In a speech to evangelical Christian supporters of Israel late Sunday, Netanyahu said Trump's plan "finally puts to rest the two-state illusion" and would "advance peace".

"President Trump's plan doesn't really change the reality on the ground. It recognises the reality on the ground," he said.

Gantz has appeared to be more cautious. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have been meeting with White House envoy Avi Berkowitz and the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to work on a final map outlining which areas will be annexed.

The talks were continuing after a series of meetings in Washington last week ended inconclusively.

The plan has also come under criticism from West Bank settler leaders, who believe it does not go far enough and say that any plan that envisions even a watered-down Palestinian state must be opposed.

Israeli media have reported that Netanyahu is considering scaling back his plans and is expected to annex just a small number of settlements in a largely symbolic move.

But in her statement, Bachelet warned that even a small annexation would create a "highly combustible mix".

She said deepening Israel's control of West Bank land would likely harm Palestinian freedom of movement, turn Palestinian population centers into "enclaves" and clear the way for Israel to "illegally" expropriate Palestinian land.

"The shockwaves of annexation will last for decades, and will be extremely damaging to Israel, as well as to the Palestinians," Bachelet warned. "However there is still time to reverse this decision."

Dozens of Jewish legal scholars, meanwhile, sent a letter to the Israeli government urging Israel to drop the annexation plan.

The letter, sponsored by the Global Jewish Coalition, an umbrella group of liberal pro-Israel Jewish groups, said annexation would "fundamentally breach" international law and expose Israel to "new and grave dangers."

photos at source
posted for fair use
 

jward

passin' thru
Jordan said to warn Israel of harsh response to even minimal annexation
Amman has reportedly made clear to Jerusalem, US and European countries that it opposes any sovereignty move; Trump envoy Berkowitz to meet Monday with Netanyahu, Gantz, Ashkenazi
By TOI staff Today, 12:45 am 10

Jordan's King Abdullah delivers his speech at the European parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France, January 15, 2020. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)
Jordan's King Abdullah delivers his speech at the European parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France, January 15, 2020. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)



Jordan has reportedly made clear to Israel that it will not accept even a limited annexation of West Bank land and will respond to any such move in the same way it would react to the unilateral annexation of all settlements and the Jordan Valley, as initially intended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Jordan has conveyed this uncompromising message to Jerusalem via several channels, Channel 13 reported Sunday evening, citing unnamed Israeli officials.
The report said one of those channels was a meeting last week between King Abdullah II and the visiting Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who asked him how Amman would react to a limited Israeli annexation of several settlements or of settlement blocs from July 1.
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The report said the Hashemite Kingdom has stressed this point also to the United States and to several European countries.
A similar stance has been expressed recently by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has threatened a harsh response if Israel annexes even an “inch.”
Jordan has threatened to abrogate or downgrade its 1994 peace treaty with Israel if the annexation goes ahead and Abdullah is said to be so infuriated at Israel’s intentions that he has stopped accepting calls from Netanyahu.
Jordan is one of two Arab countries that have official diplomatic ties with Israel, along with Egypt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, center, and then-Tourism Minister Yariv Levin during a meeting to discuss mapping extension of Israeli sovereignty to areas of the West Bank, held in the Ariel settlement, February 24, 2020. (David Azagury/US Embassy Jerusalem)

Under a coalition deal between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz signed last month, the government can pursue annexation of all 132 settlements and the Jordan Valley — the 30 percent of the West Bank allocated to Israel under the Trump administration’s peace plan — from July 1. The plan also conditionally provides for a Palestinian state on the remaining 70% of the territory.

Avi Berkowitz, left, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, leaves the US mission to the United Nations after attending a luncheon for members of the Security Council, February 7, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

There have been reports that Israel is considering a more limited annexation move to claim just settlement areas close to Jerusalem. Ynet reported that one idea discussed is adding the city of Ma’ale Adumim to the Jerusalem municipal area.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has said that Israel will not annex the Jordan Valley, according to a television report last Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday that Netanyahu, Gantz and Ashkenazi would meet Monday with Avi Berkowitz, US President Donald Trump’s peace envoy, to discuss annexation moves.
Gantz is expected to tell Berkowitz any Israeli move would have to be the first step of a wider diplomatic move that fully accords with the principles of the Trump plan, including an eventual Palestinian state, Channel 13 reported Sunday night.


Vision for Peace Conceptual Map published by the Trump Administration on January 28, 2020.

The Trump envoy flew to Israel on Friday after the White House held three days of talks on whether to back annexation, with a US official saying that no final decision was made. US Ambassador David Friedman, who flew back to Washington for the annexation meetings, returned to Israel with Berkowitz along with the National Security Council’s Israel and Palestinian affairs director Scott Leith, who also sits on the joint mapping committee tasked with turning the “conceptual” maps included in January’s Trump plan into highly detailed territorial maps.
Channel 13 said Berkowitz held a first session of talks with Netanyahu on Saturday night. It said the assessment in Israel is that the US “is hitting the brakes rather than gas,” and would prefer Netanyahu to restrict himself to a “limited” move and to “weigh the implications.”

The Dar al-Hayat Arabic newspaper claimed Friday that Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner had advised Netanyahu not to hurry ahead with unilateral annexation, because of the consequences for Israeli ties in the region. There was no confirmation of the report, which quoted an unnamed American official.
The Times of Israel reported earlier this month that the White House was “highly unlikely” to green light Israeli annexation by July 1, that more work was needed on the mapping of the territories, and that Berkowitz and Kushner would likely first come to Jerusalem to discuss outstanding issues.
Trump himself was not reported to have participated in last week’s White House meetings. His adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Wednesday the US president would soon have a “big announcement” about Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank.


US President Donald Trump, left, turns to give a pen to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, at the White House in Washington, March 25, 2019 after signing the official proclamation formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. From left, White House adviser Jared Kushner, then US special envoy Jason Greenblatt, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AP/Susan Walsh)

Concerned about the collateral damage that could follow from allowing Israel to move ahead with its plan, Washington is reportedly considering backing the annexation of only a handful of settlements close to Jerusalem.
“Ultimately, as the team approaches this thought of annexation, the main thing going through our heads is, ‘Does this in fact help advance the cause of peace?’ And therefore that is what will help drive a lot of the discussion,” a senior Trump administration official told Reuters in a report last week.
The prospect of unilateral annexation has been condemned internationally, with European and Arab states, as well as senior members of the US Democratic Party, warning the Israeli government against the move.


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photos & maps at source
Jordan said to warn Israel of harsh response to even minimal annexation
 

danielboon

Has No Life - Lives on TB
View: https://mobile.twitter.com/AFP/status/1277656755082792962

Jordan said to warn Israel of harsh response to even minimal annexation
Amman has reportedly made clear to Jerusalem, US and European countries that it opposes any sovereignty move; Trump envoy Berkowitz to meet Monday with Netanyahu, Gantz, Ashkenazi
By TOI staff Today, 12:45 am 10

Jordan's King Abdullah delivers his speech at the European parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France, January 15, 2020. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)'s King Abdullah delivers his speech at the European parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France, January 15, 2020. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)
Jordan's King Abdullah delivers his speech at the European parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France, January 15, 2020. (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)



Jordan has reportedly made clear to Israel that it will not accept even a limited annexation of West Bank land and will respond to any such move in the same way it would react to the unilateral annexation of all settlements and the Jordan Valley, as initially intended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Jordan has conveyed this uncompromising message to Jerusalem via several channels, Channel 13 reported Sunday evening, citing unnamed Israeli officials.
The report said one of those channels was a meeting last week between King Abdullah II and the visiting Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who asked him how Amman would react to a limited Israeli annexation of several settlements or of settlement blocs from July 1.
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The report said the Hashemite Kingdom has stressed this point also to the United States and to several European countries.
A similar stance has been expressed recently by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has threatened a harsh response if Israel annexes even an “inch.”
Jordan has threatened to abrogate or downgrade its 1994 peace treaty with Israel if the annexation goes ahead and Abdullah is said to be so infuriated at Israel’s intentions that he has stopped accepting calls from Netanyahu.
Jordan is one of two Arab countries that have official diplomatic ties with Israel, along with Egypt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, center, and then-Tourism Minister Yariv Levin during a meeting to discuss mapping extension of Israeli sovereignty to areas of the West Bank, held in the Ariel settlement, February 24, 2020. (David Azagury/US Embassy Jerusalem)

Under a coalition deal between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz signed last month, the government can pursue annexation of all 132 settlements and the Jordan Valley — the 30 percent of the West Bank allocated to Israel under the Trump administration’s peace plan — from July 1. The plan also conditionally provides for a Palestinian state on the remaining 70% of the territory.

Avi Berkowitz, left, US President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, leaves the US mission to the United Nations after attending a luncheon for members of the Security Council, February 7, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

There have been reports that Israel is considering a more limited annexation move to claim just settlement areas close to Jerusalem. Ynet reported that one idea discussed is adding the city of Ma’ale Adumim to the Jerusalem municipal area.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has said that Israel will not annex the Jordan Valley, according to a television report last Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday that Netanyahu, Gantz and Ashkenazi would meet Monday with Avi Berkowitz, US President Donald Trump’s peace envoy, to discuss annexation moves.
Gantz is expected to tell Berkowitz any Israeli move would have to be the first step of a wider diplomatic move that fully accords with the principles of the Trump plan, including an eventual Palestinian state, Channel 13 reported Sunday night.


Vision for Peace Conceptual Map published by the Trump Administration on January 28, 2020.

The Trump envoy flew to Israel on Friday after the White House held three days of talks on whether to back annexation, with a US official saying that no final decision was made. US Ambassador David Friedman, who flew back to Washington for the annexation meetings, returned to Israel with Berkowitz along with the National Security Council’s Israel and Palestinian affairs director Scott Leith, who also sits on the joint mapping committee tasked with turning the “conceptual” maps included in January’s Trump plan into highly detailed territorial maps.
Channel 13 said Berkowitz held a first session of talks with Netanyahu on Saturday night. It said the assessment in Israel is that the US “is hitting the brakes rather than gas,” and would prefer Netanyahu to restrict himself to a “limited” move and to “weigh the implications.”

The Dar al-Hayat Arabic newspaper claimed Friday that Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner had advised Netanyahu not to hurry ahead with unilateral annexation, because of the consequences for Israeli ties in the region. There was no confirmation of the report, which quoted an unnamed American official.
The Times of Israel reported earlier this month that the White House was “highly unlikely” to green light Israeli annexation by July 1, that more work was needed on the mapping of the territories, and that Berkowitz and Kushner would likely first come to Jerusalem to discuss outstanding issues.
Trump himself was not reported to have participated in last week’s White House meetings. His adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Wednesday the US president would soon have a “big announcement” about Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank.


US President Donald Trump, left, turns to give a pen to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, at the White House in Washington, March 25, 2019 after signing the official proclamation formally recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. From left, White House adviser Jared Kushner, then US special envoy Jason Greenblatt, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AP/Susan Walsh)

Concerned about the collateral damage that could follow from allowing Israel to move ahead with its plan, Washington is reportedly considering backing the annexation of only a handful of settlements close to Jerusalem.
“Ultimately, as the team approaches this thought of annexation, the main thing going through our heads is, ‘Does this in fact help advance the cause of peace?’ And therefore that is what will help drive a lot of the discussion,” a senior Trump administration official told Reuters in a report last week.
The prospect of unilateral annexation has been condemned internationally, with European and Arab states, as well as senior members of the US Democratic Party, warning the Israeli government against the move.


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Jordan said to warn Israel of harsh response to even minimal annexation
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Zagdid

Veteran Member

Egypt wants Russia to accelerate its air defense deliveries to Libya amid new Turkish offensive: media
By News Desk- 2020-07-02

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – Egyptian and Russian military sites said that Cairo asked Moscow to speed up deliveries of coastal defense systems, specifically the Bastion, to the Libyan National Army (LNA).

According to RT Arabic, due to Turkish activity off the coast of Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, Egypt is forced to take urgent action.

Citing military experts, the report said Egypt plans to accelerate the acquisition of these anti-ship missiles in order to ward off any Turkish naval assault.

The sources said that the Bastion system is able to protect the Egyptian coast with a length of more than 600 km from potential enemy landings, as the complex is deployed to combat sites within only five minutes.

The media report noted that Egypt is enhancing its naval capabilities in light of the challenges it faces in the Mediterranean region, especially after the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak said, citing sources close to the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, in mid-June that Turkey was planning to establish a naval base in the Libyan city of Misrata.

It is noteworthy that military sources confirmed to RT earlier that Egypt had already contracted the Bastion system in 2013, where the military source confirmed that one system can protect 600 km of coastline and secure a sea area of 100,000 square km, and its batteries can include 18 vehicles.
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
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Libya crisis: France suspends Nato mission role amid Turkey row

  • 2 July 2020
France has temporarily pulled out of a Nato security operation amid a major row with Turkey.

The defence ministry said France had suspended its role in Operation Sea Guardian, accusing Turkey of violating an arms embargo against Libya.

It comes weeks after Turkish ships allegedly targeted a French warship in the Mediterranean - something Ankara strongly denies.

The Nato allies are thought to support different sides in Libya's civil war.

Riven by violence since Col Muammar Gaddafi was deposed by Nato-backed forces in 2011, the oil-rich nation is a key transit point for migrants heading to Europe from Africa.

Currently, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) is battling against the forces of Gen Khalifa Haftar which control large parts of the east and south of Libya.

Why is France pulling out of the operation?
French relations with Turkey have become increasingly strained in recent months because of the Libya crisis, Turkey's role in northern Syria, and also drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

But the key incident came on 10 June, when French frigate Courbet went to inspect a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship, Cirkin, off the coast of Libya, to check if it was smuggling arms.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Turkey allegedly targeted the Courbet three times with its weapons systems
At the time the French ship was taking part in Nato's Operation Sea Guardian, which among other things maintains freedom of navigation and plays a "maritime counter-terrorism" role.

What happened next is still under dispute. According to French defence forces, Turkish ships escorting the Cirkin - which they said was carrying medical supplies - acted aggressively to the Courbet, and even targeted it with their weapons systems three times.

Turkey denies the French allegation, saying the interaction was friendly. France has since asked Nato to investigate the incident.

Both countries have traded insults in recent weeks. On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of "historic and criminal responsibility" in the Libyan conflict, "for a country which claims to be a Nato member".

Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said on Tuesday that France had been "destructive" in the North African nation, and accused the country of trying "to increase Russia's presence in Libya". On Thursday, he asked France to apologise for its allegations about the Courbet.

Now France has suspended its role in Operation Sea Guardian. "It doesn't make sense to keep our assets... with allies who do not respect the embargo," a French defence official reportedly said.


Turkey is fast becoming a stone in Nato's shoe.

This latest row with France is only the latest issue to raise questions about Turkey's position within the alliance. Tensions over its approach to Libya come after similar differences between Ankara and key allies over its interventionist approach in Syria. Turkey has even held up approval of Baltic defence plans as part of this row.

Then there is its decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defence missiles which has resulted in its suspension from the US F-35 fighter programme. And to cap it all there are wider tensions in the Mediterranean with its long-standing rival and fellow Nato-member, Greece.

Turkey is pushing at the boundaries of what is acceptable within the alliance. But given the distractions of the Covid-19 pandemic and President Trump's own ambivalent attitude towards Nato, such tensions are likely to simmer on.

What's the background?
Both sides in Libya's civil war have international support. Turkey, Italy and Qatar all side with the GNA in Tripoli, while Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates back Gen Haftar.

France, meanwhile, is also thought to back Gen Haftar, although leaders in Paris have repeatedly denied this.

A UN arms embargo is in place to stop men and materiel flowing into the country, but it has had little effect.

Turkey agreed a military cooperation deal with the GNA in 2019, and deployed troops to the country in January.

Last month, GNA forces finally regained full control of Tripoli thanks to greater help from Turkey. Gen Haftar has reportedly withdrawn his forces from the city's suburbs.

A UN report leaked in May said that hundreds of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group - run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of President Putin - were operating in Libya in support of Gen Haftar.

There are reports the Wagner Group is evacuating from the country, although these have not been confirmed.
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Hummm.....

Posted for fair use.....

Erdogan in new bid to cash in on Libyan war

Updated 02 July 2020
Arab News
July 02, 2020 02:44

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is dispatching a high-powered business and political delegation to Libya to cash in on opportunities when the civil war ends.

Company chiefs and Erdogan allies are expected to arrive in Libya in the next two weeks to seek deals in oil exploration, construction, banking and manufacturing.

Turkey has prolonged the conflict in Libya by intervening on the side of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, reversing a 15-month offensive by Libyan National Army (LNA) forces led by eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar.

With help from mercenaries supplied by Turkey, the GNA repelled an assault on Tripoli and pushed Haftar’s troops back. Fighting continues near the city of Sirte, but Erdogan has made it increasingly clear that he expects economic benefits from supporting the GNA, and a political delegation has already visited Tripoli in June.


SPOTLIGHT: With foothold in Libya, Erdogan’s Turkey eyes influence and energy riches


Sources in Ankara said a “committee” of business representatives would go to Libya and establish a business plan, with an initial focus on meeting Libya’s energy needs and restoring its infrastructure.

Turkish state lenders will help set up Libya’s banking system and regulator, and work is being done to funnel payments through Turkey for key Libyan imports, one official said.

Companies in Turkey have long been active in Libya, setting up power grids and building homes. The backlog of building contracts alone amounts to $16 billion. But projects were interrupted by the civil war, and contractors have been unable to travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With 10 hours of power cuts a day in Libya, Turkish power company Karadeniz Holding is in talks with Tripoli to sell 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Turkish exports to Libya are $2 billion a year, and imports are $350 million.

Ryan Bohl, a regional analyst with the Stratfor geopolitical consultancy, told Arab News that investment and economic aid to Libya would be of little direct benefit to Turkey, but could boost Erdogan’s soft power.

“They will be drains on Turkey’s dwindling reserves at home, and as a result, Turkey is likely to limit the amount they invest as they focus on economic problems at home,” he said.

“Investments like these … require stability to take root and be effective. Right now, such investments are a risk, in that they may get caught up in the fighting, or supplies may be disrupted as front lines in the conflict change.

“It is a long game, hoping to build up soft power that lets Turkey maintain stature in Libya for many years to come, but it’s a potential risk that these investments simply get eaten up in fighting or instability before they really have a chance to become productive.”
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Hummm......

Posted for fair use.....

Egypt's intention to arm Libyan tribes to end up in failure due to historical hostilities
by Anadolu Agency

Jul 02, 2020 9:00 pm

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's scathing remarks on the situation in Libya have added a new dimension to the ongoing crisis.

Last month, el-Sissi said that Libya's Sirte and al-Jufra air bases were a "red line" and that he would arm Libyan tribes in his country to fight alongside the ranks of East Libya-based warlord Khalifa Haftar.

He also suggested that Cairo could launch "external military missions" into Libya "if required," saying that "any direct intervention in Libya has already become legitimate internationally."

Plans have been made to settle Libyan-origin bedouin tribes, who live in the northwest of Egypt, in Libya, and to increase the population density in the east of the country.
However, historical hostilities among tribes of Libyan origin show that el-Sissi's plan is unlikely to be implemented.

There are many Libyan-origin tribes in Egypt. The largest is known as the Awlad Ali tribe, with a population of over a million. This tribe were forced to flee from Libya to Egypt in 1890, after facing defeat in a war that broke out between the Awlad Ali and Abidat tribes in Libya's Brega region.

Most members of the Awlad Ali settled in the Egyptian city of Marsa Matruh, located between the city of delta city of Alexandria and the al-Sellum district on the Libyan border.

The coexistence of these two tribes is considered a weak possibility due to historical tensions.

The United Arab Emirates and Egypt are planning to substitute Haftar with Aguila Saleh Issa, speaker of the pro-Haftar House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk. However, Issa, who backs Haftar, belongs to the Abidat tribe.

Therefore, Awlad Ali tribe, which mostly resides in the regions close to the Libyan border, would not be expected to send its members to Libya to fight in the ranks of Haftar.

Other Libyan-origin tribes living in Egypt include the Barasa, Fawaid, Hanadi, Furjan, Bahja, Jamiat, Qatan, Jabaliye, Rimah, Habbun, Awlad Sheikh, Jalalat, Majabira and Al-Jawazi.

Pasha Yusuf Karamanlı (1795-1832), the most famous figure among the Karamanli dynasty which ruled Tripoli from 1711 to 1835, was responsible for exiting the latter tribe. According to Egyptian sources, members of the Al-Jawazi tribe mostly settled in Zagazig and Tanta in the country's northeast.

Members of the Al-Jawazi tribe do not see themselves as bedouins, as they are well integrated into Egyptian society.

Libyan-origin tribes would probably refrain from taking part in the war in Libya on the side of Haftar, as this move would mean "helping those tribes which exiled their ancestors from their lands."
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Posted for fair use.....

World
Iraq sets up border posts to try to prevent Turkish advance

SALAR SALIM and SAMYA KULLAB
Associated PressJuly 3, 2020, 8:02 AM PDT


In this photo taken Friday, June 19, 2020, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, fright wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, visits Turkish troops at the border with Iraq, in Hakkari province, Turkey. Turkish army's operation continues after it said Wednesday it has airlifted troops for a cross-border ground operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

In this photo taken Friday, June 19, 2020, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, fright wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, visits Turkish troops at the border with Iraq, in Hakkari province, Turkey. Turkish army's operation continues after it said Wednesday it has airlifted troops for a cross-border ground operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi troops were enforcing positions along the border with Turkey, officials said Friday, to prevent Turkish forces from advancing deeper into Iraqi territory after two weeks of airstrikes as Ankara continues to target Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Security officials said Ankara has established at least a dozen posts inside Iraqi territory as part of a military campaign to rout members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, who Turkey says have safe havens in northern Iraq. The airborne-and-land campaign, dubbed “Operation Claw-Tiger,” began June 17 when Turkey airlifted troops into northern Iraq.

Since then, at least six Iraqi civilians have been killed as Turkish jets pound PKK targets, and several villages in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region have been evacuated.

The invading Turkish troops set up posts in the Zakho district in northern province of Dohuk, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) inside Iraqi territory, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the military operations.

Zerevan Musa, mayor of Darkar, said there were five Turkish posts close to his town, including two on the nearby Mt. Khankiri. He said Turkish airstrikes have hit Sharanish and Banka villages in the area.

“We demand from both sides, the Turkish government and the PKK, to keep their fight away from us,” said Qadir Sharanshi, a resident from Sharanshi village. He said his village has been hit several times.

Iraqi border guards erected two posts along the Khankiri range, said Brig. Delir Zebari, commander of the First Brigade of the Iraqi Border Guards, tasked with securing a 245-kilometer (153-mile) stretch of border territory.

Speaking from the brigade base, he told The Associated Press that his troops' task is to “eliminate attacks on civilians in the area."

Turkey regularly carries out air and ground attacks against the PKK in northern Iraq. It says neither the Iraqi government nor the regional Iraqi Kurdish administration have taken measures to combat the group. The recent incursion into Iraqi territory has drawn condemnation from Baghdad, which has summoned Ankara's ambassador to Iraq twice since the campaign was launched.

Turkey maintains that until the Iraqi government take actions against the PKK, it will continue to target the Kurdish group, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union for its decades-long insurgency within Turkey.

Turkey's latest campaign poses a dilemma for the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, which relies on Turkey for oil exports through a pipeline running from Iraq's Kirkuk province to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Kaiwan Kawa, a 30-year-old store owner displaced with his family from the area, said a Turkish airstrike last month struck his mini market in the village of Kuna Masi in Sulaymaniyah province. The airstrike targeted a pickup truck with PKK members who had stopped by his store to buy some eggs. At least one of the fighters was killed, his body torn to pieces, Kawa said.

Kawa's wife, Payman Talib, 31, lost a leg in the bombing while their 6-year-old son, Hezhwan, had shrapnel wounds to the head. Doctors say it's too dangerous to remove the shrapnel.

Kawa said he had opened the shop just a month before. Now he can never go back.

“I will always carry the fear in my heart,” he said. “It will never be the same.”
 

Zagdid

Veteran Member

Jets hit Libya's al-Watiya airbase where Turkey may build base, sources say
JULY 5, 2020 / 4:40 AM / UPDATED 7 HOURS AGO Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Warplanes struck overnight at an airbase that was recently recaptured by Libya’s internationally recognised government from eastern forces with help from Turkey, a military source with the eastern forces and a resident nearby said.

The strikes were carried out by “unknown aircraft”, the military source with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said.

A resident at the nearby town of Zintan said explosions were heard from the direction of the base.

Watiya’s recapture in May by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli marked the start of a sudden collapse of the LNA’s 14-month assault to seize the capital and its retreat along the coast to the new frontlines.

Turkish support was vital to the GNA in turning back the LNA offensive with advanced air defences and drone strikes that targeted Khalifa’s supply lines and troop build-ups.

A Turkish source said last month that Turkey was in talks with the GNA to establish two bases in Libya, one of them at Watiya, the most important airbase in western Libya.

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was in Tripoli for meetings with the GNA on Friday and Saturday and Akar swore to do all that was necessary to help it, a Turkish defence ministry statement said.

The LNA is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt. During its advance towards Tripoli last year, the LNA was assisted by Egyptian and UAE airstrikes.

Last month, the United States said Russia had sent at least 14 MiG29 and Su-24 warplanes to an LNA base via Syria, where their Russian airforce markings were removed.

Turkish involvement in Libya has also angered France and Greece and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned of new sanctions on Ankara.

The GNA and LNA are now mobilising forces at the new frontlines between the cities of Misrata and Sirte. Egypt has warned that any Turkish-backed effort to take Sirte, which the LNA captured in January, could lead its army to directly intervene.
 
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