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  1. #81
    Media Editor Khanda's Avatar
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    Re: ISIS beheads 21 Coptic Christians in Libya

    Such a tragedy. The country has been demolished.

  2. #82
    Senior Member kashifraza's Avatar
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    Re: Libya conflict

    Islamic State fighters in Libya battle militia near Sirte



    Fighting has been raging in Libya between Islamic State (IS) fighters and a militia alliance from the west of the country, near the city of Sirte.

    A spokesman for militia brigades told the BBC that two of their men had been killed in the clashes.

    Jihadists affiliated to Islamic State seized government buildings and a state radio station in Sirte last month.

    Their main base is in eastern Libya where the elected government and army have battled extremists for months.

    In February, a video was released appearing to show the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped by IS militants in Sirte.

    The country has been beset by chaos since the overthrow and death of Col Muammar Gaddafi, with powerful militia alliances in the east and west fighting for control of territory and resources.

    Militia forces and the self-proclaimed government ruling western Libya deny IS has a significant presence in Libya, saying the fighters are former Gaddafi loyalists.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31892764

  3. #83
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    Re: Libya conflict

    Proxy Wars, Islam-ism and petro fat cats



    Leaked Emirati Emails Could Threaten Peace Talks in Libya

    By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
    NOV. 12, 2015


    CAIRO — The United Arab Emirates was shipping weapons to favored belligerents in Libya over the summer in violation of an international arms embargo while simultaneously offering a highly paid job to the United Nations diplomat drafting a peace accord there, leaked Emirati emails show.

    The leaked correspondence is threatening to undermine months of Libyan talks by tarring the diplomat with an apparent conflict of interest. The emails also open a new window into the hidden and contradictory machinations of regional players like the United Arab Emirates that have helped inflame the fighting even as their diplomats say they support a peaceful solution.

    The fact of the matter is that the U.A.E. violated the U.N. Security Council Resolution on Libya and continues to do so,” Ahmed al-Qasimi, a senior Emirati diplomat, wrote in an email on Aug. 4 to Lana Nusseibeh, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United Nations.

    The emails, disclosed here for the first time, were provided to The New York Times through an intermediary critical of the country’s muscular foreign policy. Representatives of the Emirati government declined to comment on the leaks.

    The United Arab Emirates has led a campaign against Islamist movements around the region, backing the military ouster of the Islamist president in Egypt and supporting the anti-Islamist factions in the Libyan civil war. That push has also led the U.A.E. into a proxy battle for influence against its Persian Gulf neighbor, Qatar. Doha has backed Islamist-aligned groups in both Libya and Egypt, where the Qataris say they are opposing a return to old-style authoritarianism.

    In the emails, the Emirati diplomats frankly acknowledge their government was shipping arms to its Libyan allies in violation of the United Nations embargo — a policy they say is overseen at the “head of state level” — and they strategize about hiding the shipments from a United Nations monitoring panel.

    Answering questions and complying with procedures required by the United Nations resolutionwill expose how deeply we are involved in Libya,” Mr. Qasimi wrote, adding, “We should try to provide a cover to lessen the damage.”

    Western intelligence services and diplomats have known for some time that the United Arab Emirates and Qatar had provided weapons to rival clients in Libya since the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011, and the proxy war between the two tiny, oil-rich monarchies has helped inflame the fighting. But reports this spring of a rapprochement between the Persian Gulf rivals had suggested they might finally have stopped arming the conflicting sides; both publicly supported United Nations-sponsored peace talks.

    The leaked emails, though, suggest that the United Arab Emirates’ arms shipments continued at least through August, even as a United Nations mediator, Bernardino Léon, was completing a proposed agreement between the two sides to form a power-sharing unity government.

    Other leaked emails, first reported in The Guardian newspaper and provided to The Times, show that while Mr. Léon was drafting the agreement, the Emiratis were also in the process of hiring Mr. Léon as the $50,000-a-month director general of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, creating a potential conflict of interest. Mr. Léon received a formal offer in June and negotiated throughout the summer over the details of his $96,000-a-year housing allowance.


    I am flying today for 24 hours to Abu Dhabi,” Mr. Léon wrote to a senior Emirati official, Sultan al-Jaber, in an email dated Sept. 6 and provided to The Times.

    “Tomorrow I will work with E.D.A. colleagues and will be as always at your disposal should you need anything from me,” he said.

    United Nations officials were aware of the potential conflict. In another email, dated Aug. 27, and not previously disclosed, Jeffrey Feltman, under secretary general for political affairs and a former American diplomat, wrote to senior Emirati leaders asking them to allow Mr. Léon to stay on as mediator for a few more weeks in the hope of signing an agreement.

    (If needed) I could ask the secretary general to call you to make the request,Mr. Feltman suggested.

    But Mr. Léon’s new job was not announced publicly or disclosed to the Libyan parties to the talks until this month. Libyans aligned with the faction opposed by the Emiratis angrily accused Mr. Léon of favoritism and bias, casting new doubts on his proposals as a successor takes over the talks.

    “It is a real scandal,” said Wolfram Lacher, a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs who studies Libya. “He had to know that taking up this position would cause damage to the negotiations or, even if an agreement had been signed, this would have caused retrospective damage to the agreement. He obviously didn’t care about that.”

    Mr. Léon has said that the Emirati job did not influence his mediation
    .

    The optics may not be right. The appearance may not be right,” he told reporters last week at the United Nations, but said he followed the organization’s rules. United Nations guidelines require mediators to recuse themselves only, he said, “if they feel unable to maintain a balanced and impartial approach.”

    But the leaked emails about the depth of the United Arab Emirates’ engagement in the fight, including continuing to furnish weapons at the same time that it negotiated with Mr. Léon, have compounded the apparent conflict of interest.

    Other leaked Emirati emails discuss pushback from Washington over other weapons shipments, hinting at a broader portrait of the United Arab Emirates’ arms business.

    An internal email dated Sept. 30 refers to formal diplomatic notes delivered by Ethan A. Goldrich, the deputy chief of the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi. The email says that American officials had been complaining since at least February that the Emiratis had violated international missile control agreements by sending Egypt surveillance drones — the United 40 unmanned aerial vehicle — made by the Abu Dhabi-based Adcom.

    Such a transfer “would trigger mandatory sanctions review under U.S. law, which could result in sanctions against U.A.E. entities,” the email says, adding that the same laws would require the State Department to disclose its findings to Congress, as well.

    The Americans had further warned that the same Emirati firm was selling drones to other countries outside the missile control agreements, “including Russia,” something that could also prompt sanctions and jeopardize continuing sales of American technology to the United Arab Emirates, according to a summary included in the emails.

    A separate note protested that an Emirates-based company identified as Morrison Commodities was violating the arms embargo on Libya, possibly in cooperation with a Saudi firm called Saudi International Military Services. “The U.S. urges the U.A.E. to investigate this development and take immediate measures to halt any such transfers,” according to the summary.

    It is not immediately clear how the Emirates responded. Other leaked correspondence showed that at least some Emirati diplomats took seriously American complaints that another Emirati company, Al Mutlaq Technology, was also violating international sanctions by buying $100 million in weapons from North Korea through a business called Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, or Komid.

    The emails include a formal document protesting that transaction that was presented to the United Arab Emirates ambassador in Washington by American diplomats at the State Department. Marked “secret,” the document reported that the weapons under discussion as part of the North Korean deal included “machine guns, rifles and rockets.”

    An Emirati intermediary was “seeking a vessel and/or charter aircraft to transport the goods in the immediate future,” the document noted, adding that Mutlaq and the intermediary “have a very long history of dealing with North Korean arms trading firms like Komid.”

    In an email dated June 3, Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador to Washington, wrote that he had been summoned to the State Department “once again” over the North Korean weapons deals.

    Needless to say, any dealings with North Korea are taken VERY seriously and this has tremendous negative potential,” he wrote to Maj. Gen. Fares al Mazrouei, an assistant foreign minister for security and military affairs. “I suggest you look into this issue promptly.”

  4. #84
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    Re: Libya conflict

    How the Gulf Arab Rivalry Tore Libya Apart

    Qatar and the UAE have deadly opposing interests in the North African state.
    Giorgio CafieroDaniel Wagner
    December 11, 2015



    When the Qaddafi regime fell in 2011, centralized power quickly dissipated and Libya fell into chaos. A wide range of armed groups asserted control over large swathes of territory in the oil-rich nation without any effective central authority strong enough to exert control of the entire country. Since then, Libya has become a battleground for outside powers with competing interests and conflicting visions.

    Several weeks after losing the July 2014 election, a Muslim Brotherhood–led coalition (“Libya Dawn”) seized the capital city of Tripoli. The Libya Dawn fighters established an administration (the New General National Congress) pushing the nation’s UN-recognized government into Tobruk, situated along the Mediterranean coast near Egypt. Despite UN efforts to broker peace, forces loyal to Libya’s Tripoli- and Tobruk-based governments remain in conflict. The fact that both sides have foreign sponsors has unquestionably prolonged and intensified the country’s multitude of problems.

    Two Gulf Arab states, the UAE and Qatar, which both played pivotal roles in the Libyan uprising as sponsors of anti-Qaddafi rebels, have emerged as rivals in this grander geopolitical struggle. The UAE, along with Russia and Egypt, backs the Tobruk-based government; Qatar, along with Turkey and Sudan, supports the Islamist-led government in Tripoli. Abu Dhabi and Doha’s proxy war in Libya is illustrative of a division within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is proving highly influential in shaping Libya’s post-Qaddafi political order.

    At the heart of the Emirati-Qatari rivalry in Libya lie sensitive political issues for the Gulf monarchs. Specifically, how should the Council’s ruling families react to the rise of grassroots Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan), which promote democratic institutions and espouse social justice concerns across the region? Naturally, the Gulf Arab monarchs were unsettled by the potential for anti-government activism in countries like Egypt to add momentum to opposition groups in the GCC. Yet, as the Muslim Brotherhood’s various political wings gained power in multiple countries through post–Arab Awakening elections, the Gulf monarchs reacted differently to the political apertures that Islamists secured in 2011 and 2012.

    On one end of the spectrum, the UAE has for years conducted a staunchly anti-Islamist foreign policy. Since 2011, Abu Dhabi has invested substantial resources in efforts to counter the Muslim Brotherhood, most notably in Egypt and Libya. On the other end, Qatar has sponsored Muslim Brotherhood branches across the Arab world, viewing such factions as vehicles capable of spreading Doha’s influence and extending its geopolitical leverage. Saudi Arabia, the Council’s powerhouse, sits somewhere in the middle. The kingdom has aligned with the UAE in Egypt, where Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have invested billions of dollars in the Egyptian military since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. But in Syria, the Saudis have worked with Doha to back Sunni Islamist rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime.

    Historical Context

    Abu Dhabi’s interest in countering the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the region is rooted in its concerns about the movement’s potential to challenge the status quo in the UAE’s poorer emirates, where the local Muslim Brotherhood branch has maintained a support base for decades.

    During the 1950s and 1960s, Egypt’s Arab nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood; many of its members fled to the Gulf. After the UAE gained independence in 1971, many of these Brotherhood members, in their capacity as educated and upwardly mobile members of society, gained prominent positions of power in the Emirates’ public and private sectors. They also held influence in the nation’s judiciary and education system. In 1974 they established Al-Islah, an official NGO which is understood to be the Muslim Brotherhood’s Emirati branch. By the 1990s, UAE authorities grew unsettled by Al-Islah’s increasingly political activity and banned the group’s members from holding public office.


    After Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood won the 2011–2012 elections, Abu Dhabi’s relationship with Cairo grew tense. Emirati officials accused Egypt’s Islamist-led government of “encroach[ing] upon the sovereignty and integrity of other nations”. Yet, in the aftermath of the Egyptian military’s ouster of Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the UAE announced a $4.9 billion aid package to Cairo, effectively resetting the Egypt-UAE alliance.

    Qatar has maintained an activist foreign policy since its Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, overthrew his father in a bloodless palace coup in 1995. By launching the pan-Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera in 1996 and pursuing a more open relationship with Iran, Qatar earned a reputation as being the GCC’s “wild card.” Other Council members criticized Doha for not always keeping in mind the interests of its fellow Gulf Arab monarchies. Al-Jazeera’s coverage of other Arab nations’ affairs prompted several Arab regimes to criticize the network as early as 2002.

    Another source of tension between Qatar and the rest of the Council has been the Egyptian-born senior cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, known as the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, who has lived in Qatar since the 1960s. Qaradawi’s sermons have angered Doha’s fellow Council members. Emirati leaders lashed out at Qatar for not silencing the cleric after he accused the UAE of siding “against Islamic rule.” According to WikiLeaks, in 2009 Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed met with U.S. officials and declared that Qatar is “part of the Muslim Brotherhood.The prince also encouraged Washington to examine Al-Jazeera employees, predicting that it would discover that most of the staff were tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Regardless, the network was popular on the Arab street, where by 2011 many hailed Al-Jazeera as a promoter of democratic change and popular revolution. Yet, certain autocratic regimes across the region viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as an existential threat, and soon saw Al-Jazeera as Doha’s political weapon, being used to stir up trouble. Qatar’s critics observed that Qaradawi was a popular television host on Al-Jazeera. According to the Egyptian Independent, in March 2011 an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood presidential nominee, Khairat al-Shater, traveled to Doha to address coordination between “the Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party [the movement’s political wing in Egypt], and Qatar in the upcoming period,” leaving many to conclude that the Qataris were seeking to influence the outcome of Egypt’s first democratic election following Mubarak’s fall from power. Qatar and Al-Jazeera soon gained reputations as being pro–Muslim Brotherhood.

    In March 2014, this tension reached a new level when the UAE joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in recalling their ambassadors from Doha to punish Qatar for its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood—an unprecedented event in the Council’s history. Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Manama accused Qatar of failing to abide by a November 2013 agreement that committed the six members to “principals of non-interference in the internal affairs of other GCC countries and not supporting anyone who threatens the security and stability of other GCC countries including organizations and individuals and not supporting the antagonistic media.”

    Eight months later, Saudi Arabia hosted a meeting in which three GCC members and Qatar agreed to end their rift. The Emirati, Saudi and Bahraini envoys returned to Doha after deciding that, in light of the “sensitive circumstances the region is undergoing,” it was in the interest of all Gulf Arab nations to turn a “new page” and restore unity to the GCC. Tension between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has eased substantially since King Salman inherited the throne in January and softened Riyadh’s harsh stance on the Brotherhood, as part of a strategy to unite the wider Sunni Arab world against Iranian influence and Daesh/Islamic State.

    The Emirati-Qatari Rivalry

    The UAE, however, has not softened its stance against the Muslim Brotherhood. Throughout 2015, the UAE has grown frustrated with Riyadh’s overtures to the movement, while maintaining its anti-Islamist foreign policy. Libya has become a battleground in this Gulf rivalry. The extent to which the UAE has committed itself to countering Islamist groups in Libya was underscored in August 2014, when Emirati pilots flying out of bases in Egypt carried out strikes against Islamist militants seeking control of Tripoli. Although the UAE’s strikes were futile in terms of thwarting the Libya Dawn coalition from seizing control of the nation’s capital, the military operation signaled a watershed in Emirati foreign policy. This was the first time in which the UAE military waged strikes against a foreign country without international authorization.

    Last month, the New York Times exposed leaked Emirati emails revealing the UAE’s shipment of arms to certain Libyan militias—in violation of a UN arms embargo—attempting to weaken Islamist groups allegedly sponsored by Qatar. Other leaked emails show how the UAE offered Bernardino León, former UN mediator for Libya, a high-paying position as director general of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, which he accepted while serving his then-role as mediator. Given the UAE’s outright support for the Tobruk government, many have called into question the viability of the UN’s ongoing efforts in light of the perception that León’s impartiality was compromised by a conflict of interest.


    At the Camp David summit of Gulf Arab leaders earlier this year, President Obama told the Emirati and Qatari leaders that he favored an inclusive political solution in Libya. The Gulf Arab officials present agreed not to publically criticize the ongoing peace process and concurred that, as is the case with so many of the region’s conflicts, there can be no military solution. Yet, since the summit, the UAE and Qatar have reportedly continued to compete for power in Libya by backing their respective clients. Libya is certainly not the only regional battleground where Qatar and the UAE have supported opposing sides, but the stakes in that country are high for both Abu Dhabi and Doha.

    Officials in Abu Dhabi have seen the rise of Qatari-backed Islamist groups in Libya and other MENA nations as an unsettling development, due to the potential implications for the UAE’s long term political and economic order. Viewing Al-Islah as a group committed to toppling the UAE’s political order, Emirati authorities have sought to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Emirati branch and antagonize the movement’s affiliates across the MENA region. In maintaining a legal, political and military campaign against political Islam, the UAE shares the Tobruk government’s conviction that the Islamist militias which have held Tripoli for the last sixteen months are “terrorists.”

    Libya is where Doha is fully committed to backing its Islamist allies, which have proven resilient in many battles, have stood their ground in strategically vital areas of the country, and currently carry their share of leverage at the roundtable. Last year, the BBC described the February 17 Martyrs Brigade (a militia in the Libya Dawn coalition) as the “biggest and best armed militia in eastern Libya.

    Fighters loyal to Libya Dawn believe that they are waging the struggle against Qaddafi loyalists and authoritarianism by fighting forces loyal to the UN-recognized government in Tobruk. Whereas Qatar’s efforts to create a strong alliance with Egypt during Morsi’s presidency did not pay off, Doha sees Libya as an important battleground in the emirate’s ambitious foreign policy agenda.

    Ideally, the Emirati and Qatari rulers would work together to promote peace in Libya after recognizing that stability and security in the North African nation would open many commercial and economic doors to the Gulf Arab states. In fact, one of the UAE’s main motivations for sponsoring the anti-Qaddafi uprising was to secure lucrative deals in the country following the dictator’s fall. In 2009, when Dubai’s real estate bubble burst, developers in the Emirates looked abroad, and viewed Libya as a valuable opportunity. Al Ghurair Group, DP World and Etisalat were among the major UAE-based companies which expressed interest in investing in post-Qaddafi Libya. However, Libya’s political unrest and violent turmoil forced such plans to be placed on hold.

    Given that Libya’s eventual reconstruction will surely depend on support from the Gulf, the UAE and Qatar would both be wise to push toward a diplomatic settlement aimed at securing a long-term resolution of the dispute between Libya’s two governments. Doha and Abu Dhabi must recognize that neither will fully benefit from what Libya has to offer until a peaceful settlement is reached. By further militarizing the conflict, the prospects for stability in Libya will certainly diminish. If the UAE and Qatar can shift their focus in Libya from military issues to the diplomatic arena, and if both were to make ideological compromises in the process, the goal of securing peace in Libya could become more realistic. In the absence of that, the proxy war in Libya will likely continue for a long time to come, and neighboring states will continue to suffer from the destabilizing spillover effects.

    The UAE and Qatar have an opportunity to positively shape the future of post-Qaddafi Libya. The question is whether they will seize that opportunity or continue to wage their proxy war in Libya.




    Giorgio Cafiero is the Co-Founder of Gulf State Analytics. Daniel Wagner is the CEO of Country Risk Solutions.

  5. #85
    Media Editor Khanda's Avatar
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    Re: Libya conflict

    Talk of gulf Arabs being the solution are flawed they themselves are the problem and will need to be removed sooner or later

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