Libya violence widens rift between Gulf countries

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 17.04.2019 00:09

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed ben Abdelrrahmane Al-Thani has called for the strict enforcement of the U.N. arms embargo on both sides of the conflict in Libya, while causing rift around the Gulf. "The war won't stop with the appeals launched from the first day which [Libyan commander Khalifa] Haftar has ignored, nor, as Tripoli has called for, by freeing the [U.N.-backed] government from the embargo," Thani said in an interview published in yesterday's La Repubblica.

Thani, during a visit to Rome, said the international community could end the fighting by enforcing the embargo against Haftar and preventing those countries that had supplied him with modern weapons and munitions from continuing to do so. He also underscored that practices by Haftar were obstructing efforts for dialogue in the war-torn country.

The Benghazi-based Haftar enjoys the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. Those three nations severed ties with Doha in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and imposed an air, land and sea embargo on Qatar. Past U.N. reports say the UAE and Egypt have both supplied Haftar with arms and aircraft, giving him air superiority among Libya's multiple factions.

Nearly two weeks into its assault, the veteran general's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) is stuck in the city's southern outskirts battling armed groups loyal to the internationally-recognized Tripoli government.

Since April 4, Haftar forces have been seeking to wrestle control of Tripoli as part of a military campaign to capture the Libyan capital from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The internationally recognized government in Libya's Tripoli once again faces a challenge from Gen. Khalifa Haftar who has been controlling the country's east. Haftar's push on Tripoli in Libya's northwest is the latest turn in a cycle of factional violence and chaos dating back to the ouster of former President Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and NATO's aerial operations. The conflict has brought a growing humanitarian toll; 174 people, 756 injured and 18,250 displaced according to latest U.N. tallies, and sunk for now an international peace plan. It threatens to disrupt oil flows, foment migration across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, and allow militants to exploit the chaos.

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