The Criminal Role of Saudi Arabia and UAE

Mahmoud Refaat

War crimes and crimes against humanity have been perpetrated by the belligerents in Libya and continue to make victims. It is necessary to conduct thorough investigations into the actions of Haftar and his seconds, who participated in massacres of civilians, such as in Tarhunah. These individuals must be prosecuted and convicted.


4.6 Vulnerability in the United States

Following the episode of the Libyan common conflict in 2014, the US generally returned to its 2011 strategy of “driving from behind“.

In spite of the fact that it has freely sponsored the UN cycle, driven related monetary exchanges, and occupied with adjustment projects in Libya, the US has taken on a more downplayed part in the country than European and Middle Eastern forces.

However the US has confidently ensured its fundamental advantages in Libya: countering psychological warfare and keeping Libyan legislative issues from upsetting worldwide oil markets. For instance, the US military was critical to crushing ISIS in Sirte, giving extraordinary powers and air backing to the Misratan-drove Bunyan al-Marsous collusion there.

Albeit numerous in the favorable to Haftar camp straightforwardly upheld Trump’s official mission with the expectation that he would serve their political objectives, they were at first frustrated with the enhanced US organization.

The past US extraordinary agent to Libya, Jonathan Winer, claims that, soon after Trump was chosen, Haftar’s children drove an assignment to Washington in the desire for acquiring the duly elected president’s approval for an assault on Tripoli – without any result.

What’s more, in 2018 the US made a definitive mediation against Haftar, attempting to break a barricade he had set up as a feature of an arrangement to sell oil – an arrangement that was infringing upon an UN Security Council goal that ensures the National Oil Company as Libya’s sole authentic oil broker.

4.7 Turkey’s inexorably clear job

Turkey has assumed a fluctuating at this point filling part in Libya as its inclinations there have created. At first, Turkey was completely inspired by the craving to satisfy the agreements it had in Libya in 2011, which were worth generally $15 billion (an interest that drove it to turn into a late ally of the insurgency that year).

Following the creation and starting accomplishment of the Justice and Construction Party – the Libyan part of the Muslim Brotherhood, designed in the resemblance of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party – Turkey started impact by developing the political Islamist bunches that arose across the district during the Arab uprisings.

After the beginning of Libya’s thoughtful conflict in 2014, Turkey turned into an asylum for Libyan outcasts – including political Islamists – as one of the uncommon nations Libyans could make a trip to, and lead business in, without experiencing huge administrative noise.

It exploited this association – just as its international safe haven in Tripoli and its office in Misrata, when most conciliatory missions to the Libyan specialists were situated in Tunis – to seek after its political and financial interests in Libya.

4.8 Qatari monetary may

Qatar was one of the key territorial parts in Libya in the Arab uprisings and the consequence of Qaddafi’s fall, giving military, monetary, and political help to the dissidents.

Be that as it may, its association in Libya wound down after Emir Tamim container Hamad Al Thani took power in Doha, embracing a less interventionist international strategy.

As Qatar stepped back from Libya, the country’s Gulf equals probably considered sponsorship to be Haftar as a chance to influence the overall hold away from Qatari-moved Islamists in Libya. During this shift, the LNA crushed a large number of Qatar’s Libyan questioners, like the Sallabi siblings and their related powers in Benghazi.

Other Libyan Islamists who had abused the common conflict in 2014 to set up their own administration (in insubordination of the GNA and the UN cycle) slowly floated to the edges and were in the end driven out of Tripoli.

The individuals who stayed dynamic in Libya, either estranged abroad or in the actual nation, saw their relationship with Qatar shift to the monetary circle, as they began to raise their financial profiles, mostly by making critical interests in TV slots and sites.

Libyan Islamists have drastically expanded their association in such news sources since 2014, planning to go against Haftar in the harmful publicity war that has immersed Libya. Surely, the storm of Qatari-sourced bots and web-based media accounts that followed Saudi Arabia’s underlying introduction to the Libyan media grandstands a portion of the flighty parts of this conflict.

As of late, Doha has been extensively strong of UN endeavours to facilitate a political answer for the Libyan struggle. Be that as it may, Haftar’s development on Tripoli may urge Qatar to restore its underlying, more self-assured, Libya strategy.

For the occasion, it stays indistinct whether it will do as such, regardless of whether there has allegedly been a resurgence in correspondence between the counter Haftar camp and Doha.

Like Turkey, Qatar has presumably expanded its help for Libyan groups that go against Haftar to keep its local adversaries from acquiring power in Libya and the more extensive area.

Qatar is supposed to have made secret proposals of help to a scope of Haftar’s adversaries, recommending that it will in any event expect the job of lender in a free alliance with these gatherings and Turkey. The Turkish financial emergency and the irritable idea of the local armies battling under the GNA possibly leave Qatar with a significant part to play in the alliance.

However, given that it has to a great extent deserted its territorial political venture for homegrown issues – and given the assortment of Libyan gatherings it purportedly liaises with – Qatar will probably zero in less on supporting Islamists in Libya than on humiliating and baffling Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

4.9 French interferences

The relations between France and Libya remain tumultuous since the French presidential elections in 2007 and the international controversy of the Libyan campaign funds. Gaddafi has been accused by the investigation journal Mediapart to give EUR€50 million to the former president Nicolas Sarkozy for him to get elected.

The French voluntarism contributed in 2011 to the escalation of violence, gathering Western powers in the Paris Summit where the parties reaffirmed their will to fight the Gaddafi’s regime. This is France again which will launch the Harmattan Operation to end the Gaddafi’s reign in 2011, soon followed by UK, the US and many European States in a second time.

But France is also involved in this conflict through its support to Haftar as explained earlier. In 2016, three French soldiers died in a helicopter crash in East Libya, shot by a terrorist local group. Members of the Directorate-General for External Security –the French intelligence agency-, they were here to provide some training to the Haftar’s soldier.

GNA was not aware of such convoy constituted with men in arms above its territory, and it constitute a border violation and a several attempt to the Libyan sovereignty. The internationally recognized government explicitly forbade to any foreign country to cross the Libyan territory, a fortiori armed and without asking permission.

On the 17 th of February, 2019, the French Army Minister Florence Parly announced the delivery of six fast boats to the Libyan navy to fight illegal migration through Mediterranean. But these rapid skiffs are considered as military gear and, at this regard, represent a violation of the Arms Trade Treaty.

In addition, Libya is under an arms embargo since the riot of 2011. The main purpose of these boats was to push back the migrant crossing the sea to Libya. In other terms, it also violated the article 2 and 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, contributing to the mistreating of regular people.

Indeed, migrants are packed like animals in detention camps, living in harsh conditions without gender distinction and occasional tortures. It goes likewise against the article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights defending the freedom of movements and to choose is residence country. The military presence of France is also in question in Libya. In June 2019, four Javelin antitank missiles have been discovered in Gharian, southwest of Tripoli in a former Haftar base camp. These missiles were bought by France to the US in 2010, but there is no trace of transaction to the Libyan belligerent.

The French Army minister declared then that these missiles were intended for the “self protection of a French detachment” in an interview he gave for Le Monde. But in the same speech, he said that the detachment was present a long time ago in Libya and that the missiles have been abandoned because of their damaged state.

But according to Le Monde’s local observer, the missiles have been damaged in a recent altercation. In a meantime, the French minister assures that he did not sell the weapons to Haftar. Either France provided these missiles to Haftar, in this case it means a violation of the arm embargo and the transparency of the Arm Trade Treaty, or the French soldiers are still deployed in Libya, helping Haftar to spreading violence in the whole country, constituting a grave opposition to the peace process.

Oussama Al-Juwaili, the GNA military chief, declared than French soldiers were present on the GNA side “until the 4 of April”, the day of the Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli. Instead of disappearing, the French forces probably joined Haftar’s camp after the conflict.

In addition, according to the European Declaration on the Tripoli offensive in 2019, the European signatories committed to withdraw all forces from Libyan territory. A declaration that France apparently did not respect given the missiles found in Haftar’s camp in June.

By providing military gear and support, France is thus violating international laws and has become a brake to the current peace process. It encourages the endangering of many civilians lives by supporting the “strong man” and the partial return of dictatorship in Libya. It’s a genuine attempt to human rights and European values of peace and protection of populace.

4.10 Italy implication in migrant crisis

Libya is a cornerstone for African illegal immigration, embodying a genuine bridge to Europe. As mentioned above, the situation is purely catastrophic with mistreatment from coast guards in detention camps. Italy is directly concerned with this migration crisis, due to the fact that only 190nm separates the Italian island of Lampedusa from the Libyan ground.

This configuration transforms this side of the Mediterranean into a real migratory corridor towards Europe. For the beginning of 2021, 5099 migrants already beached in Lampedusa until February according to the half-yearly report of the OIM.

In 2008, Italy and the Libya’s dictator signed a cooperation and friendship treaty where Italy is financing the detention centers for migrants. In addition, Italy is committed to push back the migrants to Libya to be imprisoned.

This agreement sealed the friendship between the Italian minister Silvio Berlusconi and Gaddafi. But in 2011, the treaty fell with the dictator. A long period of division followed, and the Civil war made the situation even more catastrophic.

Without coordination, the arrivals of migrants are multiplying to reach 153 842 migrants on the Italian isle in 2015. We must wait until 2017 to see the emergence of a new EU-Libya Memorandum of Understanding signed by both Italy and Libya. It consists of a reiteration of the 2008 agreement while going a little further.

Indeed the new treaty stipulates the strengthening of the Libyan navy and the improvement of the migrants living conditions in detention centers by an investment of $240 million per year. In addition, this agreement provides for the organization of the pushing back of migrants by the Libyan coast guard, and no longer by Italy.

In other terms, Italy here avoid direct responsibilities regarding the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning the 2012 rule about the prohibition of collective expulsion at the article 3. But the ECHR provides also the externalization of the borders, which means that a third State takes care of the management of the external borders of Europe, as here with Libya.

As a result, Italy still has indirect responsibilities in the mistreating of migrants by financing the Libyan push back capacities. By its desire to avoid migrations whatever it takes, Italy is “putting the lives, rights and dignity of migrants at risk”. This migratory situation and the abuses from the Libyan navy is still relevant today.

Indeed, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, the Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and the Libyan Presidential Council Mohammed Menfi met the 19 of April, 2021.

Then they discussed about “new incidents revealing severe abuses, rights violation, killings and the environment of impunity in Libya”, establishing the Libyan authorities incompetence to manage the fight against migration to Italy.

While being perfectly aware of the incompetence of Libya, Italy incriminates some of ONG organizing rescue missions in Mediterranean. This is Italy’s strategy to guard against the influx of migrants to its shores.

It is important to remember that Italy is facing alone the influx of migrants through the Mediterranean, in that there is no European solidarity in this matter. But acting alone does not justify encouraging the mistreatment of migrants in Libya, or interfere with sea rescues. Symptomatic of the lack of a common European action on migration, Italy uses dubious means putting the lives of many migrants in danger.


Mahmoud Refaat is an expert in international law, politician and writer. Refaat is the president of the European Institute for International Law and International Relations in Brussels, Belgium.







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