UN-backed Libyan forces take key airbase from rebel general, theguardian.com

Forces allied with Libya’s UN-supported government have wrested control of a key military base on the outskirts of the country’s capital from Khalifa Haftar, dealing a significant blow to the renegade general’s military and its morale.[…]

The concern for France and the UAE is that it is possible al-Watiya airfield will become a strategic asset for Turkey, especially if it takes an interest in the country’s southern oilfields. The capture will also free up GNA troops to put pressure on Haftar’s forces south of Tripoli. Haftar remains in controls of the oil terminals in the east, and has blocked the export of Libyan oil, the lifeblood of the economy. He also appears to have seen off an attempt last month to weaken him politically by dividing him from the leaders of the house of representatives, the parliament based in the east. The European Union, concerned by migration from Libya to the EU’s southern flank, has just launched a naval blockade of the Mediterranean, codenamed Operation Irini, in an effort to enforce a UN arms embargo. The operation’s structure and composition has been criticised by the GNA and Turkey. The GNA accused the EU mission of bias since it contains ships from Greece and France, the two EU countries most opposed to Turkey’s involvement in Libya.[…]

On Friday the Turkish minister of defence, Hulusi Akar, questioned the legality of Operation Irini, arguing it had been launched without consultation with Nato, the UN or the GNA itself. Akar said: “They only prevent maritime entry and exit. This is not an arms embargo, but rather an embargo on the activities of the legitimate government, which has not asked for that [launching Operation Irini].” “There is no legal basis for this operation without an official request from the [Libyan] government. Therefore, this only supports Haftar.” Läs artikel

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