Libya (SCF) -Alarm bells are ringing. The world has another armed conflict on its map. East Libyan forces led by General Khalifa Haftar are about to take control of the Tamanhent air base near the city of Sabha, which is located…
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has proposed ways to pave the way for creating a mechanism to uproot terrorism and extremism worldwide.
In an article published in the Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs on Friday, Zarif said, “The twin problems of terrorism and extremism, far beyond the never-ending polemics among politicians, stand out as the natural outcome of intrinsic failings in the current (and recent) international situation.”
The Bible’s book of Galatians, VI teaches, «as you sow, so shall you reap». And for Saudi Arabia, which has overtly and covertly supported rebellions in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Lebanon that have led to civil wars and inter-religious strife, the day of reckoning may soon be at hand. The present Saudi king, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, is the last of the sons of the first Saudi king, Abdul Aziz al Saud, who will ever sit on the Saudi throne. After Salman dies, Saudi leadership will pass to a new generation of Saudi royals. But not all the descendants of the first Saudi king are happy about how the future succession may turn out.
Salman named his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as crown prince after firing his half-brother, Mugrin bin Abdul Aziz, as crown prince after the death of King Abdullah in 2015. For good measure, Salman also named his son, Mohammad bin Salman, who is little-known outside the kingdom, as deputy prime minister. The 30-year old Mohammad bin Salman is seen by some as the eventual crown prince after King Salman figures out some way to ease Mohammad bin Nayef, the Interior Minister and close friend of the United States, out of the position of heir apparent to the throne.
By normalising the use of drones, the US might be planting a seed that people in the Arab world reject: the seed of arbitrariness.
Despite the large criticism directed toward the unabated use of armed drones as a weapon of choice in the “global war against terror”, led by the United States, the recent revelations about the establishment of a US drone base in Tunisia show that their use is expanding.
This information comes after the announcement of the construction of a 100 million drone base in Agadez, in the centre of Niger, indicating an increase of counterterrorist drone operations in north-west Africa. Although governments in the region have publically claimed they are not hosting US bases, there remains little doubt that such bases do exist at least in Niger and Tunisia, signalling an unconstrained and dangerous expansion.
Civilians have been trapped for months in a neighborhood of the eastern Libyancity of Benghazi, by fighting between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and Islamist militias that form the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC). All sides to the conflict in Benghazi should allow all civilians to leave the Ganfouda neighborhood, and allow for the safe passage of humanitarian aid into the neighborhood.
Ganfouda is one of the few remaining holdouts of militant Islamist groups in Benghazi. The LNA, which has Ganfouda under siege, has said it will not allow any evacuation of males between ages 15 and 65 and has set a series of other conditions. The Islamist coalition controlling the neighborhood has also set conditions for evacuation of civilians.
“The Libyan National Army should let any civilian who wants to leave the battle zone go, whatever their age or gender,” said Hanan Salah, senior Libya researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The presence of fighters nearby doesn’t give the LNA license to trap civilians in a battle zone facing near-starvation.”
The recent US military involvements in the broader Middle East conflicts have one thing in common – it’s easy to get in but almost impossible to get out. This assertion is easily confirmed if one has a look at the recent history.
The planned partial withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is suspended. President Obama has changed his mind to have the forces out of the country till 2017. According to the plans recently announced, a residual force of 9,800 troops would remain. This presence may be increased as fighting intensifies. The conflict has been continuing for over 15 years with no solutions found and no gains to brag about. The future of the Afghan government is uncertain, especially if foreign forces leave the country. The Taliban is as strong as ever as the Afghan forces are engaged in fierce fighting in the strategically important northern city of Kunduz.
A man who was rendered to Gaddafi’s Libya in a joint MI6-CIA operation has written to Sir Mark Allen, the former MI6 official who was responsible for his ordeal, following a rare public comment by Sir Mark.
In a recent article for the Catholic Herald, Sir Mark Allen – formerly head of counter-terrorism at MI6 – argued for a faith-based “answer to terrorism.”
The article, published in August, was Sir Mark’s first known public comment since the exposure in 2011 of his role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition of two families to Libya – including Abdul Hakim Belhaj, his pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar, and the al-Saadis, who included a child as young as six. The Catholic Herald piece was published a day before the UK Crown Prosecution Service publicly confirmed its decision not to charge Sir Mark over the affair.
As recently acknowledged by The Washington Post, US Special Forces are directly involved in military operations in Libya, «coordinating American airstrikes and providing intelligence information» to local forces battling the Islamic State (IS) for Sirte, 450 kilometres to the east of Tripoli.
British special forces have also been active in Libya for several months, providing direct military support to brigades from Misurata (Libya’s third largest city situated in the northwest of the country), which are also attacking Sirte. Paradoxically, the British and Americans are supporting irreconcilable enemies in the Libyan conflict as allies.
The UK government’s refusal to answer questions about political interference in a decision not to bring charges over British complicity in renditions has been challenged by international human rights group Reprieve.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in June 2016 that it would not bring any charges in Operation Lydd, a police investigation into the UK Government’s role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition to torture of two families, including a pregnant woman and children aged 6 to 12.
The US launched a sustained campaign against the Islamic State militant group (IS) in Libya on August 1. President Obama authorized a 30-day mission for the US military to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State terror group in Libya as new strikes were unleashed the next day.
The decision to authorize the operation was taken by Obama after a request from the newly formed Western-backed unity government, known as Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and headed by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj. During a news conference, President Obama said,the airstrikes were critical for helping Libya’s fragile United Nations-backed government to drive Islamic State militants out of Sirte, which the group has controlled since June 2015.
US officials said, this one marked the start of a sustained air campaign, not isolated actions. Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters the US military reserved the right to conduct counterterrorism strikes elsewhere in the country as the US military did in November and February.