Posted tagged ‘Libya’

EXCLUSIVE: Libyan Army Spox Says Obama, Clinton “Abandoned the Libyan People to the Terrorists”

July 11, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Libyan Army Spox Says Obama, Clinton “Abandoned the Libyan People to the Terrorists” PJ MediaPatrick Poole, July 11, 2017

Col. al-Mesmari also claims that the February 17th Martyrs Brigade — hired by Hillary Clinton’s State Department to protect the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi — cooperated with Ansar al-Sharia in attacking the consulate compound on September 12, 2012. 

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In an exclusive interview with PJ Media, the Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman, Col. Ahmed al-Mesmari, says that President Obama and Hillary Clinton “abandoned the Libyan people to face these terrorists alone.”

He also implicates the Obama administration in supporting terrorist militias — including Libyan al-Qaeda leader Abdelhakim Belhadj and Muslim Brotherhood militias allied to al-Qaeda.

Rather than backing the LNA and the elected Tobruk-based Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) in the fight against these terror groups, the Obama administration — along with the United Nations and the European Union — have been trying to impose a “Government of National Accord” (GNA) that has zero constituency in Libya. Further, it is accused of working with terror-linked militias in Tripoli.

With the continuing crisis between several Arab nations — including the Libyan HoR and Qatar — Col. al-Mesmari discusses Qatar’s role in arming and financing terrorist militias in Libya. He also connects the Muslim Brotherhood militias that have been fighting against the LNA with al-Qaeda and ISIS elements operating in the country.

Col. al-Mesmari also claims that the February 17th Martyrs Brigade — hired by Hillary Clinton’s State Department to protect the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi — cooperated with Ansar al-Sharia in attacking the consulate compound on September 12, 2012. 

That attack led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Libyans celebrated last week when, after three years of battle, the LNA finally liberated Benghazi from all terrorist groups in the city:

Photo published for Libyan Army recaptures Benghazi from ISIS
Libyan Army recaptures Benghazi from ISIS
The Libyan Army announced on Wednesday that it has recaptured the city of Benghazi from ISIS, Al
english.alarabiya.net

Reuters Top News 

And over the past month, Col. al-Mesmari has publicly charged Qatar with direct support of terrorist groups operating in Libya:

Al Arabiya English 

Official says  and  are ‘triad of terrorism’ in http://ara.tv/95xs3 

The following is an exclusive interview I conducted by email earlier today with Col. Ahmed al-Mesmari, official spokesman for the Libyan National Army:

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1) It’s been six years since the U.S.-led NATO intervention in Libya. Hillary Clinton was the leading voice in the Obama administration for the U.S. action. What responsibility does she and Obama bear for that decision?

The main responsibility falls on NATO, which interfered in Libya in 2011 to end the Gaddafi regime and destroyed all Libyan army weapons and infrastructure, only to then leave Libya alone to fight the terrorists. They took none of the necessary measures to help rebuild the Libyan Army or even help to reactivate other security facilities.

The U.S. administration led by Obama and Hilary Clinton was not up to the challenge in Libya and didn’t give much attention to the Libyan situation.

We don’t have any doubts that the Obama administration and his ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones, had considerable contact with militias and terrorist groups in Libya.

There was a U.S. plan for Libya that we still don’t know the details about, but in the end they abandoned the Libyan people to face these terrorists alone.

2) Given the current crisis over Qatar’s role in financing extremism, what kind of interference by Qatar has been seen in Libya?

Qatar started working in Libya even before NATO arrived. Qatar interfered in Libya under the cover that it was willing to help the Libyan people’s uprising. Later NATO left the scene and Qatar was all over Libya with their support for Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and other militias.

Qatar also supported these groups with money, weapons, ammunition, in addition to transporting fighters from Libya to Syria via Turkey.

Qatar continues until today supporting al-Qaeda militias and Muslim Brotherhood Shield militias in Tripoli and Misrata.

3) Many in the U.S. remember the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. What role, if any, did Qatar play in financing and arming Ansar al-Sharia who conducted the attack?

First, this operation was led by Ansar al-Sharia, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, and also another militia called the 17 February Martyrs Brigade, which is one of the Muslim Brotherhood Shield militias that took part in this attack. Qatar is the main supporter and financier of the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda in Libya. In this particular brutal attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi they provided weapons and communication equipment to the terrorist militias.

The paradox here is that the 17 February Muslim Brotherhood militia was the militia that the U.S. contracted to protect the consulate. They had an agreement with the attackers to fake a weapons clash then later opened the gates into the consulate for them.

4) What role does Qatar play now in financing and arming extremists in Libya?

The last clear support of Qatar to terrorist groups was their support of the so-called “Benghazi Defense Brigades,” another al-Qaeda affiliate that was labeled terrorist group by the Libyan HoR and by other Arab countries. The Qatari support to them arrived in Al Jufrah in form of weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles, telecommunication equipment, and money in cash.

5) The Libyan House of Representatives recently designated several Muslim Brotherhood leaders as terrorists. What connections have been discovered tying the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya to extremists?

In Benghazi we fought against the Muslim Brotherhood militias known as Libyan Shields. These militias fought next to Ansar al-Sharia (al-Qaeda) and ISIS against the Libyan Army.

This alliance shows clearly that the Muslim Brotherhood had an alliance with ISIS and al-Qaeda, and we know that all these groups including the Muslim Brotherhood all have terrorist religious views.

6) What connections have been discovered linking the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt with extremists in Libya?

The Muslim Brotherhood is an international terrorist group and all their groups in any country ideologically go back to their “murshid” or Supreme Guide who is in Egypt.

7) One of the leading militia leaders backed by the U.S. has been former al-Qaeda leader Abdelhakim Belhadj. Many U.S. media outlets describe Belhadj as a former extremist.

Based on the available evidence now, is it true that Belhadj has abandoned extremism, or is he still involved in extremist activity?

Not at all, Belhadj is still a terrorist leader. In addition he has a lot of money to support his terrorist group as well as financing other groups in Tunisia and Syria.

Belhadj is a founder of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and will not let go of his terrorist views. For us Belhadj is the leader of LIFG, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

8) We know that arms from various parties in Libya were being sent to extremists in Syria, particularly in 2011 and 2012. What do we know now about those networks, and who exactly were these arms being sent to? What way, if any, was the U.S. involved in those arms transfers?

First, it wasn’t just sending weapons and ammunition, but also fighters from Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and other nationalities.

Their first stops were training camps in Sabratha, Tripoli, Misrata, Derna and Benghazi, then later airlifted and transported by sea to Syria via Turkey.

Liwa Al-Umma in Syria was established from these fighters and their commander was the al-Qaeda terrorist Mahdi al-Harati, who is a Libyan-Irish national. He is one of Belhadj’s inner circle and was fully supported by Belhadj and Qatar. Liwa Al-Umma fought next to Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) in Syria.

We still don’t know exactly what the American role in this was, but we have what makes us believe that the U.S. knew all about it as well as some European countries.

9) This week we saw, after several years of fighting, the Libyan National Army recover all of Benghazi. With that accomplished, what are the next major objectives for the LNA?

Our duty is to protect the Libyan people and we will always be after terrorism and terrorist groups wherever they are. We have no doubt that we will target every al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group in Libya, or any group that affects the security of the Libyan people.

10) We have seen a rise in the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe over the past two years. What role do extremists take in human trafficking in Libya?

You must know that there is zero illegal immigration to Europe from the areas under our control.

We know that some organized crime groups are human trafficking, so some of these groups simply engage in this activity for the sake of the financial income.

We also know that other groups do it to send terrorists to Europe masking them in forms of illegal immigration.

11) Now with a new U.S. administration under President Trump, what are the steps the U.S. can take to assist Libya in moving forward with political and security solutions for the future?

Politics is not my field, so I will leave it to the politicians to answer that question.

Military-wise, we ask the Trump administration to support our armed forces and its leadership so we could easily and fully control our own soil, then we could end illegal immigration by protecting our borders and coast.

Libyan Security Committee Calls U.S. Muslim Leader a Terrorist

June 12, 2017

Libyan Security Committee Calls U.S. Muslim Leader a Terrorist, Investigative Project on Terrorism, June 12, 2017

Omeish and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine. Source: Facebook

A prominent Muslim American political activist is included on a list of 75 terrorists issued by a Libyan parliamentary committee.

Esam Omeish is a former president of the Muslim American Society and remains a prominent figure at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va. He is among 75 people the Libyan House of Representatives’ Defense and National Security Committee labeled Friday as enemies.

Libya’s government remains fragmented, with the House of Representatives based in a city called Tobruk. It is considered closely aligned with Egypt.

Omeish is the 29th name listed on the terror list and is described as an “international member of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Another American, Aly Abuzaakouk, appears just after Omeish’s, also identified as an international Muslim Brotherhood member.

Omeish blasted the move in a statement on his Facebook page, saying “my name had unjustly and falsely been placed on a so called list of supporters of terrorism.” He protested Saturday to Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, and plans to try meeting more members of Congress today.

Omeish wants the committee’s leader “legally prosecuted for fraud, slander and defamation to obtain a judgement inhibiting their ability to travel to America…” He also wants penalties for committee members who approved the list, accusing them of “randomly charging American citizens who have no offense or crime, or involvement with any of the forms of terrorism, and who are major in the American landscape in the fight against terrorism and working with all security and legal agencies to preserve the country’s security and the safety of the society and communities with transparency and integrity which everyone near and far knows.”

Omeish formerly served as president of the Muslim American Society (MAS), which insiders have acknowledged is the Muslim Brotherhood’s overt arm in the United States. In a December Facebook comment, Omeish wrote  that Muslims “have not known of the people of Islam … those more just in understanding, wider in approach and closer in application than the Muslim Brotherhood. We have not known of humane brotherliness and its people, (and we are affiliated with all men whom Allah has created a propensity for love, mercy, an upright disposition, good morals and honorable character) better in ethics, of gentler parts, deeper in adherence to duty, nobler in morals among all their sons, and every one of their actions than the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Last year, he advocated that the U.S. support for a group known variably as the “Revolutionary Shura Council,” or the “Mujahideen Shura of Derna,” despite ties between its officials and al-Qaida. Egypt’s air force bombed the group last month in retaliation for terror attacks against Coptic Christians in April.

Abuzaakouk also has deep Muslim Brotherhood connections. He has served as executive director of the American Muslim Council (AMC), and publications director for the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). He became foreign minister of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Government of National Salvation based in Tripoli after dictator Muammar Gaddafi fell. That group opposes the internationally recognized government in Tobruk.

The AMC was founded in part by Mahmoud Abu Saud, who helped Hassan al-Banna create the Brotherhood in Egypt, the Washington Post reported in 2004. FBI officials have long suspected that the IIIT housed leading Brotherhood officials in the United States.

Despite his overt support for “the jihad way” and for the Brotherhood, Omeish has been close to Kaine for at least a decade. When Kaine was Virginia’s governor in 2007, Omeish was forced to resign from a state immigration panel after Investigative Project on Terrorism video showed him praising Palestinians during a 2000 rally for knowing that “the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.”

At a separate event two months earlier, Omeish similarly praised Palestinians “for their bravery, for their giving up their lives for the sake of Allah and for the sake of Al-Aqsa [Jerusalem]. They have spearheaded the effort to bring victory upon the believers in [Palestine].”

It was during a 2010 fundraiser for Omeish’s state assembly campaign that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison – now the Democratic National Committee’s vice chair – complained that Israel unduly influence U.S. policy in the Middle East. “A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million,” Ellison said. “Does that make sense?”

Ellison added: “We can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM. Right? And so we ought to stand up as Americans. Now some of us have affinity for other places around the globe. Some of us are new Americans and adopted America as our home. But whether you’re born here or whether you accepted America as your own voluntarily, this is our home. Right? All of our home equally, and we can’t allow it to be disrespected because some, by a country that we’re paying money to.”

In this case, Kaine serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee for North Africa.

It is unclear what impact the Libyan House committee’s terror list will have, especially among U.S. policy makers. There’s no public information indicating Omeish was directly involved in any terror support. But he has openly advocated for “the jihad way” and lauds the Brotherhood, a movement which articulated a goal of creating a global Islamic state and serves as an inspiration for Sunni jihadist groups including al-Qaida, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad  and Ja’amat Islamiya.

“The common link here is the extremist Muslim Brotherhood – all of these organizations are descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brothers,” former National Security and Counter-terrorism Coordinator Richard Clarke testified in 2004 before a U.S. Senate committee.

There are twin bills pending in Congress that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.  The United Arab Emirates has already done so.

Egypt’s Battle Against Islamic Extremism

June 3, 2017

Egypt’s Battle Against Islamic Extremism, Gatestone InstituteShireen Qudosi, June 3, 2017

Sisi faces more than just militant and political extremists within Egypt’s borders; he is also walking a theological tightrope. Egypt is home to the regressive theocratic influence of the most revered Islamic institution in the Sunni world, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which openly views freedom as a “ticking time-bomb.”

Being held hostage intellectually by the grip of Al-Azhar University ensures that there is a constant supply when it comes to producing the next generation of militant and political Islamists.

President Sisi’s response to the brutal slaughter of peaceful Christian worshippers is being called rare but should not be surprising, considering the aggressive measures that need to be taken to hold extremism at bay, and to eradicate the threat that local groups pose to the Egyptian people. Coming out of the Riyadh Summit, where President Trump and a host of Muslim nations, including Egypt, agreed to drive out extremism, Sisi’s reaction was necessary.

 

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When it comes to regional interests in the Middle East, the priority is the most dominant and violent force.

Egypt stands out as a primary target, given the cocktail of challenges that position it as a center of radical Islam. Egypt faces political, violent, and theological militancy within its borders.

For a nation to do what it must to survive, it needs the steadfast support of world powers. Step one is annihilating all sources of violent Islam.

 

For a Western audience, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is a complex figure, who was shunned by the Obama administration. There appear truly pressing, immediate priorities in Egypt, such as developing the economy and combating the avalanche of extremist attempts to overthrow him. Among Middle East and North African territories, Egypt stands out as a primary target, given the cocktail of challenges that position it as a center of radical Islam.

President Sisi faces violent extremist hotbeds in the Sinai Peninsula, and the still-destabilizing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood (a political arm of violent radicals). Most notably, Sisi brought a reality check to the Arab Spring when he led the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, ushering a spiritual and cultural Islamic reformation with widespread popular support from Egyptians on a grass-roots level.

Sisi faces more than just militant and political extremists within Egypt’s borders; he is also walking a theological tightrope. Egypt is home to the regressive theocratic influence of the most revered Islamic institution in the Sunni world, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which openly views freedom as a “ticking time-bomb.”

Being held hostage intellectually by the grip of Al-Azhar University ensures that there is a constant supply when it comes to producing the next generation of militant and political Islamists.

Egypt also faces extremist infiltration from neighboring Libya, a nation caught in a power vacuum after the murder of its leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi. This vacuum has been readily filled by Islamic militants, including ISIS.

Upon returning home in April from his first visit to the U.S. since 2013, Sisi faced a series of domestic terror attacks that once again put Egypt in a global spotlight. On Palm Sunday, in April, two suicide bombings in Coptic Christian churches killed more than 45 people and injured another 120. For Egypt, one of the last regional strongholds that still has a vibrant non-Muslim minority population, violent eruptions on major Christian holidays have become routine.

In England, just days after the May 22 Manchester suicide bombing, attention was once again on Egypt where 29 Coptic Christians were gunned down on a bus traveling to a monastery near the city of Minya. The attack was launched by masked terrorists who arrived in three pick-up trucks and opened fire on the passengers, many of whom were children. Egyptian intelligence believes the Minya attack was led by ISIS jihadists based in Libya. In February, the aspiring terrorist caliphate also launched a campaign against Egypt’s Christian population. The Egyptian military responded swiftly with air strikes against terrorist camps, along with a televised warning against sponsored terrorism.

President Sisi’s response to the brutal slaughter of peaceful Christian worshippers is being called rare but should not be surprising, considering the aggressive measures that need to be taken to hold extremism at bay, and to eradicate the threat that local groups pose to the Egyptian people. Coming out of the Riyadh Summit, where President Trump and a host of Muslim nations, including Egypt, agreed to drive out extremism, Sisi’s reaction was necessary.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (front row, far-right) attended the May 21 Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, along with U.S. President Donald Trump (front-center). The problems of Islamic extremism and terrorism were much-discussed at the summit. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)

In a war that is equally ideological and kinetic, Muslim nations and others trying to survive the plague of Islamic terrorism will need to be as ruthless as their extremist counterparts. That is something that the warring political factions in the U.S. quickly need to understand. When it comes to regional interests in the Middle East, the priority is combating the most dominant and violent force. If that force wins, human rights are completely off the table. Beyond Egypt, President Trump has received considerable backlash in the U.S. for siding with what are seen as repressive regimes, whether it was hosting Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the White House or engaging with dictators and monarchs during the Riyadh Summit.

In order to bring security to the region, alliances need to look at the real instigators and agents of chaos. There is a metastasizing threat that requires a new coalition of the willing. For a nation to do what it must to survive, it needs the steadfast support of world powers. Step one is annihilating all sources of violent Islam.

Shireen Qudosi is the Director of Muslim Matters, with America Matters.

Did Obama’s Libyan War Lead to Manchester Arena Bombing?

May 24, 2017

Did Obama’s Libyan War Lead to Manchester Arena Bombing? Front Page Magazine (The Point), Daniel Greenfield, May 24, 2017

(According to an article just posted at Fox News,

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi apparently wasn’t the only member of his family to harbor extremist views as a Libyan counter-terrorism force arrested the suicide bomber’s younger brother late Wednesday — and as reports emerged about their father’s past as a member of an Al Qaeda-backed group.

Hashem Abedi, who was born in 1997, was arrested in Tripoli on Wednesday evening by the Libyan counter-terrorism force Rada on suspicion of links to the Islamic State, a Libyan spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.

— DM)

We know that Salman Abedi, the Muslim terrorist who perpetrated the Manchester Arena bombing, was a second-generation refugee. His parents were refugees from Libya. While some such refugees were indeed fleeing tyranny. Europe and America all too often took in Islamists who plotted takeovers from European bases. That’s why the Muslim Brotherhood and the Ayatollah both operated that way.

US officials are supposedly saying that Abedi went to Libya a few weeks before the attack and came back several days before the attack. 

Two obvious issues

1. Major parts of Libya are now controlled by ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Anyone traveling there should be flagged.

2. If Salman Abedi traveled to Libya to get training or motivation for the attack, which seems likely, then this is another bloody atrocity (like Benghazi) that is on Obama’s dirty hands. His war to empower Islamists in Libya was illegal and widely opposed by the American people. It led to the murder of four Americans, three in Benghazi, and now a number of young girls in Libya.

If anything deserves a special prosecutor, the role of Obama, Hillary and their associates in this illegal war and its horrifying consequences does.

Rephidim, Amalek then: Bir Gafgafa, ISIS now

April 10, 2017

Rephidim, Amalek then: Bir Gafgafa, ISIS now, DEBKAfile, April 10, 2017

Bir Gafgafa’s mission is to provide the Egyptian forces fighting in Sinai with a shield, as well as securing the Suez, one of the world’s most important waterways, against ISIS attack.

It will also serve as a hub for coordinating air operations over Sinai and the Libyan border. It is vitally important to prevent the jihadist networks based in ungoverned Libya and the lawless heartland of the Sinai Peninsula from reaching Egypt’s main cities.

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They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” The Lord said to Moses, take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord. Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.  Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword. (Exodus 17)

About 3,200 years later, Moses would not have recognized Rephidim. In 1967 it was called Bir Gafgafa and was the site of the Egyptian Air Force’s biggest air facility in Sinai, known as “Egyptian Air Force Base 244.”

From there, Egyptian ruler Gemal Abdul Nasser declared that year: “If Rabin wants war, let’s go!”

And so when the Israeli Air Force preemptively wiped out Nasser’s air force on the ground at the outset of the Six-Day war, Bir Gafgafa was hit first. Rephidim was next transformed into Baha 3, the main Israeli Air Force operations base in Sinai during the War of Attribution and the Yom Kippur war. It was supported 8 kilometers away by a radar and electronic warfare station.

But then, Rephidim aka Bir Gafgafa stepped back into history in its next reincarnation as the very first base from which Israeli withdrew in late 1979 after Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David peace accords, Israel’s first peace pact with an Arab nation.

Another 37 years went by and in 2017 Rephidim now serves another Egyptian President, Abdul-Fatteh El-Sisi, for his life-and-death struggle with the Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate.

The Egyptian Air Force is in the course of transforming the small air field there into the largest air base in Egypt, this time with Israel’s concurrence. The base is being tailored to serve a wide variety of warplanes, attack helicopters and UAVs, with long runways, hangars and storage depots for bombs, missiles and fuel.

The Egyptian have built an enormous hangar 70×57 meters for housing long-range Wing Loong UAVs purchased from China, which are 9 meters long with a 14-meter wing spread. The Wing Loongs are also being deployed at the Uthman Air base in the Western Desert just 68km from the Libyan border.

The huge base will also have a large civilian passenger terminal at its northeastern end to serve the large army contingents deployed in Sinai. Today the 2nd and 3rdArmies are waging war against terror in Sinai supported by Border Guard units which are undertaking special training in anti-terror warfare.

Rephidim is today hemmed in by packs of the new Amalek, the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis which has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi El-Sisi and is battling Egypt under his direction. The base is accessible only by air or convoys escorted by armored vehicles.

But El-Sisi has big plans for defeating them, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Bir Gafgafa’s mission is to provide the Egyptian forces fighting in Sinai with a shield, as well as securing the Suez, one of the world’s most important waterways, against ISIS attack.

It will also serve as a hub for coordinating air operations over Sinai and the Libyan border. It is vitally important to prevent the jihadist networks based in ungoverned Libya and the lawless heartland of the Sinai Peninsula from reaching Egypt’s main cities.

The importance of this mission was demonstrated this week. On April 9, President El-Sisi reported that three gangs of terrorists had infiltrated the country from Libya and sent two suicide bombers to blow up two Coptic churches celebrating Palm Sunday, taking the lives of 45 people and injuring 150.

The jihadist menace points more than one way. The next day, Israel closed the Taba crossing into Egyptian Sinai to Israeli holidaymakers bound for the beach resorts, after its security services had received intelligence of an imminent ISIS death-cum-abduction attack afoot for the 10,000 Israeli trippers.

Russian elite units land on Egypt-Libya border

March 14, 2017

Russian elite units land on Egypt-Libya border, DEBKAfile, March 14, 2017

General Khalifa Haftar 

Russian elite units armed with attack drones were detected on Tuesday, March 14 landing at the big Egyptian air base of Sidi Barrani in the Western Desert near the Libyan border, US military sources reported The incoming Russian troops took up position 95 km from the Libyan border and 240km from the eastern Libyan oil and gas terminals at Tobruk port in eastern Libya. They arrived after their Libyan ally suffered a major defeat.

On March 3, Gen. Khalifa Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA) militia was attacked in the central region by the rival Benghazi Defense Brigades and driven out of five towns, including the country’s biggest oil terminals at Ras Sidi and Ras Lanuf.

Officials in Washington, Moscow and Cairo declined to comment on whether or not the Russians had acted in coordination the Trump administration.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the Russians and Egyptians appear to be preparing to support a counter-offensive by Hafter’s militia to recover the oil facilities.

For some months now, Moscow, Cairo and Qatar have been working together to bolster Gen. Haftar, who strongly challenges the UN-backed government of Tripoli. His LNA has taken delivery of Russian fighter jets and tanks, while the Egyptian air force has bombed the mostly Islamist militias fighting him, some of them branches of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda.

Although Haftar’s troops are engaged in battle with rival militias across a broad swathe of territory, from Sirte in central Libya to Tobruk in the east, his main objective is to seize control of the oil and gas fields and refineries in the eastern ports.

For President Vladimir Putin, support for Gen, Hafter is a key step in Russia’s military and strategic reach for footholds across the Middle East. He has chosen Tobruk as the next Russian air and naval base in the Mediterranean as a counterpoint to Latakia in Syria. Hafter’s LNA will provide protection.

DEBKAfile first picked up on this development three months ago, when our military sources spotted the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov leaving Syrian waters and heading west. The carrier sailed into Tobruk port on Jan. 12. Gen. Hafter was invited on board for a tour of the ship’s facilities and connected to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in his Moscow office for a videotaped chat. This was an exceptional gesture on Moscow’s part in support of a controversial Middle East figure.

More recently, the Libyan general visited Cairo to discuss the details of cooperation between the Egyptian army and the LNA with President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi.

Bravo to Ambassador Haley, for Blocking UN Ploy on ‘Palestine’

February 12, 2017

Bravo to Ambassador Haley, for Blocking UN Ploy on ‘Palestine’, PJ Media,  Claudia Rosett, February 11, 2017

(Please see also, US blocks former Palestinian prime minister from senior UN role in Libya ‘out of support for Israel’.  Thought experiment: what would the reactions, noted in the article linked in the preceding sentence, have been if a “right-wing” former Israeli cabinet minister had been named to the post?– DM)

nikkiUnited Nations, New York, USA, 27 January, 2017 – Nikki R. Haley, new United States Permanent Representative to the UN Presents Credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. (Photo by Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire) (Sipa via AP Images)

Haley’s statement is important not only for its broad message — that President Trump’s administration will steer by his pledges of support to Israel — but also for calling out Guterres on his not-so-subtle attempt to abet the UN’s long push to confer by increments on the Palestinian Authority a legitimacy it has not earned.

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On Thursday United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent the Security Council a letter nominating as the new head of the UN’s mission to Libya a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad —  who was described in the letter as “Salam Fayyad (Palestine).”

America’s new ambassador, Nikki Haley, said no. Having thus blocked Fayyad’s appointment, Haley then put out a statement explaining why:

For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel. The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations, however, we encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution. Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.

Haley’s statement is important not only for its broad message — that President Trump’s administration will steer by his pledges of support to Israel — but also for calling out Guterres on his not-so-subtle attempt to abet the UN’s long push to confer by increments on the Palestinian Authority a legitimacy it has not earned.

The UN spokesman’s office responded by Haley’s objection by sending out a statement that:

The proposal for Salam Fayyad to serve as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Libya was solely based on Mr. Fayyad’s recognized personal qualities and his competence for that position.

United Nations staff serve strictly in their personal capacity. They do not represent any government or country.

This UN claim is disingenuous in the extreme, as the UN spokesman’s office itself then underscored, in the rest of the same statement quoted just above, by saying:

The Secretary-General reiterates his pledge to recruit qualified individuals, respecting regional diversity, and notes that, among others no Israeli and no Palestinian have served in a post of high responsibility at the United Nations. This is a situation that the Secretary-General feels should be corrected, always based on personal merit and competencies of potential candidates for specific posts.

In other words, Secretary-General Guterres, while disavowing any interest in the origins or potential loyalties of any candidate for a UN post, is simultaneously claiming a special interest in appointing — specifically — Israelis and Palestinians. And — lo and behold — Guterres just happens to have kicked off this erstwhile neutral campaign by nominating to a high-level post not an Israeli, but a Palestinian.

On a related note, to which Haley and her colleagues in the Trump administration might want to pay serious attention, there’s some news broken by Inner-City Press and further reported by veteran UN reporter Benny Avni, writing in the New York Sun (sources that often provide a lot more insight into the UN than you’re likely to find in, say, the New York Times; with further disclosure that the New York Sun has published many of my own articles on the UN). According to both Inner-City Press and the Sun, it appears that an influential voice behind Guterres’s nomination of Fayyad was that of the UN’s undersecretary general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.

Feltman is an American, a former U.S. diplomat, who was appointed to his UN post in mid-2012, during President Obama’s first term in office. The UN fiction, as in the case of Fayyad’s nomination, is that such appointments have nothing to do with where a person comes from. That’s malarkey. Behind the scenes, a U.S. administration has plenty of say in such appointments.

In Feltman’s case, the longer he remains at the UN, the more opportunity he will have to try to inveigle more ground for Obama’s pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel policies, while undermining Trump’s agenda for decent treatment of Israel. According to Inner-City Press, Feltman has plenty of incentive to stay on at the UN “until July 4 so that his UN pension vests.” I have no direct confirmation of this situation, and Inner-City attributes its information to unnamed sources. But at the very least, Haley and her team should be in a position to find out what’s going on with Feltman’s continued presence as the UN’s senior official for political affairs, and do something about it. The UN’s chronic efforts to undermine Israel and confer undeserved legitimacy on the Palestinians are quite bad enough, without being driven by qualifying dates for UN pension packages.

For the U.S. to pressure the UN to replace Feltman immediately would be an excellent move. If Guterres — with his paradoxical prerequisites for UN staff —  still wants to place not only Palestinians but Israelis in high-level UN posts, surely to replace Feltman he could find an Israeli nominee who would be entirely acceptable to the U.S., not least on grounds of his or her personal qualities and competence.