Saturday 21 October 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 09/29/17)
Libya’s eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar was quoted on Friday as saying force must remain an option for imposing order in the country, though he added that a political solution would be preferable. Libya has been mired in turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, giving space to Islamist militants and smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe via Italy. Italy and other Western states have tried to work with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, but factions aligned with Haftar control eastern Libya and back a rival government. “It’s obvious that we prefer the political routes, but when these don’t work there must be other solutions,”...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar asked Europe for helicopters and drones to fight rampant migration on the southern border of the war-wracked country. The request came after the commander, who backs a Tobruk-based administration that controls much of the east and south of Libya, travelled to Rome and Paris to bolster his stature as a key player in international efforts to stabilise the country. "When it comes to controlling the southern border, my forces can supply the personnel but you Europeans must send help: drones, helicopters, night vision and vehicles," Haftar said in an interview published Friday in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Former colonial power Italy has been the strongest backer among Western allies for the UN-recognised Government of...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/29/17)
Islamic State militants in Libya set up a desert army composed of at least three brigades after they lost their stronghold of Sirte last year, a senior prosecutor said on Thursday. Hundreds of militants are believed to have escaped from Sirte before or during the seven-month campaign to oust the jihadist group from the coastal city, which it took control of in 2015. Sheltering in desert camps, fugitive militants have become emboldened in recent weeks, occasionally setting up checkpoints on roads to the south and east of Sirte and claiming two deadly attacks against local forces. The United States, which provided air support for the Sirte campaign, has conducted three sets of air strikes targeting the camps - one in...
(Xinhuanet 09/29/17)
The Egyptian military has foiled a smuggling operation by seizing 10 vehicles loaded with arms attempting to cross the border into Egypt from Libya, a military spokesman said Thursday. "The operation resulted in destroying 10 four-by-four vehicles loaded with weapons, ammunition and smuggled material," the military's spokesman Tamer al-Refaay said in a statement. Suffering from repeated terror attacks back home, Egypt is very concerned about its western border with eastern Libya which have been a point of infiltration by militants between the two countries. Since May, the Egyptian air force has destroyed at least 52 vehicles loaded with arms while attempting to cross the border into Egypt along the western border with Libya. Egypt's Western Desert witnessed a terrorist attack...
(AFP (eng) 09/29/17)
Government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa about $237 million since 2015, according to a study released Friday, as authorities increasingly implement planned disruptions. At least 12 countries have had internet shutdowns, often before elections or when protests erupt, with mobile internet networks most recently suspended in Togo during opposition demonstrations. "Internet disruptions, however short-lived, undermine economic growth, disrupt the delivery of critical services, erode business confidence, and raise a country’s risk profile," the CIPESA report said. The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) released its...
(Bloomberg 09/28/17)
Libya’s oil output is rising again after disruptions ended at its biggest field, with production reaching about 950,000 barrels a day even as OPEC and allied suppliers step up efforts to contain a global glut. Output at the North African nation’s Sharara field has recovered to 230,000 barrels a day, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t allowed to speak to the media. Libya was pumping 1.05 million barrels a day in August, the person said, before an armed group closed a pipeline linked to the field and caused Sharara to halt production for more than two weeks. Libya, with Africa’s largest crude reserves, is staging a modest recovery as...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/28/17)
A government based in eastern Libya said on Wednesday it would bar entry to U.S. citizens after President Donald Trump’s administration included Libya in a new travel ban. The eastern-based government of Abdullah al-Thinni is aligned with Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and is opposed to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. Announcing its ban, the eastern-based government said it was responding to “a dangerous escalation that targets Libyan citizens and puts them in the same basket as the terrorists against whom our... armed forces are fighting”. It was not clear when or how the Libyan ban would be enforced. Libya is among eight nations included in a new U.S. visa ban announced on Sunday. It...
(AFP (eng) 09/28/17)
Libya's navy warned it will seize activists' boats on migrant rescue missions that enter its waters unauthorised, after a run-in Wednesday with a German vessel during which a warning shot was fired. "This time we avoided an escalation. In future, we will seize the boats of NGOs that do not respect Libya's sovereignty," said navy spokesman General Ayub Kacem. The Libyan coastguard earlier boarded a boat operated by Germany's "Mission Lifeline" which had picked up 52
(Voice of America 09/28/17)
The U.N. Human Rights Office warns rival governments and armed militias in Libya are in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws and their abusive actions threaten the stability of the country. The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is reviewing a report on the situation. The report makes for grim reading. Six years after former Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi was toppled, it finds armed groups including the internationally recognized Government of National Accord and the opposition Libyan National Army and its allies are creating havoc in the country. U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore says these armed groups are committing widespread, gross violations of human rights, including hostage holding, torturing and killing men, women and...
(Xinhuanet 09/28/17)
Libya's state-owned General Electricity Company on Wednesday signed a 370-million-USD contract with Greece's METKA to build a power plant in the eastern Libyan city Tobruk. The Libyan General Electricity Company said that the power plant would consist of four units, producing a total output of about 740MW. The company confirmed that the project will take 15 months to complete, and that the first generating unit will start functioning in September 2018. The signing of the contract was attended by the Libyan Foreign Minister, Mohamed Sayala, and Secretary General for International Economic Relations of the Greece's Foreign Ministry, Giorgos Tsipras, as well as officials of both companies. Libyan cities suffer daily power blackouts that last for as long as eight hours...
(Xinhuanet 09/28/17)
Libya's interim government on Wednesday announced it would ban entry of U.S. citizens into Libyan territory in response to a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to suspend the entry of Libyans. The eastern government called in a statement the move by the United States a "serious escalation" targeting Libyans, accusing the United States of placing Libyans "in the same place with terrorists, whom the Libyan armed forces are fighting with the help of the Libyan people." It added that the escalation by the United States leaves one choice to the interim government to apply reciprocity by banning the entry of U.S. citizens into Libyan territory. The U.S. Embassy to Libya on Monday announced that entry of Libyan nationals to...
(AFP (eng) 09/27/17)
Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar met Italy's defence minister and security chiefs in Rome Tuesday, bolstering his stature as a key player in international efforts to stabilise his troubled country. Forces under Haftar's command provide backing for a Tobruk-based adminstration that controls much of the east and south of the oil and gas-rich country. Former colonial power Italy has hitherto been the strongest backer among Western allies for the UN-recognised Government of National Unity, which is based in Tripoli and sees Haftar as an arch foe. But that did not prevent Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti from hosting the commander, a one-time ally and later armed opponent of Libya's late dictator Moamer Kadhafi. "The stabilisation of Libya, the fight against international...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/27/17)
The United Nations began a new push on Tuesday to stabilize Libya by getting rival factions to revise the stalled peace plan and set the country on the path to elections. The effort aims to end the turmoil that developed in Libya after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, giving space to Islamist militants and smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe. Political and military fractures have left the country mired in conflict and the OPEC member’s economy in freefall. Rival parliaments and governments have vied for power. Last week, U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame announced a one-year “action plan” for a transition toward presidential and parliamentary elections. The plan got underway on...
(Xinhuanet 09/27/17)
A delegation from Libya's Higher Council of State and representatives of the House of Representatives on Monday have left for neighboring Tunisia to participate in a UN-sponsored political dialogue meeting. The meeting, backed by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), will be held on Tuesday. Ghassan Salame, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UNSMIL, said the meeting aimed to introduce amendments to the current political agreement. Amendment of the political agreement is the first stage of a roadmap proposed by Salame on Wednesday at the high-level meeting on Libya in New York, in order to end the current political crisis of Libya. Salame's proposed action plan includes amendment of the political agreement, holding a UN-sponsored...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/27/17)
A Libyan coast guard vessel fired shots and boarded a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean on Tuesday, demanding that the migrants on board be handed over to them, a spokesman for the Mission Lifeline charity said. “The Libyan man said: ‘This is our territory,'” said Axel Steier, a spokesman for the German-based charity that performed its first rescues on Tuesday. “After a while, they fired shots,” he said, probably into the air or sea. No one was wounded. Afterward two Libyans boarded the Lifeline ship to try to persuade them to hand over some 70 migrants they had just taken off a wooden boat in international waters. “We told them we don’t return migrants to Libya. After a while, they...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel franchise). “The idea is to produce everything in local markets,” says Erwiah. “Particularly in Africa, particularly in Ghana.” The founders set up the company in partnership with the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative, which also works with such socially conscious...
(Middle East Monitor 09/26/17)
Security in the Libyan capital of Tripoli has been increased since Sunday morning after calls by activists on social networks for demonstrations to be held today, Anadolu has reported. Troops and police were deployed in Martyrs’ Square in the centre of Tripoli, where the demonstrations are expected to take place. Vehicles belonging to the Nawasi Brigade, one of the largest battalions loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, were positioned along the coastal highway that leads to Mitiga International Airport, east of the capital. The request for permission to stage the demonstration was rejected by the Tripoli Security Directorate.
(Middle East Monitor 09/26/17)
Moroccan yesterday hosted a two-day workshop to discuss the establishment of a joint electricity network for North African countries including representatives from the Maghreb region and Egypt. Economic Affairs Officer at the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) Reda El Merini said: “The meeting aims to determine the current status of the electricity grid in North Africa, to get a clear vision ahead of implementing any regional networks to transfer power.” The size of trade in the field of electric power is very weak between North African countries and does not exceed five per cent of the volume of production annually. The North African countries vary in the production and diversification of electric power sources, but Libya is considered the weakest due...
(Reuters (Eng) 09/26/17)
Israel’s Elbit Systems Ltd said on Tuesday it won a contract worth $240 million to provide a wide array of defense electronic systems to an unnamed country in Africa. The contract, which will be carried out over a two-year period, is comprised of Directed Infra-red Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems to protect aircraft from shoulder fired missiles, based on passive infrared systems, and includes missile warning systems, radio and communication systems, land systems, mini-unmanned air systems and helicopters upgrade.
(Xinhuanet 09/25/17)
The western Libyan city of Sabratha has witnessed violent clashes for a week between rival armed groups, which have caused dozens of casualties and forced residents to flee their homes. Officials fear the violence might spread to nearby cities and towns, thus further complicating the worsening situation in the country. Mohamed Abdullah, a parliament member, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the clashes erupted because of conflict between the army and militias as increasing domination of militias is making the army felt threatened. The army started attacking strongholds of smugglers, with militias controlling the smuggling of people and fuel.

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