Israel claims Iran is sending weapons to Libya's UAE-backed militia leader, Khalifa Haftar

Israel claims Iran is sending weapons to Libya's UAE-backed militia leader, Khalifa Haftar
2 min read
21 May, 2020
Khalifa Haftar lost control of a key Libyan airbase this week.
Libya is in the midst of a fierce war between rival authorities [Getty]
Israel's UN envoy has accused Iran of sending weapons to Libyan rebel leader Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are already receiving backing from a number of foreign powers, including the UAE.

Danny Danon accused Iran contravening an arms embargo on Libya by sending anti-tank missiles to Haftar, in a letter to the Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Anadolu Agency revealed on Wednesday.

"In November 2019, imagery surfaced of four Iranian 'Dehlaviyeh' anti-tank guided missile systems being employed by militias associated with General Haftar's forces in Libya," Danon wrote in the letter, dated 8 May.

"The presence of this advanced Iranian-manufactured system on Libyan soil is another grave violation of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), as set forth in article 6 (b) of annex B, which prevents ‘the supply, sale, or transfer of arms or related materiel from Iran."

Haftar has support from a number of foreign powers, but most notably one of Iran's arch-rivals, the UAE.

Abu Dhabi has been one of Haftar's key backers in his rebellion against the UN-recognised, Turkish-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli, which has included air support.

Egypt has been another ally of Haftar in the war, while Russia is also accused of sending weaponry and mercenaries.

On Thursday, Haftar's militia air force warned it would begin an "unprecedented" air campaign against Turkish forces in Libya, which have helped the GNA turn the tide in the war.

This week, eight Soviet-era fighter jets flew from Syria to eastern Libya, which is controlled by Haftar's forces, the GNA said.

The UAE has re-kindled ties with the Syrian regime - which is backed by Iran - viewed, by some, as a way of undermining Turkey's influence in the region.

This includes the UAE sending aid to Bashar Al-Assad and re-opening its embassy in Damascus, despite the Syrian regime's pariah status in the Arab world due to his brutal suppression of peaceful protests in 2011.

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