I’m certainly looking forward to Ali Abunimah’s FDL Book Salon…!
Now, delving into the muck and mire of the MENA, from Al Jazeera, talk about real Benghazi redux…
Army issues direct challenge to retired general who has mounted unauthorised campaign against Islamists.
The Libyan army has imposed a no fly zone over Benghazi in a direct challenge to a retired general who has been using government aircraft and troops in an unauthorised campaign against Islamist groups.
Major General Khalifa Haftar, who lived in exile in the United States before returning home to lead ground forces in the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, heads what he calls a “National Army”.
On Friday his paramilitary force, backed by warplanes and helicopters, pounded Islamist fighters in Libya’s second biggest city, in clashes that killed at least 36 people and injured another 138.
Interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni denounced Haftar’s forces as “outlaws” and called on all parties to observe restraint.
But earlier on Saturday, Haftar said he would continue his campaign to free Benghazi of “terrorist groups”.
“The operation will continue until Benghazi is purged of terrorists,” Haftar told Libya Awalan television.
Armed forces chief of staff Abdessalam Hadallah al-Salihin denied any army involvement in the Benghazi clashes, although he admitted that some officers and army units had defected to join Haftar.
Later, Haftar spokesman Colonel Mohammad al-Hegazi called on people living in the western Benghazi district of Guwersha and the south’s Sidi Fradj to evacuate their homes.
He did not say if this was a prelude to attacks on those neighbourhoods, which are known to be bastions of the Islamists.
The army’s high command then upped the ante by declaring all of Benghazi and its suburbs a “no fly zone until further notice,” the state-run LANA news agency said.
“All military planes flying over the city will be shot down by army units… and units of the revolutionaries (ex-rebels),” it said.
Now, if that isn’t f*cked up enough, lo and behold, this foul f*ckery…
A breaking news item reported by Al-Jazeera Channel earlier today, 16 May, confirmed that aircrafts were bombing locations belonging to Ansar Al-Shar’ah (Supporters of Shari’ah) and the 17 February Battalions in Benghazi.
Previously, the Algerian Al-Khabar newspaper reported on 12 May that an Israeli website close to the security circles in Tel Aviv said that an American report had warned that Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi might use the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans.
These developments come amid widespread and continuous reports in the Egyptian mass media claiming that a so-called “Egyptian Free Army” was present in eastern Libya.
Al-Khabar noted that the Israeli website Debka said that Field Marshal Al-Sisi, the presidential candidate, plans to resolve Egypt’s economic crisis at the expense of Libyan oil resources. The website explained that Al-Sisi is using the pretext of terrorism along the Egyptian – Libyan borders in order to justify a military operation against the Libyans that will result in the theft of large quantities of oil in Libya’s eastern region.
The report highlighted the anxiety of the United States, which supply Field Marshal Al-Sisi with Apache fighter aircraft. The former army chief, it is believed, now has his sight set on the oil in eastern Libya and that the arms he seeks to obtain from the US will be used to wage war on that country.
According to the Israeli report, Egypt’s Head of Intelligence Muhammad Farid Al-Tuhamy, visited Washington recently and submitted to the U.S. administration a detailed explanation of the threats posed by Al-Qaeda in the Suez region and the area along the borders with Libya. He said to the Americans that fighters from The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) come to Egypt via Jordan and that the regime in Egypt is fighting them. The report also hinted that Al-Sisi may use the American weapons, including the Apache combat aircraft, which were delivered to him by Washington recently, to carry out an offensive in eastern Libya.
Meanwhile, American sources quoted by the World Tribune, claim that the Egyptian army have secured U.S. endorsement and confidence to fight terrorism in the region. According to these sources, the US gave the Egyptian army the green light to launch a military operation in Libya to eradicate the Islamic groups and bomb some of the locations whose specific details were provided by Washington.
Meanwhile, Al Sisi needs to check his own six…
A group of officers supporting Egyptian former chief of staff Sami Anan said that the latter is compiling evidence that would implicate presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in crimes punishable by death.
The “Officers of Egypt Front” said on its Facebook page Friday that Anan is “promising to expose secrets” that would lead to a death sentence against Sisi.
According to the page, known for its backing of Anan as a presidential candidate before he quit the race, said: “Anan decided to leave Sisi for Egyptians to judge him by themselves. He will then return powerfully after Sisi’s arrest, soon.”
In wrapping up…