Libyan Tawergha families displaced in 2011 to return home

Fayez Serraj. (AFP file)
Updated 27 December 2017
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Libyan Tawergha families displaced in 2011 to return home

BENGHAZI: Libyan families displaced from the town of Tawergha after being driven out by militias following the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that evolved into a ruinous civil war can return in February, the head of the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, said.
The decision, announced Tuesday by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, follows a reconciliation deal between representatives of Tawergha and the city of Misrata, which previously fought on opposing sides. Serraj's government ratified the agreement in June.
Tawergha was used as a staging ground for attacks on Misrata during the uprising that eventually toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Anti-Qaddafi militias, mainly from Misrata, ransacked the town and drove out its residents, believing they had aided Qaddafi's forces. Tawergha, located some 38 km south of Misrata, has been a ghost town since.
Tawergha's residents have since been living in camps and makeshift housing across Libya. Human Rights Watch estimates the number of those displaced from the town to stand at about 40,000. The Tawergha community is a racially distinct group with darker skin than most Libyans, making it even harder for them to navigate the country's chaotic post-revolutionary environment.
Libya descended into chaos since 2011 and is now split between rival governments and myriad militias.


Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

Updated 43 min 29 sec ago
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Iraq offers to mediate in crisis between US and Iran

  • ‘We are trying to help and to be mediators’
  • The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers

BAGHDAD: Iraq offered to mediate in the crisis between its two key allies, the United States and Iran, amid escalating Middle East tensions and as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers steadily unravels.
Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammed Al-Hakim, made the offer Sunday during a joint news conference in Baghdad with visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“We are trying to help and to be mediators,” said Al-Hakim, adding that Baghdad “will work to reach a satisfactory solution” while stressing that Iraq stands against unilateral steps taken by Washington.
In recent weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran soared over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf over a still-unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran.
The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran’s missiles, which can reach both US regional bases and Israel.
Zarif, who was been on a whirlwind diplomatic offensive to preserve the rest of the accord, insisted that Iran “did not violate the nuclear deal” and urged European nations to exert efforts to preserve the deal following the US pullout.
Speaking about the rising tensions with the US, Zarif said Iran will be able to “face the war, whether it is economic or military through steadfastness and its forces.” He also urged for a non-aggression agreement between Iran and Arab countries in the Gulf.
The mediation offer by Al-Hakim, Iraq’s foreign minister, echoed one made Saturday by Mohamad Al-Halbousi, the Iraqi parliament speaker. Al-Hakim also expressed concern for Iran’s spiraling economy.
“The sanctions against sisterly Iran are ineffective and we stand by its side,” Al-Hakim said.