Libya’s Haftar threatens to ‘spread war’ to Algeria

Khalifa Haftar threatened to “spread” war to neighbouring Algeria. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018

Libya’s Haftar threatens to ‘spread war’ to Algeria

  • In a video Haftar says that war could be spread to the Algerian border
  • The Algerian foreign ministry has yet to respond to the commander’s threats

DUBAI: The Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar threatened to “spread” war to neighbouring Algeria if it continues to conduct regular military incursions in Libyan territory.

In a video that circulated on social media, Haftar says that “war could be spread, in moments, to the Algerian border” and that “Libyan forces are ready to go to war immediately.”

He added that Algeria “was exploiting the security situation in Libya” and accused Algeria of sending soldiers to Libya.

The Algerian foreign ministry has yet to respond to the commander’s threats, however, an Algerian source told the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that officials from the ministry held a meeting on Sunday morning to address Haftar’s statements.

According to the source, views varied on whether a response should be made in order to avert any tensions between the two neighbors given Algeria’s mediation efforts in Libya.

Meanwhile, the Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi held talks with Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi on Monday in a bid to strengthen ties.

Talks focused on efforts to organise elections in Libya and to relaunch relations with Italy.

The Libyan capital has been at the centre of a battle for influence between armed groups since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was driven from power and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

Updated 20 March 2019

US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

  • Cites Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Says Iran's ballistic missile test and satellite launches violated UN Security Council resolution

JEDDAH: Iran’s missile program is destabilizing the Middle East, and Tehran risks starting a regional arms race by supplying weapons to armed groups in Lebanon and Yemen, a senior US arms control official said on Tuesday.

“Iran must immediately cease activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and halt the proliferation of missiles and missile technology to terror groups and other non-state actors,” Yleem Poblete, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, said in a speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Iran’s missile program is a key contributor to increased tensions and destabilization in the region, increasing the risk of a regional arms race,” she said, denouncing Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

She said Iran had provided ballistic missiles to the Houthis that were fired into Saudi Arabia and unmanned aerial systems to Houthi groups that enable strikes against land-based targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “We are committed to aggressively countering Iran’s regional proliferation of ballistic missiles and its unlawful arms transfers,” she said.

US President Donald Trump said when he quit the 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities that the agreement failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.

The US has accused Iran of defying a UN Security Council resolution by carrying out a ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December.

Poblete urged “all responsible countries” to enforce UN Security Council resolutions restricting the transfer of missile-related technologies to Iran. She also accused Iran of “pursuing pharmaceutical-based agents for offensive purposes,” but did not provide details.

Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said Iran had the largest ballistic program in the Middle East. “Through its ballistic missile program, the Iranian regime appears determined to escalate tensions in the region and seek every opportunity to project its power in order to reassert its hegemony,” he said. “The international community ought to hold Tehran accountable for its military adventurism and violations of international standards.”