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

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


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.