Egypt, UAE carried out Tripoli air strikes — US officials

Updated 27 August 2014

Egypt, UAE carried out Tripoli air strikes — US officials

WASHINGTON: Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were responsible for carrying out two series of air strikes in the past week on armed Islamist factions in Tripoli, Libya, US officials said on Monday.
The officials said the two Arab countries used aircraft based in Egypt.
Earlier the New York Times reported that the two US allies acted without consulting Washington, and that Egyptian officials told US diplomats that Cairo was not involved. Egypt has denied conducting air strikes or other military operations in Libya.
Over the weekend, Tripoli residents said unidentified war planes attacked targets in the capital, as Libya is riven by the worst fighting since the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. There were also strikes on Islamist-held positions last Monday.
Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, was skeptical about Egypt and UAE involvement.
“I don’t believe it,” he told Reuters in New York.
“They are not even technically capable, and it would also be a very sensitive thing for them politically,” he said. He declined to speculate on who else might have been behind the air strikes.
Rebel forces from the Libyan city of Misrata had already blamed the air strikes on Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, both of which have cracked down on Islamists.
The Times quoted US officials as saying Egypt had provided launching bases for the strikes, while the pilots, warplanes and aerial refueling planes were from the UAE.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki refused to address the report when asked about it on Monday at a regular State Department briefing in Washington.
“I am not in a position to provide any additional information on these strikes,” she said, clarifying that she was referring to the reports of air strikes.
Psaki said: “Libya’s challenges are political and violence will not resolve them. Our focus is on the political process there. We believe outside interference exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition.
In the campaign to overthrow Qaddafi, fighters from Zintan and Misrata were comrades-in-arms. But they later fell out and this year have turned parts of Tripoli into a battlefield, with the weak government unable to control the armed factions.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney in Washington and Lou Charbonneau in New York; Editing by David Storey and Gunna Dickson)


Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

Updated 17 October 2019

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

  • With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, there is no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground, says Hawass

 CAIRO: World-renowned Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass has affirmed the importance of Egyptian archaeology around the globe.

“There isn’t a country that does not love Egyptian archaeology,” Hawass, who was minister of state for antiquities affairs, told Arab News.

With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, Hawass said there was no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground.

“We don’t want to discover everything. We want to start by preserving and preparing the historical monuments which we have discovered, then start thinking about what is still undiscovered,” Hawass said.

So, restoration and preservation are the main goals for now.

With the new Grand Egyptian Museum still in the works, it seems likely that archaeology will be put in the spotlight once again, with more room for Egyptian artifacts to be showcased and appreciated rather than hidden, as in the old Tahrir museum.

“No one in the world doesn’t know Egypt. Egyptian archaeology is in the hearts of all people all across the world,” Hawass said.

This explains the immense popularity the new museum is expecting, located as it is, minutes away from the Pyramids of Giza.

Another reason behind its expected popularity is the attention ancient Egyptian figures have received across the years.

“Among the most famous ancient Egyptian figures, even for those who are not interested in monuments, we have King Kufu, who built the greatest pyramid, because that pyramid is something everyone talks about,” Hawass said.

He added that King Tutankhamun was popular because his coffin was restored whole, as was King Ramses II, the most famous of Egyptian kings, and Queen Cleopatra. Each of these figures gained fame due to popular tales and monuments attached to them.

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass. (AFP)

Hawass plays a crucial role in drawing awareness about Egyptian archaeology around the world as well as focusing on the current situation in Egypt.

“I lecture everywhere (about archaeology)” he said. “Two to three thousand people attend each of my lectures. So I take advantage of to tell people everywhere that Egypt is safe and that Egypt is run by a president whom we have chosen. I am trying to change the perception about Egypt.”

As part of his efforts to promote Egypt and Egyptian culture, Hawass recently visited Japan.

“They (the Japanese) love archaeology. I would never have expected to be famous in Japan, but as a result of their love of Egyptian archaeology, they know me,” Hawass explained.

This is but a speck in the eventful career Hawass has led — which all started by accident.

“As a child I wanted to become a lawyer, so I enrolled in law school at 16 but realized that it wasn’t something I could do. So I left law and decided to study literature. There they told me about a new section called archaeology,” Hawass said.

After graduating Hawass went to work for the government, which he dreaded, until his first project came along. Workers came across a statue hidden inside a coffin which he had to clean. During the process he found his passion for archaeology. He went on to pursue his graduate studies on the subject.

“I went from failure to success thanks to one thing: Passion. When a person is passionate about something, he excels in it.”

Hawass did not point out his most successful or most preferred moment in his career, so full his life has been of memorable events.

“You cannot prefer one of your children over another. They’re all in my heart, all of the discoveries I have made.”