Libya’s Haftar ‘nothing but a pirate’: Erdogan

Self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) Chief of Staff, Khalifa Haftar. (Filippo Monteforte / AFP)
Updated 04 July 2019

Libya’s Haftar ‘nothing but a pirate’: Erdogan

  • Turkey supports the internationally recognized national unity government in Tripoli
  • Six Turkish sailors were briefly detained by General Haftar’s forces this week after he blamed Turkey for his loss of a key town

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar as “nothing but a pirate” in comments published Thursday amid rising tensions in the North African country.
Turkey supports the internationally recognized national unity government in Tripoli, which Haftar has been trying to overthrow from his base in the east of the country.
Six Turkish sailors were briefly detained by General Haftar’s forces this week after he blamed Turkey for his loss of a key town.
“Haftar is nothing but a pirate,” Erdogan told reporters in comments published in several local newspapers.
“We hope that in a short while an opportunity for Libya to hold elections emerges and the people take the chance to represent their rights democratically,” he added.
Erdogan confirmed in June that Turkey was provided weapons to the Tripoli government, saying it was necessary to “rebalance” the fight against Haftar, who has the backing of Turkey’s rivals, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.


Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

Updated 17 January 2020

Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

  • The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17
  • The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis

BEIRUT: Protesters blocked several main roads across Lebanon on Friday as unprecedented demonstrations against a political elite accused of corruption and incompetence entered their fourth month.
The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17 has resurged this week, over delays in forming a new cabinet to address the country’s growing economic crisis.
No progress seemed to have been made on a final lineup, which protesters demand be made up solely of independent experts and empty of traditional political parties.
In central Beirut, dozens of protesters Friday stood between parked cars blocking a key thoroughfare linking the city’s east and west.
“We blocked the road with cars because it’s something they can’t move,” Marwan Karam said.
The protester condemned what he regarded as efforts to form yet another government representing the usual carve-up of power between the traditional parties.
“We don’t want a government of masked political figures,” the 30-year-old told AFP. “Any such government will fall. We won’t give it any chance in the street.”
Forming a new cabinet is often a drawn-out process in Lebanon, where a complex system seeks to maintain balance between the various political parties and a multitude of religious confessions.
Nearby, Carlos Yammine, 32, said he did not want yet another “cake-sharing government.”
“What we have asked for from the start of the movement is a reduced, transitional, emergency government of independents,” he said, leaning against his car.


Elsewhere, demonstrators closed roads including in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli, though some were later reopened, the National News Agency said.
The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis that Lebanon has witnessed since its 1975-1990 civil war.
The protests this week saw angry demonstrators attack banks following the imposition of sharp curbs on cash withdrawals to stem a liquidity crisis.
On Thursday night, protesters vandalized three more banks in the capital’s Hamra district, smashing their glass fronts and graffitiing ATMs, an AFP photographer said.
Earlier, Lebanon’s security services released most of the 100-plus protesters detained over the previous 48 hours, lawyers said.
Human Rights Watch on Friday condemned the arrests and the response of security forces to protests outside a police station on Wednesday night demanding detainees be released.
“The unacceptable level of violence against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters on January 15 calls for a swift independent and transparent investigation,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the rights watchdog.
Over the past few months, the Lebanese pound — long pegged to the US dollar at 1,507 — has fallen in value on the unofficial market to around 2,500.
The World Bank has warned that the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise from a third to a half if the political crisis is not remedied fast.