Libya’s Haftar announces ‘decisive battle’ for Tripoli

Libya’s Haftar announces ‘decisive battle’ for Tripoli
The fighting in Libya has displaced some 146,000 people. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 December 2019

Libya’s Haftar announces ‘decisive battle’ for Tripoli

Libya’s Haftar announces ‘decisive battle’ for Tripoli
  • Dressed in military uniform, he announced “the decisive battle and the advance on the heart of Tripoli”
  • Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj called on Libyans to rally around him in the defense of the nation

TRIPOLI: Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar announced a “decisive battle” for the capital Tripoli on Thursday, eight months after he launched an offensive to wrest it from the government.

“Zero hour has come for the broad and total assault expected by every free and honest Libyan,” he said in a speech aired by the Al-Hadath channel.

Dressed in military uniform, he announced “the decisive battle and the advance on the heart of Tripoli.” Now move forward, “each to his own goal,” he ordered his troops.

Since the fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed uprising, Libya has been torn apart by violence between multiple armed groups, many of them backed by foreign powers.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army, which controls much of the country’s east, launched an assault on April 4 to seize Tripoli from the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Haftar says the GNA is backed by “terrorist” groups.

FASTFACT

 

Since the fall and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed uprising, Libya has been torn apart by violence between multiple armed groups, many of them backed by foreign powers.

The GNA said that the situation was “under control” and that its troops were holding their positions in the capital’s south. 

“We are ready to push back any more ... attempt by the Haftar putsch leader,” said GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha on Libya Al-Ahrar television.

Haftar had foreseen a quick victory, but despite vowing in July that success was “imminent,” his forces have remained bogged down on the outskirts of the capital.

Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj called on Libyans to rally around him in the defense of the nation.

In a video posted on the Libyan government’s Facebook page, Sarraj dismissed Haftar’s claim about a new push as “lies” and “delusions” and said his forces have already “taught the invaders a lesson.”

“I call upon you to rally around the project of a civil state and to show faith in our right to build a state, based on institutions, the rule of law and liberties,” Sarraj said. “Libya can only end up as an oasis for freedom and democracy.”

The latest crisis comes amid heightened tension between the two warring sides after Sarraj’s government signed a security arrangement and maritime deal with Turkey last month. 

Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyeb Erdogan said the agreement gives his country the right to send troops to Libya to fend off Hafter’s forces from Tripoli.

The head of the EU’s delegation for relations with Maghreb Countries, Andrea Cozzolino, said she was concerned about Hafter’s threats and warned that a new offensive would only lead “to more suffering for the Libyan civilian population, who have already paid a high price.”

At least 200 civilians and more than 2,000 fighters have been killed since the start of Haftar’s assault on Tripoli, according to the United Nations. The fighting has also displaced some 146,000 people.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.