Rival Libyan forces clash west of Sirte

Ahmad al-Mesmari, spokesman for Haftar's forces, addresses the media in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on January 6, 2020. ( AFP)
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Updated 08 January 2020

Rival Libyan forces clash west of Sirte

  • LNA took control of Sirte, a strategically important city in the center of Libya’s Mediterranean coastline
  • GNA forces said they withdrew from Sirte to avoid bloodshed

BENGHAZI: East Libya-based forces said they carried out air strikes on Wednesday on a coastal road west of Sirte, a day after nine of their men were killed in a strike by rivals.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) took control of Sirte, a strategically important city in the center of Libya’s Mediterranean coastline, in a rapid advance on Monday and is seeking to consolidate gains.
Since April, the LNA has also been waging a campaign to take the capital, Tripoli, about 370km (230 miles) northwest of Sirte, where it is battling forces aligned with the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
GNA forces said they withdrew from Sirte to avoid bloodshed.
Those forces are mainly from the port of Misrata, 190km east of Tripoli, and had controlled Sirte since driving Daesh from the city in late 2016.
On Tuesday afternoon, clashes broke out around Al-Washka, on the road between Sirte and Misrata, where LNA sources said nine of their men were killed in an evening drone strike.
On Wednesday, the LNA responded with strikes near the Abu Grein checkpoint, close to Al-Washka, where clashes were continuing, LNA military officials said.
Libya has been divided since 2014 into rival camps based in Tripoli and the east, each with its own set of institutions, and Haftar’s offensive against Tripoli upended UN efforts to broker a political settlement.
Turmoil in Libya, where strongman Muammar Qaddafi’s long rule was toppled in 2011, has in recent years disrupted the OPEC member’s oil production, fueled migrant smuggling to Europe, and given space to Islamist extremists.
Regional powers have upped intervention, with Turkey backing the GNA and the LNA receiving support from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt.
The European Union’s top diplomat and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Italy this week condemned Turkey’s plans to send military experts and trainers to Libya, saying interference was exacerbating instability.


‘Make yourself invaluable’: Carlos Ghosn offers executive training in troubled Lebanon

Updated 29 September 2020

‘Make yourself invaluable’: Carlos Ghosn offers executive training in troubled Lebanon

  • The Lebanese-French executive has unveiled a plan to shake up the business school at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik
  • Ghosn plans programs to coach top executives, offer technology training and help start-ups that will create jobs

BEIRUT: Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan and Renault head who fled Japan where he was facing trial, is launching a university management and business program in Lebanon, a nation mired in a deep crisis blamed on years of misrule, mismanagement and corruption.
Nine months after his dramatic escape to Beirut from Tokyo, the Lebanese-French executive has unveiled a plan to shake up the business school at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK), a private university north of the Lebanese capital.
Ghosn, credited with turning round the Japanese and French carmakers before he faced charges of financial wrongdoing that he denies, plans programs to coach top executives, offer technology training and help start-ups that will create jobs.
Ghosn, a fugitive from a Japanese justice system he says was rigged against him, has found refuge in his childhood home Lebanon where the economy is collapsing under debts amassed since the 1975-1990 civil war. A devastating blast in Beirut on Aug. 4 compounded Lebanon’s woes.
“Obviously I am not interested in politics but I will dedicate time and effort into supporting Lebanon during this difficult period,” he told Reuters at the weekend, ahead of Tuesday’s formal launch during a press conference of his new university program.
“This is about creating jobs, employment and entrepreneurs to allow society to take its role into the reconstruction of the country,” Ghosn told a press conference at USEK on Tuesday.
Ghosn, who was approached by USEK in the weeks after arriving in Lebanon at the end of December, said the programs aimed to offer practical help. He will help supervise.
Drawing on his experience, the focus for the executive program would be turning around companies in trouble, corporations struggling with a troubled environment and how to “make yourself invaluable” in a company.
Ghosn said several international executives had agreed to give pro bono courses, such as Jaguar and Land Rover Chief Executive Thierry Bolloré, former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman Ken Curtis and venture capitalist Raymond Debbane.
The short courses, expected to start in March, would be open to 15 to 20 senior executives in Lebanon and the Middle East.
‘ROLE MODEL’
“The role model is my experience, what I think are the basic needs of a top executive in a very competitive environment,” he said, adding that, when he was in charge, Nissan’s executive training program in Japan had been open to other companies.
The second USEK program, subsidised by the executive program, would train people on new technologies, such as computer-assisted design and artificial intelligence.
Ghosn said Lebanon’s jewelry exporters were among those who would benefit from the use of software to help with designs.
The third program would act as an incubator for start-ups, and he aimed to invest in two projects. “I am mainly interested in projects that have environmental impact,” he said, citing the example of a project to turn sewage into fertilizer.
“You are creating entrepreneurs which are badly needed, you are creating employment,” he said, adding he had been persuaded to work with USEK by the president of the Maronite Christian institution, Father Talal Hachem, and his young team.
Ghosn said he had also chosen to work with USEK, rather than some of the bigger Lebanese universities, because he liked the idea of working with an institution that drew in a broad range of students, not just the wealthy.
“These students need help more than anybody else. This is the class that has been smashed by the situation today,” he told Reuters.
“I’m going to help in the way I can,” he said. “I’m going to help build the economy by helping to solve problems that every Lebanese is facing today.”