Erdogan faces snub in bid to drag Algeria into Libya war

Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and has repeatedly described Haftar and his forces as illegitimate. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 January 2020

Erdogan faces snub in bid to drag Algeria into Libya war

  • Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli
  • It has repeatedly described strong Khalifa Haftar and his forces as illegitimate

JEDDAH: Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a rebuff in his attempts to drag Algeria into the conflict in Libya, analysts told Arab News on Sunday.

The Turkish president visited Algiers on Sunday for talks with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. 

“We are going to discuss the latest developments in our region, especially Libya,” he said.

Turkey has sent military aid to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, whose fighters have been at war since last April with Libya National Army (LNA) forces led by eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Turkish naval frigates and Algerian vessels took part in naval exercises this month, sparking speculation that Erdogan would ask Tebboune for help with a naval base to conduct its Libyan operations.

Any such request is likely to be denied, experts said. “Algeria is opposed to Turkey’s military intervention in Libya, and indeed to all foreign intervention there,” Yahia Zoubir, director of geopolitics research at the Kedge Business School in Marseille, told Arab News.

“It is even doubtful whether they will allow Turkey to fly over Algerian territory to attack Haftar’s positions near the southeastern border with Algeria.”

Haftar opened a new front in the conflict on Sunday by moving troops from Sirte toward the city of Misrata, which is allied to the GNA. Two LNA fighters were killed and eight wounded fighting forces from Misrata in the town of Abugrain, 120km east.

The new fighting ends a fragile truce. The UAE, Egypt, Russia and Turkey agreed with Western powers at a summit in Berlin last Sunday to push for a lasting cease-fire and uphold an existing UN arms embargo.


Iran warns of lengthy ‘new way of life’ as virus deaths rise

An Iranian army soldier walks through a temporary hospital in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, March 26, 2020. (AP)
Updated 30 March 2020

Iran warns of lengthy ‘new way of life’ as virus deaths rise

  • Without an official lockdown in place, the government has repeatedly urged Iranians to stay home “as much as possible”

TEHRAN: President Hassan Rouhani has warned that “the new way of life” in Iran was likely to be prolonged, as its declared death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 2,640.
Iran is one of the countries worst-hit by the virus, which first originated in China.
Iran announced its first infection cases on Feb. 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January.
At his daily news briefing, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 123 more people in Iran had died from the virus in the past 24 hours.
He reported 2,901 new cases of COVID-19 infection, bringing the overall number of officially confirmed cases to 38,309.
According to the official, 12,391 of those hospitalized have recovered and 3,467 are in “critical” condition.
“We must prepare to live with this virus until a treatment or vaccine is discovered, which has not yet happened to date,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a Cabinet meeting.
“The new way of life we have adopted” is to everyone’s benefit, he said, adding that “these changes will likely have to stay in place for some time.”
After weeks of refraining from imposing lockdown or quarantine measures, Tehran decided Wednesday to ban all intercity travel until at least April 8.
Without an official lockdown in place, the government has repeatedly urged Iranians to stay home “as much as possible.” Schools and universities in some provinces were closed in late February and the measure was later extended to the whole country.
After Rouhani’s warning, the reopening of schools following this year’s new year holidays of March 19 to April 3 appears unlikely.

FASTFACT

Iran announced its first infection cases on Feb. 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January

On a positive note, Rouhani said he had been told by top health experts and doctors that “in some provinces we have passed the peak (of the epidemic) and are on a downward trajectory.”
Several Iranian government officials and notable figures have been infected by the new coronavirus, some of whom have died.
The most recent case of infection was Mohammed-Reza Khatami, brother of former president Mohammad Khatami and an ex-deputy speaker of parliament.
He is currently hospitalized.
Iraj Harirchi, a deputy health minister who tested positive for the virus in late February, has returned to public life and appeared on state television to emphasize safety precautions.