By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 17 February 2015:
The UN Security Council has agreed to hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss Libya . . .[restrict]in the wake of the IS massacre of 21 Egyptians on a beach somewhere near Sirte.
The Egyptian government is pressing the UN to approve a mandate for international military action against IS in Libya. Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has called for an UN-backed coalition to take on IS in the country. Egyptian warplanes have already attacked targets in Derna. There have been reports of attacks against targets in Sirte and elsewhere but these are yet to be confirmed.
Egypt has also asked for the UN ban on the supply of weapons to be lifted for the Libyan government in Beida.
In signalling its approach to the UN, Sissi told Egyptians in a broadcast last night “We will not allow them to cut the heads off our children”.
Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam reinforced the president’s declaration, saying “ the blood of our Christians children and brothers is the same blood as that of Muslims which belongs to the Egyptian nation”
The UN is likely to be cautious about the Egyptian request. While there is revulsion and anger at the horrific murder the Egyptian Copts, there is also concern that an intervention mandate could morph into an Egyptian campaign against Libya Dawn rebels based in Tripoli and Misrata.
The UN’s agency in Libyan, UNSMIL has been trying to broker talks between the rebels based in Tripoli and Misrata and the parliament in Tobruk and the government it appointed which is working out of Beida. For the UN to back the Egyptian motion might very well kick into touch the UNSMIL peace initiative led by its chief Bernardino Leon. [/restrict]