Bashagha on Hafter and the motivation for foreign interference in Libya
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 6 July 2019:
Speaking to the Al-hurra television station yesterday, Fathi Bashagha, Minister of Interior of the Faiez Serraj-led Government of National Accord said that he did not “know why an Emirati Minister is commenting about Libya or why the UAE is interfering in Libyan affairs. Libya is very far away from UAE and does not pose a direct threat to the UAE.”
Bashagha was speaking about his accusation of interference by Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia in the current Libyan fighting.
He made no reference to accusations of Turkish or Qatari interference in Libyan affairs.
It will be recalled that the mainly eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and aligned forces led by Khalifa Hafter launched an attack on Tripoli on 4 April. The motivation given for this attack was to liberate Tripoli from “terrorists and militias”.
Bashagha added that Libya believes that “there is an F-16 owned by UAE which is trying to impede the defeat of Haftar’s militias in Tripoli.
We believe this F-16 carried out the strike against the (Tajura) migrant shelter and also the front lines of the battlefield and Tripoli’s international airport in Ben Ghashir.”
Explaining what he sees as the motivation for the interference by some Arab countries in Libya’s affairs, Bashagha added that “There are countries seeking to control Libya and its resources.
These countries feel Libya would be a major investment and economic competitor if it’s stabilized. This would end the economic hegemony of these countries, therefore, they sought to preemptively start chaos in Libya.”
With regards to the ongoing fighting against the Hafter aligned forces, Bashagha said that he believed that “in the coming days we will witness further developments in the battle field and GNA forces will control more territories.”
Bashagha commented on recent accusations by the Hafter side saying that
“Haftar’s militias are trying to create a distraction to cover up for their defeat in Gharian. They are attempting to distract countries which support the GNA.”