UAE 'sends US-made aircraft to Libya' despite arms embargo
An Archangle ISR plane at the Dubai airshow in 2015
Islam Times - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has deployed US-made warplanes in support of Khalifa Haftar who heads the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) in eastern Libya that is fighting against the US- and UN-backed government in Tripoli.
At least six turboprop planes showed up in satellite images of an airbase in eastern Libya. This is in clear violation of US policy in Libya and also of a UN arms embargo aimed at stopping the flow of weapons sustaining the war.
The planes at the base seem to be Archangels, a specialized turboprop plane made by Iomax USA, a North Carolina-based company whose CEO confirmed that its airplanes had been deployed in Libya.
However, he said these were not airplanes that we sold to Libya and agreed that that they could have been supplied by the UAE.
However, a spokesman for Haftar's LNA denied the existence of any UAE military presence.
Forces allied to the country’s two rival governments both command tiny air forces and the introduction of new warplanes could tip the scales in the conflict where many of the fighters are armed with ageing assault rifles only.
It is unconfirmed whether the US government knows about the transfer of the planes to Libya or for how long they have been based in the clandestine airbase of al-Khadim in eastern Libya.
A US state department official said: "As a matter of policy, we decline to comment on the details of the department’s interactions with individual private companies and foreign governments".
This is further proof that the UAE is involved in a proxy war supporting the renegade general n the east but it also complicates efforts to resolve the ongoing war via negotiations.
Last week, Haftar met with his rival, the leader of the UN-backed government in Abu Dhabi and agreed to an outline of a deal to end the division between the two governments.
Other parties supporting Haftar's military campaign include Egypt and Russia.
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