Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
The Tripoli-based GNA confirmed that among the weaponry seized on June 26 were a number of U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Libya’s UN-backed government of National Accord (GNA) stated on Saturday that it found United States (U.S.)-made missiles after its forces recaptured the strategic city of Gharyan, from Libya National Army's (LNA) forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar.
The Tripoli-based GNA confirmed that among the weaponry seized on June 26 were a number of U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles, stored in wooden crates with the words "armed forces of the United Arab Emirates" (UAE). The manufacturers are Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
A military spokesman for the GNA, Mohammed Qununu, said that in addition, Haftar’s fighters who fled Gharyan left behind Nimr combat vehicles produced by the UAE.
"The seized weapons and ammunition have been sent to the specialized experts and have been documented," he added.
#Libya: Weapons captured from #LNA when the #GNA captured Garyan, including M79 Osa, HMGs, a 9K113, and at least 4 FGM-148 Javelin!
Also included was Chinese GP-1 155mm Guided Artillery Shells, known to be in Libya & other arms marked as from the UAE.
The UAE is a major buyer of U.S. arms. Between 2013 and 2017, the Middle Eastern nation became the second-largest buyer of U.S. arms. Since 2009, over US$27 billion in weapons have been offered to the UAE in thirty-two separate deals under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program. Saudi Araba is the first importer with sales of US$112 in the same timespan.
Also, the UAE is one of Haftar’s main international supporters. So if proven that the country did, in fact, provide the weapons to Haftar's forces, it would likely be a violation of arms sales agreements with the U.S. and the U.N. arms embargo on Libya.
"We are aware of these reports and we are seeking additional information. We expect all recipients of U.S. origin defense equipment to abide by the end-use obligations," the U.S. State Department told Al Jazeera.
U.N. officials announced on May 6 that they are conducting an investigation into the UAE's role in the missile-strike offensive against Tripoli, launched by the LNA. An initial report was filed to the agency's Security Council noting that alleged photographs of debris from the strike allowed experts to identify the weapon as a Blue Arrow air-to-surface missile.
Gharyan: a Key to Take Tripoli
The recapture of Gharyan was an important win for the GNA as it was the main base for the LNA in its bid to overtake Tripoli. The city was where supplies arrived from the east for the political and military force under the leadership of LNA’s Haftar.
The LNA commander has been trying to incite a revolt in Tripoli amid signs of popular agitation against the Tripoli-based GNA. The fight for Tripoli has killed at least 700 people, forced 75,000 out of their homes and trapped thousands of migrants in detention centers.
From 2014 and on, Libya has had two political power centers, the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, that is having a hard time governing the capital city and some western areas, and another government in Tobruk, an eastern city which has remained under Haftar's control.
The North-African nation has major oil reserves. It had been under foreign rule for centuries and gained independence in 1951. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and ruled the country for four decades until he was toppled in 2011 by Western military intervention.
The country has since been in chaos with political forces unable to stabilize it. It also transformed in a key point of departure for migrants heading for Europe, and a source of international concern over the rise of Islamists groups.