Libyan TV airs video showing alleged UAE military involvement

The video appears to show an Emirati officer directing Haftar forces in a Russian-made air defence system.

A local Libyan channel allied to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) has aired a video showing the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) alleged involvement in military operations in the country.

The Free Libya channel broadcast the short video, which appears to show an Emirati officer, instructing forces from the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) – led by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar – to bomb a GNA target.

The recording also shows the Emirati officer inside the Russian-made Pantsir S1 air-defence system in eastern Libya.

Al Jazeera has reached out to UAE authorities for comment but has yet to receive a reply. 

Haftar is supported by the UAE, Egypt and Russia, while the Tripoli-based administration of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has secured the backing of Turkey.

Ankara’s support for the GNA seems to have turned the tide against Haftar’s forces, which have been forced to retreat further to the east.

In the past several weeks, the forces loyal to the GNA have registered a string of military victories in the country’s west and around Tripoli, aborting Haftar’s year-long military campaign to capture the capital.

Hundreds of people have been killed and another 200,000 driven from their homes since Haftar launched the assault last April.

But the military setbacks he suffered over the past week – including the loss of the strategic city of Tarhuna and Tripoli’s southern suburbs – have resulted in a revamping of diplomatic efforts.

On Saturday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in the presence of Haftar and Aguila Saleh, leader of the rival administration based in the eastern city of Tobruk that supports Haftar, announced a new initiative for Libya that included a ceasefire starting on Monday. The initiative also proposed an elected leadership council to govern the divided country of six million people.

El-Sisi said the initiative, dubbed the “Cairo Declaration”, included a call for negotiations in Geneva and the exit of all foreign fighters from Libya.

But the GNA has rejected the ceasefire and has pledged to move on with its offensive to enter the city of Sirte in central Libya, which marks the gateway to the country’s oilfields in the east and the south.

The country descended into chaos following the killing of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 uprising. In recent years, Libya has become the site of a proxy war between regional players.

Source: Al Jazeera