In Libya, “stocks of arms remain high and sufficient to fuel any future conflict”

The number of detected violations of the arms embargo imposed on Libya decreased in 2021 compared to the previous year, but the “Continuous presence” of Chadian, Sudanese, Syrian or Russian fighters represents “Still a serious threat”, estimate in a report of UN experts.

Even though the “Intense pace of delivery” prohibited weapons are no longer in use, “The arms embargo remains totally ineffective”, say the authors of this confidential interim document recently handed over to the fifteen members of the Security Council and to which AFP had access on Tuesday.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Russia and Turkey’s lingering shadow over Libya

For their study, which runs from January to November, the experts visited Libya in April and September and were able to go, for the first time since 2017, to Benghazi (east), stronghold of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, candidate for the presidential election of December 24. They specify that they have also been in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Tunisia.

“Control of supply chains by some member states continues, significantly hampering detection, disruption or interdiction” arms deliveries, the report says, without identifying these countries.

“The authorities’ conciliatory approach”

“Based on transfers in 2020, arms stocks remain high and sufficient to fuel any future conflict”, warn the authors, noting that the majority of the country remains “Controlled by Libyan armed groups who take advantage of a conciliatory approach of the interim authorities”.

Despite their demand for the mercenaries to leave, “The parties to the conflict still maintain foreign fighters among their forces, including nationals of Chad, Sudan and Syria as well as members of private Russian military companies”. “The expert group has no evidence of large-scale withdrawals having taken place to date”, insists the report.

Read also Libya: French company accused of selling electronic surveillance system to Marshal Haftar

Syrian fighters supporting Turkish forces defending Tripoli against Haftar’s forces are paid between $ 800 and $ 2,000 per month, experts say.

They also indicate that the accusations in September of French involvement in southern Libya were rejected by Paris. “France has denied the involvement of its forces in any operation against the FACT [Front pour l’alternance et la concorde au Tchad] on Libyan territory “, relates the report.

Read also In Libya, the candidacy of Gaddafi’s son for the presidential election rejected

Their document finds traffic “Significantly lower in 2021” on airlifts used in 2020 to Libya from the United Arab Emirates, Russia, sometimes via Syria, and Turkey.

Russian military flights to eastern Libya, a country also used as a technical stopover to the Central African Republic, “Decreased by 55%”, those of the Turkish army «From 64%», while“Conversely, the connections of the Syrian company Cham Wings Air increased by 71%, probably for rotations of foreign fighters”, according to experts.

To not miss anything on African news, subscribe to the newsletter of World Africa from this link. Every Saturday at 6 a.m., find a week of current events and debates treated by the editorial staff of World Africa.

The World with AFP