UAE establishes military base in eastern Libya with France's assistance to give Haftar's forces a hand

UAE establishes military base in eastern Libya with France's assistance to give Haftar's forces a hand

November 01, 2016 - 19:04
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Written By: AbdulkaderAssad

The United Arab Emirates has now officially been shown to have obtained ground in Libya’s east through a military base it had set up in Al-Marj on the site of an old airstrip in a region known as Al-Sulaiyah, according to The New Arab.

“The UAE’s military base supports the operations of Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya,” a Libyan military official formerly affiliated to the renegade Gen. confirmed to The New Arab.

The military base has been established under the supervision of Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in collaboration with French officials, it added.

The website elaborated saying that the source stressed the fact that the UAE wants to maintain a presence on Libyan territory in order to act in support of Haftar’s military operations, and to protect his main base in al-Marj.

It added that before the Emirati military base was set up on the ground in eastern Libya, UAE’s jet fighters backing Haftar used to take off from bases in western Egypt.

“The military base for the UAE in Al-Marj was a result of negotiations earlier this year by the UAE and France with Haftar, who gave them an agricultural airstrip" for their operations,” The New Arab reported the source as saying.

Remarkably enough, the source told The New Arab that the airbase equipment began arriving since February along with medical and humanitarian aid sent by the UAE.

“The Emirati Lockheed C-130 Hercules planes have been converted to carry munitions and bombs and were later joined by French Mirage-5 planes.” It explained, referring to the delusion used by the UAE to ship ammunition and weapons to Haftar’s forces via normal cargo planes.

The source also told the website that 3 UAE planes are used for reconnaissance tasks and light combat missions with Pakistani pilots, while the French jets are used in bombing and airstrikes in support of Haftar's forces, most recently in operations between Ajdabiya and Benghazi.

It added that only Haftar and his close associates are allowed to enter the UAE military base, adding that the source claimed that some Egyptian and foreign officers had been seen inside it many times.

IHS Jane has reported last Friday that the United Arab Emirates had established a military base in east Libya to back Khalifa Haftar's self-proclaimed army in its ongoing war in Benghazi.

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