Erdogan faces snub in bid to drag Algeria into Libya war

Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and has repeatedly described Haftar and his forces as illegitimate. (File/AFP)
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Updated 27 January 2020

Erdogan faces snub in bid to drag Algeria into Libya war

  • Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli
  • It has repeatedly described strong Khalifa Haftar and his forces as illegitimate

JEDDAH: Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a rebuff in his attempts to drag Algeria into the conflict in Libya, analysts told Arab News on Sunday.

The Turkish president visited Algiers on Sunday for talks with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. 

“We are going to discuss the latest developments in our region, especially Libya,” he said.

Turkey has sent military aid to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, whose fighters have been at war since last April with Libya National Army (LNA) forces led by eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Turkish naval frigates and Algerian vessels took part in naval exercises this month, sparking speculation that Erdogan would ask Tebboune for help with a naval base to conduct its Libyan operations.

Any such request is likely to be denied, experts said. “Algeria is opposed to Turkey’s military intervention in Libya, and indeed to all foreign intervention there,” Yahia Zoubir, director of geopolitics research at the Kedge Business School in Marseille, told Arab News.

“It is even doubtful whether they will allow Turkey to fly over Algerian territory to attack Haftar’s positions near the southeastern border with Algeria.”

Haftar opened a new front in the conflict on Sunday by moving troops from Sirte toward the city of Misrata, which is allied to the GNA. Two LNA fighters were killed and eight wounded fighting forces from Misrata in the town of Abugrain, 120km east.

The new fighting ends a fragile truce. The UAE, Egypt, Russia and Turkey agreed with Western powers at a summit in Berlin last Sunday to push for a lasting cease-fire and uphold an existing UN arms embargo.


French extremist trained by Paris attacks leader given 12-year jail term

Updated 25 February 2020

French extremist trained by Paris attacks leader given 12-year jail term

  • Reda Hame, 34, was sentenced to 12 years in jail

PARIS: A French court on Tuesday handed a 12-year jail term to a computer technician who traveled to Syria to wage war and trained under the suspected ringleader of the 2015 Paris attacks.
Reda Hame, 34, who was convicted of participating in a criminal conspiracy aimed at harming people, received weapons training and a mission from Abdelhamid Abaaoud during his eight-day stay in Syria in the summer of 2015.
Abaaoud, who is believed to have coordinated the November 2015 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris, taught him how to fire an assault rifle and handle a grenade.
He then dropped him off at the Turkish border with orders to return home and carry out an attack on behalf of the Daesh group.
Hame told investigators that Abaaoud, who was killed in a shootout with French police after the Paris attacks, asked him if he would be prepared to shoot into a crowd, giving as an example a rock concert.
But the Paris native, who was arrested on his return to France, insisted that he never had any intention of following Daesh’s orders.
Styling himself an Daesh deserter, he told the court he only pretended to accept his mission to escape the horrors of the Syrian war and regretted ever enlisting with Daesh.
The prosecution had challenged his account of his change of heart, portraying him as a dutiful Daesh “soldier” who had traveled to Syria to join Daesh “at a time when the most hardine, those who will go on to attack Europe and France, are leaving (France for Syria).”
In sentencing Hame to 12 years in jail — the prosecution had sought a 20-year term — the court “showed clemency,” the defendant’s lawyer Archibald Celeyron said.
Hundreds of young French radicals traveled to Syria and Iraq to join Daesh before US-led coalition forces dislodged the insurgents from the last holdouts last year.
Dozens have returned home and been jailed in France but some scores more remain in camps in Syria.