Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Other Wars

With so many wars being fought, and potential wars soon to become actual wars, certain theaters of conflict go dark in the mainstream media. For example, Libya and Yemen are only sporadically covered in The New York Times. If it wasn't for the fact that Libya is a major launch point for refugees entering Europe, that country's civil war would be covered even less.

Yesterday there was this important story on News24, "Libya govt urges 'intervention' over southern clashes":
Libya's unity government has called for "urgent intervention" by the international community to end military escalation in its south, warning of a possible "civil war".
For more than a week, militias allied to the UN-backed Government of National Accord have fought off rival forces trying to capture an airbase in the south of the North African country.
"We ask you to take a firm and decisive stance with regards to this escalation and we will support all decisions to re-establish security and stability in Libya," GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj wrote in a letter published on Saturday.
Sarraj called for an "urgent intervention" from the international community "to end the deterioration of the situation in south Libya", in an open letter addressed to bodies including the European Union, the United Nations and the Arab League.
He did not specify the nature of what form such intervention could take.
Clashes erupted last week after the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, commanded by military strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and loyal to Libya's eastern authorities, battled to seize the Tamenhant air base from militias backing the GNA.
"This sudden and unjustified escalation... puts the country on the brink of civil war", Sarraj said.
The GNA, which both Haftar and the eastern-based parliament have refused to recognise, has announced a counter-offensive against the LNA.
The LNA has said the Tamenhant base was a launching pad for fighters who seized key oil terminals from its control last month, before the LNA retook them days later.
But the unity government has denied any link with the attacks on the oil facilities in Libya's northeast.
The GNA, which was born of a UN-brokered deal signed in late 2015, has struggled to assert its authority nationwide since taking office in Tripoli in March last year.
Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi, with rival militias and authorities vying for control of the oil-rich country.
The air base at Tamenhant is where Italian troops reportedly have been stationed. So we have a situation where Haftar, backed by Russia and France, is doing battle with tribes backed by Italy. Are Italians special forces fighting Russian special forces? It seems unlikely, but we would never know because there has been almost no reporting.

On the war in Yemen there is blurb in today's Situation Report:
Here’s your interagency process. Humanitarian groups and the U.S. State Department are pushing back against a plan by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to take a key port city with help from the U.S. military, Buzzfeed reports. The Pentagon is in favor of providing more logistical support to the Gulf coalition's plan to retake the city of Hodeida, believed to be a major hub for Iranian weapons shipment to Houthi militants in Yemen. But the State Department and aid groups have opposed the plan, saying the operation would likely take longer than the Pentagon's estimated four to six week time frame and exacerbate Yemen's humanitarian crisis by interfering with food and aid shipments. For more on U.S. military policy in Yemen, and what the Saudis might be looking for, check this recent story by FP’s Paul McLeary and Dan De Luce.
As wars multiply, the situation in Syria -- where the CIA backed jihadis while the Pentagon supported anarcho-feminists and the two sides actually fought each other -- will become more commonplace.

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