Haftar's LNA sends commandos to stop Turkish arms shipments to Libya

(Updates with Haftar-Merkel meeting, paragraphs 8,9)

General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has launched a naval commando unit with the help of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to block Turkish ships from delivering supplies to the rival Tripoli-based government’s forces, the Middle East Monitor said on Monday, citing local sources.

"Egyptian and Libyan sources revealed the new squad’s missions include as blocking the naval route that Turkey uses to send military aid to the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli," Middle East Monitor said.

LNA forces had been sent to Egypt to receive training by the Egyptian navy while the UAE provided boats for the training campaign, the news site said.

Observers have warned that the Libyan conflict risks spiralling into a full-blown proxy war as the Turkish-backed GNA faces the LNA which is backed by several countries, including the UAE, Egypt and France. 

Turkey has been sending military aid, including drones and armoured vehicles, to the GNA in spite of the arms embargo imposed on Libya by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) since February 2011. 

In November, Turkey signed deals with the GNA that allow the deployment of Turkish troops, signalling Ankara’s intention to ramp up its involvement.

LNA's Haftar met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, reiterating the importance of finding a political solution for Libya, Al Jazeera reported.

The meeting arrives two months after an international conference in Berlin seeking a stronger commitment from regional actors for a cease-fire in outed at the time as a significant breakthrough in the years-long conflict.

While the meeting January 19 agreed to uphold a U.N. arms embargo and end military support for the country's warring factions, but failed to make any real difference on the ground.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200309-egypt-uae-establish-libya-naval-commando-squad-to-fight-turkey/