Libya branded a ‘hotbed of terrorism’ after airstrikes

A damaged aircraft is pictured after shelling at Tripoli International Airport August 24, 2014. REUTERS/Aimen Elsahli

The United Arab Emirates sought to justify its bombing of Islamist militias in Libya on Tuesday, with leading voices in the Gulf nation branding Libya a “hotbed of terrorism.”

Both the UAE and Egypt have been accused by Washington of being behind a series of air raids in the past week on Libya’s Islamist militias, some of whom have connections to al-Qaeda.

So far neither country has admitted carrying out the raids, but on Tuesday, an Emirati official fell conspicuously short of denying responsibility, telling the AFP news agency that the country had “no reaction” to the US claims.

At the same time, a prominent UAE newspaper, al-Khaleej, which is often regarded as a government mouthpiece, carried an editorial describing Libya as a “hotbed for terrorism… endangering not only itself but neighbouring and regional countries.”

It also urged Arab governments to form a new coalition to take “prompt and effective action” against the revitalised jihadist movements that have emerged in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, including the al-Qaeda linked Ansar al-Sharia, which has a strong presence in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi…

See also “allies and enemies” from Al-Arabiya and this opinion piece from FrontPage, which notes:

Obama’s response to all this has followed his usual pattern of dithering and indecision. But it is even worse than that. The Obama administration appears to be trying to impede Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from proceeding on their own to protect their countries from the rising tide of jihad across the Middle East, including right on Egypt’s doorstep in neighboring Libya.