Libya tells Arab summit arms embargo must be lifted to fight IS

Saudi King Salman attends the opening meeting of the Arab Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 28, 2015. REUTERS/STRINGER

(Reuters) – Libya told an Arab summit on Saturday that a U.N. arms embargo on the country must be lifted to help prevent the advance of Islamic State militants.

“I say to those who oppose or delay the arming of the Libyan army that you are giving an opportunity to Daesh terrorists to flourish in Libya and to spread beyond it,” said Aqila Saleh, president of Libya’s internationally-recognized parliament, using a derogatory Arabic term for Islamic State.

“And the neighboring countries will be the first affected.”

Saleh was speaking to a meeting of leaders of Arab League member states in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh. The summit is expected to agree on the formation of a unified Arab military force to counter growing regional security threats.

The U.N. Security Council last year passed a resolution that tightened the international arms embargo on Libya. The issue is highly sensitive among Arab states.

Last year, Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni accused Qatar of sending military planes loaded with weapons to a Tripoli airport controlled by an armed opposition group. Doha denied the accusations.

Qatar helped bankroll rebels who ousted Muammar Gaddafi, and is an ally of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement with a following in many Muslim countries including ties to the opposition group now controlling Tripoli.

The government has also accused Sudan of having tried to arm an Islamist-leaning group which has seized Tripoli and forced the elected parliament and officials to relocate to the east of the country.

Analysts say Libya is turning into a conflict zone for competing regional powers and faces the threat of civil war four years after Gaddafi’s fall…

  • Brett_McS

    I presume there is a down-side to all this inter-Muslim warfare, but I’m not seeing it.

    • winniec

      Dear Brett,
      There are many downsides, the refugee crisis being one. We are forced to take in thousands of unwanted and unproductive burdens on our Western countries who hate us, our free way of life and want to kill us.
      Instability is not a bonus. They will not go away. The solution is to deconstruct Islam ideologically so that no intelligent person will follow it.

      • Alain

        Correction: we are not forced and cannot be forced. We sadly have a government (yes, it would be worse were the Liberals or NDP in power) that lacks the courage to say NO.

      • Brett_McS

        It’s not an inevitable result of the conflict, but an own-goal on our part. The solution to it is not to take in those ‘refugees’. I detect a definite hardening of attitudes against these people. The hand-wringing sermons from the usual suspects seems to confirm it.

        • Brenda2600

          We just finished working on the refugees from 2012. This is how slow the feds are working on refugees.