Libya Looks to Russia for Arms

By Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Libya Business News.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni has confirmed the widely held belief among Libyans that Turkey and Qatar are the main supporters of the militias in control of Tripoli since August, after overrunning the capital in a bloody 40-day war, and opposed to his internationally recognized government.

In an April 15 TV interview with RT's Arabic channel during his first visit to Moscow, Thinni said, “[C]ountries are trying to impose fanatical Islamic political views on the Libyan people.”

He added, however, “Libyans do not want Islamists to dominate government,” but “welcome their participation” in the political process as long as they play by the rules. Thinni then went further, charging Qatar and Turkey with being the main weapons suppliers of the Islamist-backed militias running the Tripoli-based rebel government.

Many Libyan officials, including the army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Khalifa Hifter, as early as last June accused Ankara of arming and politically supporting the Tripoli-based militias while Doha took care of finances.

Thinni also accused the West of turning its back on Libya after helping destroy it when NATO intervened in the 2011 civil war, which led to the fall of the Moammar Gadhafi regime in October that year. He said that Libyans are “disappointed by those who supported us in the beginning and let us down when we most need their help.”​

France, the United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries, have so far refused to allow the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargo imposed on Libya in Resolution 1970, passed on Feb. 26, 2011. The Tobruk-based government has repeatedly asked the United Nations to lift the embargo so it can rearm its struggling military to try to counter the increasingly more powerful Islamists, particularly in Benghazi (in the east), Sirte (in the middle of the country) and Tripoli.

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