A close ally of former US President Donald Trump was found to have violated a United Nations arms embargo on Libya. UN investigators have found that private security contractor, Erik Prince, had supplied Libyan general Khalifa Haftar with weapons and foreign mercenaries.
Al Jazeera reports that the confidential report to the Security Council, reads that Prince had deployed foreign mercenaries and weapons to Haftar, who was fighting to overthrow the Libyan government, in 2019.
The operation, which cost $2 million, reportedly included plans to set up a hit squad to track and assassinate Libyan commanders, some of whom were also European Union citizens, who opposed to Haftar.
Prince, a former Navy SEAL was the head of the notorious Blackwater private security firm. Blackwater contractors were accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. Four members of Blackwater had been convicted but had been pardoned last year, by Trump .
According to Al Jazeera the report exposes Prince to possible UN sanctions, which could include a travel ban. Prince was reportedly uncooperative with the UN inquiry. Further, the UN report raises the question of whether Trump himself was complicit in violating the arms embargo. In 2019, Trump in 2019 had also praised Haftar for his role in fighting “terrorism” in Libya.
Meanwhile, Anas el-Gomati, director of Libyan think tank, Sadeq Institute, said that that using mercenaries could possibly allow leaders to deny involvement in conflicts, and presented the option of deniability to any government. He said, “You can outright refuse that you have any knowledge of what is going on.” He added the report raised two important questions: Did Trump to any degree help facilitate Haftar’s war, alongside Erik Prince, and whether or not Prince had been coordinating with the Russian Wagner Group mercenaries in Libya.
Umm Muhammed Umar