Known as the former head of the private military company Blackwater Worldwide and close to former US President Donald Trump, Eric Prince Eric Prince has violated the UN arms embargo on Libya with supplies for the government trying to overthrow the recognized Khalifa Haftar government.
That’s according to a UN report that the New York Times has gained access to.
The report, which said a meeting between Prince and Haftar coincided with a change in the Trump administration’s attitude to the Libyan crisis, is expected to be released next month.
The American newspaper first reported the news at the end of last week, and in subsequently published highlights from an interview with Prince – who denies – it is also stated that according to UN investigators, the documents that can be traced to the transaction reach Bermuda, Bulgaria and the United States. . Prince-controlled companies are registered in these countries, which own the businessman’s planes – three of his own, transferred to Haftar for the purposes of the campaign. Prince could not give explanations for the legal entities in the three countries.
In 2017, Dnevnik wrote about a project for a plane of a Bulgarian company, behind which it is possible that Eric Prince is behind, but at the moment it is not known whether the UN report refers to this case. According to Dnevnik sources, dozens of Bulgarian soldiers from the first contingents in Iraq worked for Blackwater.
They are no longer mentioned in the two articles of the New York Times, but according to the publication, the 121-page report has already been submitted to the Security Council on Thursday.
The $ 80 billion operation involves providing mercenaries with planes, boats and resources for cyber warfare in eastern Libya in the midst of the battle for Tripoli in 2019. At the time, Haftar sought to seize the Libyan-run Libyan capital, an offensive repulsed. with Turkish help last year.
Unusually, the question is whether the United States supported the operation
There is nothing unusual in the armament of the warring parties in Libya, and Haftar relies much more on the United Arab Emirates (and less and less on Egypt and Russia). However, the New York Times quoted an unnamed representative of a Western country as saying that a friend of Prince called the White House in July 2019, when there was a problem with the operation (but it is not known if he connected). The same friend, Christian Durant, had previously procured American Cobra helicopters from the Jordanian army, the export of which would require US approval (and he assured that he had one), but they did not believe him in Amman.
Prince is the brother of Trump-era Education Minister Betsy Davos and was a donor to the president’s campaign. In addition to hypothetically being sanctioned by the United Nations, his actions would raise questions about whether he relied on his ties to the Trump administration to carry out the Libyan deal.
It is also unknown who funded the operation – Prince is linked to both the Trump administration and Russia and the United Arab Emirates – but analysts and Western officials say, according to the report (and probably given the biggest ideological commitment of the Emirates to the conflict) UAE is a possible answer.
Disagreements with Haftar
“Blackwater” was notorious after the killings of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007 and long became a symbol of the dark side of US private armies. Over time, Prince became, as the American publication notes, a businessman with extensive interests in Africa, who signed deals related to resources or the provision of military force.
Prince’s team denies he has anything in common, and does so in an interview with the New York Times that follows the publication. He claims to have met with Trump only once during his presidency and never discussed Libyan issues with him.
The report states that the deal in the spring of 2019, 10 days after the start of the offensive for Tripoli, Haftar and Prince met in Cairo and then came the proposal of the American businessman. Four days later, the paper notes, Trump publicly backed Haftar and overturned U.S. policy on the issue (although that position later changed). Later in June, problems arose for the mission – 20 mercenaries (officially in geology or oil and gas) arrived in Benghazi and got into a dispute with Haftar over what was to be delivered. The mercenaries are British, American, Australian and South African. After a heated dispute with Haftar, they had to flee Libya by water.
A presentation shown to Haftar shows that the operation proposed by Prince named possible assassination targets, including two Libyan commanders with Irish passports – in other words, European citizens.
“I wish Trump had listened to my advice.”
This is not the first interaction between the two, according to the report – in 2015, Prince delivered to Haftar a private plane owned by a Hong Kong company owned by him. In the same year, Prince proposed to the EU that private troops patrol Libya’s borders and stop migration, but the alliance rejected the idea.
In an interview after the publication, Prince explained that he tried to influence the president only through newspaper articles – for example, when in 2017 he suggested through the New York Times a private military company to control migration in Libya, and in the Wall Street Journal “- mercenaries to fight in Afghanistan. “I wish he had listened to the advice I gave him in the articles.”
He also denied having anything to do with the operation and said that at the time the mission was facing difficulties, he was on holiday with his son in Wyoming and that it was “difficult to run a mercenary operation” from such a remote location. He explains that he fell victim to his image of a secret man, which he himself diligently built over time.
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