U.S. Secretary of State Erik Prince, a close ally of former US President Donald Trump, has violated the UN and Libyan arms embargo and three United Arab Emirates-based companies and their top executives during a task to help the rebel commander seize the capital Tripoli, UN experts say .
In a key part of a report to the UN Security Council received on Saturday by The Associated Press, the expert team described the operation of a private private company which they called as “Project Opus” designed to provide military equipment to the eastern military commander Khalifa Hifter.
The program was initially reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Oil-rich Libya was plunged into chaos after a NATO coup in 2011 overthrew longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi and divided the country between a UN-backed government in Tripoli and rivals in the east, each side backed by several local troops. and regional and external power.
In April 2019, Hifter and his troops with his campaign came to an end after Turkey increased its military support to the UN-backed government by hundreds of Syrian troops and thousands of troops. The ceasefire in October led to an agreement on interim government and elections scheduled for December 24.
A panel of expert reports said it had identified “Project Opus” in June 2019.
It is designed to have private military companies provide Hifter’s troops with “assault rifles, spacecraft and spacecraft (ISR) aircraft, naval blockade, cyber, UAV, and integration of intelligence and targeting forces,” experts say
Prince became involved when Jordanian authorities became aware of certain aspects of the program and “stopped the auction” of Hifter military helicopters on June 18, 2019, according to experts.
They said that this includes with a total of three helicopters from a South African airline and three smaller helicopters from a United Arab Emirates airline,” experts said. Other acquisitions over the course of time were the Antonov AN-26B of the Bermudian company, a LASA T-Bird light attack aircraft from a Bulgarian company, and a Pilatus PC-6 ISR aircraft of the Austrian company.
The panel said that the aircraft attacking Antonov, LASA and Pilatus “were pre-paid and regular work was done, indicating that a fourth person, Erik Dean Prince (USA), who owned airlines, helped find a job.”
Experts said that No one else has been in a position to organize the sale of these aircraft in such a short time.
The panel said another investigation had also revealed that Erik Prince had proposed the creation of a Khalifa Hifter in Cairo back on April 14, 2019.
The panel said it “found that Erik Prince” violated the 2011 Security Council’s decision to ban Libya’s arms embargo “by, at least, he … assisted in fleeing, the arms embargo on Libya.”
Prince, the founder of the Blackwater security company, became the talk of the town after Blackwater workers in 2007 shot and killed 17 Iraqi people in central Baghdad during the Iraq war. After the scandal, the company’s name was changed and Prince sold his shares in a private fund. He is reportedly currently leading an independent fund focused on investing in emerging markets.
Prince was accused of behaving like a backstage on behalf of Trump. His sister, Betsy DeVos, was the secretary for education in the Trump administration.
The expert panel said “three companies based in the United Arab Emirates have been used for planning, management and operational funding” under Project Opus.
The companies were “controlled and controlled” by Christianaan Paul Durrant of Australia and Amanda Kate Perry of the United Kingdom, and the leader of the junior team was Stephen John Lodge of South Africa.
The panel said “all three companies and individuals have been found … violating the” 2011 council resolution “by violating each one, or helping to evade arms embargoes in Libya.”
It states that the UAE, which could provide significant assistance to the panel, has not yet responded to any requests from the data team, “and responses from Jordan and South Africa did not provide the minimum information requested by the panel.”
According to experts, the helicopter and seizure section of Operation Opus was upgraded on June 29, 2019, when Lodge decided to deploy a team of 20 independent soldiers to Malta using two special forces “350 strong firing boats”. of the Libyan city of Benghazi to the Maltese capital Valetta.
Experts said that the decision to evacuate was taken as Hifter was unaffected by the plane which had been replaced by operations and made threats to the team’s management.
The panel said the Pilatus aircraft was flown to Libya on June 25, 2019 and would be available for intelligence, monitoring and monitoring of ISR operations in Libya from Benghazi, Al Jufra and Brak Shati from at least June 26, 2019 to December 24, 2020.