Just over 4 months ago, the US was furious as the "mysterious" bloc launching bombing raids on Libya was identified as consisting of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. This weekend saw another "mysterious" bombing raid, but as AP reports, this time it was not on Libya directly but on a Greek-owned tanker ship at the eastern Libyan port of Darna (killing 2 sailors). The Greeks have strongly condemned this "unprovoked and cowardly" act and are taking all necessary steps to identify and punish the perpetrators.
That party, or rather, parties has been revealed as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which as the NYT reports, "have secretly teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation between the supporters and opponents of political Islam."
But what is surprising is not the intervention: after all, hardly a day passes now when there isn't some small to medium political invasion taking place somewhere, in a world in which newsflow no longer affects anything. It is that both countries decided to roundly ignore advising the one country which previously had made it quite clear it has explicit national interests in Libya: the United States.
The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines.
It gets worse: Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to American diplomats, the officials said. It is almost as if the theme of ignoring and/or mocking US superpower status exhibited most recently by both China and Russia, is gradually spreading to even the more "banana" republics around the world.
And now another "mysterious" bombing, as AP reports...
An unidentified warplane has bombed a Greek-owned tanker ship at the eastern Libyan port of Darna, killing two crew members and injuring two more, Greek authorities said Monday.
The Liberian-flagged Araevo was chartered by Libya's state-run National Oil Corporation, Greece's Foreign Ministry said.
Darna is a base for Islamic extremists who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. Widespread militia violence has plunged Libya into chaos less than four years after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The victims were identified as a Greek and a Romanian national. Araevo's crew of 26 consisted of 21 Filipinos, three Greeks and two Romanians.
Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry said the vessel had 12,600 metric tons of fuel on board. Damage is still being assessed.
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Greece is not happy...
Greece condemns “unprovoked and cowardly” air strike on Greek-owned tanker Araevo as it was at anchor 2 miles from Derna in eastern Libya, Foreign Ministry says in e-mailed statement.
Vessel was chartered by Libya’s National Oil Corp, had worked for several years without any problems on Mersa El Brega to Derna route
Attack killed one Greek, one Romanian sailor
Greek govt to take all necessary steps with Libyan authorities, despite unsettled situation, to identify, punish perpetrators, pay compensation to victims’ families
Greek Govt in contact with UN special representative in Libya Bernardino Leon and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
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So who did it this time?
One can't help but wonder, if the Saudi/UAE bloc is doing everything in its power to eliminate all competition: from Russia to Venezuela to US shale; why not anyone transacting with a bunch of Libyan terrorists?