Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey are supporting terrorism in war-ravaged Libya, considered a breeding ground for jihadists, according to a spokesman for the Libyan army.
During a press conference this week, Libyan Col. Ahmed al-Mesmari described Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey as “the triad of terrorism” in Libya, reports Al Arabiya.
Since the U.S.-backed overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the North African country has been gripped by deteriorating security conditions and political instability.
U.S.-backed militias were able to push the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) out of its largest stronghold outside of Iraq and Syria—Libya’s coastal city of Sirte—but the American military believes the terrorist organization is regrouping elsewhere in the country.
“The battle of our Libyan army is not with Libyan terrorists, but with transnational terrorism,” declared Col. al-Mesmari, accusing Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey of being the top supporters of terror in his country.
U.S. officials have officially listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, along with Iran and Syria.
Col. al-Mesmari told reporters the Libyan army’s intelligence unit has intercepted “a number of messages and calls between Al Jazeera correspondent in Libya and terrorist leaders in the country,” notes Al Arabiya, adding that the military spokesman played a recording of one of the conversations during the press briefing.
“The evidence confirms that a number of Qatari aircraft are regularly landing in Libya in 2017 to support terrorist groups,” he said.
President Donald Trump’s administration has joined Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Bahrain in condemning Qatar for supporting Islamic terrorist groups and the country’s ties to state-sponsor of terror Iran.
The Saudi kingdom, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain have severed their relationship with their fellow Sunni nation Qatar. Officials in Doha, the capital of Qatar, have denied the allegations that it supports terror.
However, Qatar has allowed various jihadists groups to flourish on its soil, namely the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), and Hamas.
Assessments by the non-governmental Counter Extremism Project (CEP) and other experts have accused Doha of backing ISIS.
Although several Muslim countries have deemed MB a terrorist organization, the United States has so far refused to take that step officially.
U.S. military officials have expressed concern about Russia’s activities in Libya.
While the United States backs the United Nations-sanctioned Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, Moscow is lending support to former Gen. Khalifa Haftar, a Libyan strongman who is leading the opposition.
The Kremlin is currently fighting on the same side of dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria alongside Iran, who has made friendly overtures to Qatar in light of recent turmoil with the Gulf states.