She said The Financial Times, Wednesday 17 March 2021, UN inspectors said that Eric Prince, founder of the US private security firm Blackwater, had tried to help retired General Khalifa Haftar gain control of Libya. It also helped him, “at least”, to evade the UN arms embargo on the country.
It is noteworthy that on Tuesday 16 March 2021, a report of more than 550 pages was published, prepared by six experts at the United Nations, on the arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011, and concluded that this decision was “totally useless.” .
Prince met Haftar in Cairo days after the outbreak of the war, and offered him a special military intervention, which included a contract between them worth $ 80 million for attack aircraft, cyber capabilities, and the possibility of intercepting Turkish ships at sea, according to the UN inspectors who explained that one of the components of the operation was “hijacking.” Or the elimination of individuals who are considered high-value targets inside Libya. “
Evading arms embargo decisions
Thus, Prince violated the Security Council resolution on Libya “because it helped at least in evading the arms embargo decisions imposed on Libya.”
The operation, dubbed “Project Opus,” revealed that Prince was accused of sending or seeking to send foreign mercenaries and weapons to Khalifa Haftar when he was trying in 2019 to topple the Libyan government recognized by the United Nations.
On the other hand, Prince Matthew Schwartz’s lawyer said in his statement to the British Financial Times on Tuesday 16 March that his client “has never participated in any alleged military operation inside Libya in 2019. He did not provide any weapons, personnel, or equipment. Military for anyone inside Libya. “
He also denied holding a meeting with Haftar in Cairo, saying: “Prince never visited Egypt during the year 2019, and travel records prove that, and he has never met or spoken to Haftar. This alleged meeting is pure fiction and did not happen at all,” he said.
3 UAE companies
report United Nations experts He noted that three of the Emirati companies were used to plan, manage, and finance the operation concluded between Prince and Haftar. A South African (unnamed) was also chosen to lead the team on the ground.
The report also revealed that military aircraft for the Opus project were to be purchased from Jordan, but prominent officials in the Kingdom canceled the deal after they suspected that they were being used for an illegal operation. Six previous military helicopters were purchased from South Africa, along with three other aircraft provided by companies controlled by Prince, according to UN experts.
However, the UN inspectors indicated that the agreement between Prince and Haftar quickly encountered problems, because “Haftar was not impressed by the alternative aircraft that were purchased for the operation, and he threatened the management team.” Days after their arrival in Libya, 20 mercenaries were hastily evacuated across the sea in the direction of Malta, on board two boats originally purchased for the operation.
He did not respond to the UN report
Prince’s lawyer argued that the UN Inspectors Committee that issued the report refused to provide his client with any information related to the investigation, and “failed to ask the correct questions about the issues in which the commission reached wrong conclusions and bears many slanders,” he said.
But the UN report confirmed that Prince was contacted by electronic and regular messages that arrived at his place of residence without a response. He concluded, “His failure to cooperate with the commission means that the evidence presented in this document is presented without explanation and without objection by Eric Prince.”
It is worth noting that Prince is known to be a lie, according to many reports; When he was interrogated as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Representative Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee, found his testimony so misleading that he officially referred Eric Prince to the Justice Department to consider the possibility of criminal prosecution for false testimony.
In 2016, The Intercept reported that Prince was “under investigation by the US Department of Justice and other federal agencies for his attempt to mediate the military services of foreign governments and possible money laundering crimes.”
In April 2019, Haftar launched a war from eastern Libya to topple the UN-backed government in Tripoli. His offensive ended the United Nations operation aimed at uniting divided countries and ending a year of unrest since the overthrow of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Haftar’s 14-month offensive, backed by the UAE, Egypt and France, ultimately ended in failure.