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Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the mercenary firm Blackwater and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, sent weapons to a Libyan warlord in violation of a United Nations arms embargo, according to a confidential U.N. document reported Friday by the New York Times.
The U.N. report, which investigators sent to the Security Council on Thursday, reportedly details how Prince sent foreign mercenaries armed with attack aircraft, gunboats, and cyberwarfare capabilities to support renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar during a major 2019 battle in eastern Libya.
According to the U.N. report, the mercenary operation cost $80 million and included a plan to form a hit squad to locate and assassinate commanders opposed to Haftar.
Haftar, a one-time CIA asset considered Libya’s most powerful warlord, has fought to overthrow the North African nation’s internationally recognized government during the country’s second civil war since the overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. Haftar has enjoyed various degrees of support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia. British, French, U.S., and UAE warplanes have also assisted his forces.
Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, brother of Betsy DeVos and prominent supporter of Donald Trump, violated a UN arms embargo on Libya by sending weapons to a militia commander who was attempting to overthrow the internationally backed government. https://t.co/uYY1ly4Nkf
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) February 19, 2021
In 2019, Trump reportedly granted permission for Haftar—who stands accused of ordering his troops to commit war crimes—to launch an air campaign against the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord, attacks which killed hundreds of civilians in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
The U.N. report raises questions about whether Trump was complicit in Prince’s violation of the international arms embargo against Haftar’s forces.
Anas el-Gomati, director of Libyan think tank Sadeq Institute, told Al Jazeera that using mercenaries allows leaders to “outright refuse that you have any knowledge of what’s going on.”
“To what degree did Trump help facilitate this war alongside Erik Prince?” asked el-Gomati,