Libya-KSA: Riyadh accused of backing Haftar

Riyadh has joined in the endorsement of self-style army Commander Khalifa Haftar, according to a rebel leader, aligned with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Hussein Zaait, a leader of Zawiya rebels in the west Tripoli, accused Saudi authorities of arresting and handing over some of his forces to Haftar at the demand of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), known as Haftar’s foreign pillar of support.

Hussein Zaait revealed Wednesday to local TV channel Al-Nabaa he was lodging a complaint against Saudi authorities for the arrest of some key officers of his group last year during Ramadan Umrah (minor pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia, Middle East Monitor reports.

Zaait said he would sue Riyadh through an international lawyer for the arrest of his comrades, adding that he himself and his brother, who were also performing the religious ritual, managed to find refuge in the Libyan consulate in Jeddah.

He claimed that two of his comrades were arrested at the request of Abu Dhabi and were later handed over to Haftar, whose Libyan National Army controls the eastern part of the country and some other large swathes of the Libyan territory.

Zaait added that he stayed at the consulate for eight months before being able to sneak out with the help of some Saudis.

Saudi Arabia has never been publicly finger-pointed in meddling in Libyan affairs following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi who was at loggerheads with the giant Sunni kingdom.

The UAE is known to be an important backbone of Haftar’s influence in Libya. The army commander made several trips to Abu Dhabi over the past years.

Russia also supports the rogue commander who has been opposed to the GNA that he accuses of being full of Muslim Brotherhood elements. Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

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