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Iraq, Mosul: U.S. ready in October

BreakingNews @en/Middle East - Africa di

“Our job is to actually help Iraq to generate the forces and give the necessary support for operations in Mosul and we’ll be ready for that in October,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford said alongside of NATO Military Committee in Croatia. So, U.S. military help could very soon happen: Washington should wait for Iraqis official choice.

Not only Iraq. Before of NATO conference, during the summit with Turkish Armed Forces General Hulusi Akar, Dunford’s spokesman told about ISIS: “U.S. recommitted to the close military-to-military and strategic relationship the U.S. has with Turkey.”

On September 9, during the press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told about Turkey coup attempt: “It was very touching to see the damage, to see the effects of the airstrikes against the Parliament that took place during the attempted coup. To bomb a national Parliament while the parliamentarians are there is an attack on innocent people but it’s also an attack on what of the strongest symbols and institutions in a democratic society. ”

“I would also like to thank Turkey for your contribution to many different NATO operations and activities – he added -. You have contributed to our efforts to fight international terrorism. You do so in Afghanistan and I welcome also that you are stepping up your efforts to fight Daesh and other terrorist organisations because we have to stand together in the fight against international terrorism. ”

Several issues characterized this conference: Syria, Afghanistan, Russia. About Moscow, Stoltenberg wants to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov: “I think it is important to continue to have a chance for political dialogue open”. Its “interest and willingness to sit down and discuss proposals on risk reduction and transparency,” he announced on September 21.

Giacomo Pratali

Boko Haram: UN and WFP numbers about humanitarian crisis

“Abubakar Shekau fatally wounded”, Nigerian army announced on Twitter on August 23. Boko Haram presence in Nigeria decreased in the past months, but it’s not still defeated.

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Since 2009 it involved not only Borno State in Nigeria, but also Cameroon (109 people are waiting for execution in the last hours), Chad and Niger.

As reported by United Nations and World Food Programs, the humanitarian situation is very tragic:

– 1,4 million children in Nigeria are displaced in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger;
– An estimated 475,000 children across Lake Chad are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year, up from 175,000 at the beginning of the year;
– 20,000 children was separated from their family;
– now 4,5 million people need food;
– it is estimated that at least 65,000 people in newly liberated but still inaccessible areas in Borno and Yobe are facing “famine-like” conditions;
– WFP requires $52 million to continue providing life-saving assistance until the end of the year in north-eastern Nigeria.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: U.S. airstrikes and Haftar issue

Defence/Middle East - Africa di

As requested by Government of National Accord, the U.S. intensified its fight in Libya launching airstrikes in Sirte, ISIS stronghold in Libya. American help is necessary to accelerate GNA advance: “These actions and those we have taken previously will help deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies,” the Pentagon statement said.

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Previously, Western support was by intelligence and military training, as proved by presence of special forces in Libya since at least March 2016. Now, despite GNA advance in Gulf of Sirt (ISIS troops decreased from 6,000 to 1,000, as reported by Pentagon), American help is necessary to increase its influence in this area. Indeed, if the U.S. (and Italy, through a logistic support) wants to defeat Islamic State because of the war on terrorism, Serraj has at least two reasons: the first one is Libyan security and support to all factions which are fighting against Daesh; the second one concerns Serraj’s connection with Haftar and HoR for GNA legitimacy.

Inevitably, Haftar reaction after the U.S. intervention was not positive. His troops, supporting by Egypt and France (three French soldiers were killed in Libya close to Benghazi), advanced against ISIS positions in past months, especially when GNA was freshly formed. But the U.S. and its allies wants an unified Libya to defeat Daesh and stop migration flows.

If France has an ambivalent position, Italy is the first U.S. ally in the Libyan context. Now, Rome is ready to consider positively a request to use airbases and national airspace, and support the operation, if it is believed that it would lead to a more rapid and effective conclusion of the ongoing action,” Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said.
Giacomo Pratali

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Ukraine: how long before the next talks?

Politics di

EU extension of sanctions against Russia is only the last chapter of the Ukrainian crisis. As appeared in the latest months, the ceasefire between Kiev and sepatists looks like a band-aid.

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The EU ambassadors from the 28 member states approved on June 21 to prolong the sanctions against Moscow until 31 January 2017. Main justifications are two: annexation of Crimea and presence in Ukraine.

Despite it’s approved unanimously, a part of Western public opinion, but also Italy, Hungary and Greece do not shared this choice. Indeed, Russia is a strategic partner in Syria against Islamic State; but also from economical viewpoint, because of several European partnerships with Moscow.

Putin trip in China on June 22, come on the heels of European sanctions, demonstrated the will to find new economical and financial partners after more than two years of sanctions. As noted by Mark McNamee, Central and Eastern Europe analyst at Frontier Strategy Group at CNBC, “Strengthening energy ties with China and India would serve Putin’s geopolitical interests further, while also stealing market share from the Saudis. In economic terms, other than energy, Russia is unable to offer much of anything to China. Of far more importance is the political support Russia offers, regarding foreign policy matters at the United Nations, Group of 20 and other venues … China, naturally, is happy to have a useful ally as it seeks to reform the existing U.S.-led order to attain its geopolitical goals. ”

“It’s clear that for the changes to be made to the constitution, preliminary conditions must be met. Russian forces must be withdrawn from Ukraine,” Poroshenko told French television. While Moscow continues to turn down every charges.

Meanwhile, the ceasefire in Ukraine is falsely going on, as demonstrated by 3 Ukrainian soldiers killed on June 18 or by the dreadful video, reported by Daily Mail, which shows Ukrainian soldiers burying alive a sepatist. And the large number of tanks in Donbass means that civil war has not already finished.

So, after Minsk II, new talks are very necessary. Islamic issue and an updated fair-trade between EU and Russia are the two main questions for International Community.
Giacomo Pratali

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Brazil: Olympics 2016, a bloodbath

Americas/BreakingNews @en di

“When Rio was awarded the 2016 Olympic Games in 2009, authorities promised to improve security for all. Instead, we have seen 2,500 people killed by police since then in the city and very little justice,” said Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil in Amnesty International’s report about Brasil published on. A report which examined the new wave of police violence after that the same context came first the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

“In the last 7 years, Rio’s security forces have killed over 2,500 people in the city. Over 100 people have been killed by police in Rio de Janeiro state so far this year. The majority: young black men”. Brasil that, as remembered by Amnesty, has “the highest number of homicides in the world – some 60,000 murders a year. But thousands of those killings are carried out by the police, with almost no accountability whatsoever. “ But 1 of 5 homicides was committed in Rio. “So far in 2016, more than 100 people have been killed in the city of Rio de Janeiro. “

 

 
2014 FIFA World Cup
“In the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, human rights were increasingly restricted and violated by Brazilian security forces. Since 2013, police forces across Brazil have used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse mostly peaceful protests, including through the abuse of so-called “less lethal” weapons, that resulted in hundreds of people being injured and arbitrarily detained, among them journalists and media activists. The use of the military to undertake tasks relating to public safety and policing of demonstrations – including an operation in the Maré Complex favelas from April 2014 to June 2015 – has also resulted in a series of human rights violations. Government officials have announced a plan to implement a similar model of security operations during the Rio 2016 Olympics, raising concerns about the security and integrity of peaceful protesters and of those living in communities where the military is expected to be deployed, particularly in marginalized areas and favelas. “

 

 
The beginning of 2016
As in the previous seven years, police homicides in Rio have not still stopped. “When comparing the first four months of 2016 with the same period in the previous year, there is a decrease of 8.5% in the number of cases of homicides resulting from police interventions in the state of Rio de Janeiro and a decrease of 13.9% in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The decrease happened mostly in the months of January and February, but more recent data shows that this trend is not guaranteed for the months ahead. The month of April 2016 already presents a significant increase when compared with the previous year, which raises serious concerns about the upcoming months. In the last trimester of 2015, the Military Police in Rio de Janeiro began implementing the programme to control the use of force with the main objective of reducing the use of firearms and lethal force during police operations and thus, the number of people killed. The program is intended to identify police units and specific officers with the highest records of use of firearms to undergo training. The General Commander of the Military Police has claimed that, after a few months, positive impacts can already be seen. However, a more detailed analysis is needed to properly understand the reasons for the decreasing numbers of people killed by police and to ensure this trend will continue throughout 2016. “

 

 
Conclusions
Brazil security context is not improving, as proved by four most important information:
– During 2016, the police were responsible for over 100 people killed in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
– In the first three weeks of April 2016, at least 11 people were killed during police operations.
– Compared to 2013, in 2015 the murders as a result of intervention by the police in Rio was increased by 54%.
– 77% of young men killed was black.

“With two months to go until the Olympics 2016, there is still time to put in place measures to mitigate the risk of human rights violations and establish accountability mechanisms for those responsible for committing human rights violations. “, Amnesty report ended.

Libya: with Serraj or Haftar?

Middle East - Africa di

Several influences composed the current Libyan context. The war against Daesh and the possible international military operation on the ground, under Italy leadership as attested by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, are two geopolitical variables that could intersect in the near future.

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“We have no links with Mr Serraj and the Presidential Council which he leads is not recognised by the parliament (in the east),” Haftar told i-Tele news channel in an interview in Libya. “Daesh does not have the capacity to face the Libyan armed forces, but the battle could take time. ” It’s what Geneal Khalifa Haftar said in an interview on May 20 and confirmed in following ones. So, Serraj’s visit in Egypt, the main Haftar’s sponsor, on May 26 could be determining to a possible coalition between GNA and Tobruk, which are fighting ISIS nearby Sirte.

So, the Libyan context is not going anywhere. Tobruk parliament has not already voted for GNA. On the other hand, on May 17 asked International Community for help Libya by engaging with the legitimate institutions in accordance with the political agreement. While, on May 8, he said that “”It doesn’t make sense that the international community supports our war against terrorism, and forbids us from arming ourselves.”

“We are ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping the presidential guard and vetted forces from throughout Libya. The government of national accord has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the UN Libya sanctions committee to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat Daesh throughout the country. We will fully support these efforts while continuing to reinforce the UN arms embargo,” UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

Just as Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who supposed a military support only after “we will try to reinforce the political accord, to fight against ISIS, including General Haftar, but the full recognition is needed”. While, during the meeting in Rome with GNA Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala, discussed about migration control and “the possibility of reactivating the tools set out in the 2008 friendship pact as soon as possible,” Italian government said in a statement.
Military context
GNA and Misrata militias from the South and the West; Haftar’s troops from the East. The siege of Sirte, ISIS stronghold in Libya, is underway. A military context which is causing two consequences. The first one, Western countries special forces, already on the ground since at least two months, are supervising by both and monitoring Libyan progress and Haftar’s reliability if GNA will fail. The second one, the first ISIS internal divisions caused as reported by Libyan online magazine al Wasat.

So, the next few weeks will be crucial for Libyan destiny. The pressure of United States, United Kingdom and France on Italy for an immediate military operation on the ground will particularly depend from result of war of GNA and Tobruk troops against Islamic State: therefore, General Khalifa Haftar is not still out of running.
Giacomo Pratali

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Hot Spot – The Crisis Areas

Americas/Asia @en/South Asia di

There are several crisis areas in the world. The events shown below talk about many wars and clashes in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

 

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Egypt

8 policemen were killed on Sunday May 8 during an attack on a checkpoint close to Helwan police station. Islamic State and “Popular Resistance” movement claimed responsibility.

Turkey

Two cross-borders operations for Turkish forces. The first one against PKK in Iraq, the second one against Daesh in Syria. This one was conducted by 20 special forces team which killed about 55 jihadists. While other 63 were killed at the beginning of May, after Turkish airstrikes in Northern Syria.

Syria

As in Iraq, U.S. and coalition military is continuing to fight ISIS in Syria. Particularly, U.S Department of Defense disclosed that “attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Syria:

— Near Manbij, two strikes destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL fighting position.

— Near Mar’a, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

— Near Palmyra, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

— Near Waleed, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL storage facility and an ISIL bed-down location, and damaged another storage facility and bed-down location. “

More than 70 killed after fighting between regular army and rebels in Aleppo on May 6. As reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 30 of them were soldiers, while over 40 Nusra Front militants.

On Thursday May 5, 12 people killed after a terrorist attack close to an army conscription office east of Homs. Here, the same day, ISIS positions were bombed Russian, and Syrian airplanes.

About 30 people were killed in an air assault on a refugee camp near Sarmada. This attack were not claimed, but it’s probably by Russian or Syrian airplanes.

Libya

On Thursday May 5, Islamic State militants attacked some village between Sirte and Misurata: 5 people were killed.

As already foretold by international press, General Khalifa Haftar began attacking on Daesh in Sirte on May 4. He’s determined to continue despite Fayez Serraj wants to suspend every attack.

Myanmar

Regular army offensive against Kachin independence army positions on Wednesday May 4. At least 5 people killed and several casualties, including women.

Iraq

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Iraq yesterday, “ Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported on May 8.

Iraqi security forces and al Hashed al Sha’bi militia killed 25 ISIS jihadist on May 7. “The security forces conducted proactive operations that targeted the headquarters and gatherings of ISIS in the areas of al-Hur and Zebin al-Hanshl in the vicinity of al-Ameriyat (18 km south of Fallujah), resulting in the death of 25 ISIS elements.” the commander of the 1st brigade within al-Hashed al-Sha’bi militia in al-Ameriyat, Abbas al-Issawi, said in a statement obtained by IraqiNews.com.

An U.S soldier killed after ISIS attack on Peshmerga defense near Mosul at the beginning of May, as the international coalition spokesman Steve Warren announced said on Thursday. but “The Peshmerga forces managed to kill 60 members of ISIS and destructed three car bombs, as well as tightening their grip on the region,” he ended. While at least 100 civilians escaped from ISIS territory in Kirkuk.

On May 1, two Samawah explosions killed about 40 people and at least 86 casualties.

Ukraine

3 people killed following clashes between Ukrainian army and rebels, despite the ceasefire.

Afghanistan

Between April 30 and May 1, AAF bombed militants in eastern Nangarhar province killing about 60 of them, while ANSF killed at least 65 jihadists during raids in Khash Rod district of Nimroz, Badakhshan province, Qads district of Badghis and in Deh Yak and Gilan districts of Ghazni province, as reported by the Ministry of Defense.

Saudi Arabia

Daesh militants killed a Saudi soldier during a battle in the western Taif region on May 7. Two assailants opened fire on a police station before retreating to the mountain village of Thaqeef where the soldier was killed.

 

Nagorno-Karabakh: several viewpoints

Politics di

A new ceasefire (repeatedly violated), as in 1994, but not a peace treaty. It’s the current situation concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, which is involving not only the two principal players, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also Russia, Turkey, United States and France from a diplomatic viewpoint.

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The ceasefire on April 5 is barely standing. The largest escalation of cruelty since 1994 is staggering. And the last Armenian government approval of a draft bill recognizing the Nagorno-Karabakh region’s independence is meddling negotiation on Nagorno-Karabakh war, mediated by OSCE Minsk Group and chaired by United States, Russia and France.

Beyond military perspective, several diplomatic works are very recurring during the last months. From meeting between Russian president Dmitri Medvedev with Armenian and Azerbaijan heads and summit between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergej Lavrov, up till talks between Istanbul and Baku.

A lot of geopolitical perspectives are crossing. For example, peace talks are influenced by awful relationships between Turkey and Russia, which accused Istanbul of supplying weapons to Azerbaijan army. This context is almost neutralizing OSCE efforts. So diplomatic works are producing little progresses.

The charge that Azerbaijani forces have violated the ceasefire in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh early on April 4 from Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense minister show that Baku strategy is working. Indeed, Azerbaijan is attracting international attetion to reach a positive deal. On the other hand, Armenia wants to maintain this regional order and shouldn’t want to make too many concessions under Russian and OSCE pressure.

Other geopolitic crisis could cause a reduction of international attention on Nagorno-Karabakh. This could mean that Russia and, in a part, Turkey could not be interested to change actual situation and continue to influence the Caucasus region.
Giacomo Pratali

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Hot Spot – The Crisis Areas

BreakingNews @en di

Not only Libya, Syria or Iraq. There are several crisis areas in the world. The events shown below talk about many wars and clashes in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

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Democratic Republic of Congo
13 people were killed on March 19 due to clashes between DR Congo army and Mai Mai Simba troops in village of Central-Biakato.

 

Libya
Daesh militants retreated from Derna after a long time because of Tobruk army, leaded by Haftar, in Benghazi.

On April 19, the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, confirmed that “we are ready to support the government. “ This is the European answer after GNA request for help. Brussels will offer assistance with its security sector, managing migration, border management and police capacity building.

At the beginning of April, GNC voted its dissolution. So, former prime minister Ghwell left its office. Premier Serraj stregthened its position also because of support of Tripoli and Southern municipalities as well as Central Bank of Libya, Libyan Investment Authority and National Oil Corporation.

 

Somalia
Somalia asked Russia to support its army against Al Shabaab group, which is continuing to strike in all Horn of Africa nation.

 

Sudan
Two Arab factions, Arab Maaliya and Rizeiga, clashed in East Darfur State on April 18: over 20 people were killed. The fact was sparked by a livestock theft.

 

South Sudan
No respect for treaty of peace signed in 2015. A civil war which is continuing between Dinka and Nuer people from over 2 years. And at last the return to national capital Juba of Riek Machar. The recent news from South Sudan and the UN and Amnesty reports about crime against humanity illustrate a geopolitical disaster which is overlooked by international community.

 

Ethiopia
On April 13, South Sudanese armed group killed about 210 civilians and abducted 100 of them close to Ethiopia’s border with South Sudan.

 

Syria
Over 61 people were killed in Province of Idlib on April 19 by Syrian Arab Air Force. The same warplane also targeted a residential area in the nearby town of Kafr Nabl, leaving five people dead, as civil defense official Omar Alwan told Anadolu Agency.

 

Iraq
On April 20, security forces kill 40 ISIS fighters in Karma District and 70 in Bashir while 200 people escape from areas controlled by ISIS south of Mosul the day after. While Peshmerga’s source confirmed that ISIS should have used 12 rockets containing chemical substances in Kuwer axis.

Between April 17 and 19, international coalition, leaded by the US, airstriked ISIS in Kirkuk, killing at least 5 jihadists. The day before, Iraqi airforce destroyed 4 ISIS headquarters in Ramadi

Northern province of Anbar were liberated from ISIS after a few months. It was revealed by regular army and confirmed by local press.

 

Yemen
Houtii accepted to partecipate to peace talking after UN envoy assured that the ceasefire of April 11 would be esteemed.

Yemeni forces reconquered Houta thanks to support of Saudi-led coalition and its Apache. The fight happened on April 14, when they defeated Al Qaeda troops.

 

Afghanistan
A group of Talibans caused several explosions, especially targeting a building, in Kabul on April 19: about 65 people killed and at least 347 injured. Conversely, about 45 ISIS militants were killed in Nangarhar province on April 14 during an Afghan airstrike, as confirmed by Ministry of Defense.

While about 240 militants were killed or wounded after another airstrike the day before.

 

Pakistan
Some TTP’s talibans killed 7 policemen during vaccinations in Pakistan. The same group claimed responsibility after a few hours.

 

Myanmar
Clashes are continuing in the south of Myanmar. On April 8, Burmese army’s 63rd Light Infantry Battalion troops attacked KIA 18th Battalion’s Nbu Kawng. This only the last battle in the last weeks.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: Daesh and Haftar, the two real issues

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After a week, GNC voted its dissolution. So, former prime minister Ghwell left its office. Premier Serraj stregthened its position also because of support of Tripoli and Southern municipalities as well as Central Bank of Libya, Libyan Investment Authority and National Oil Corporation. But two issues remain. Tobruk has not already ratified GNA and Haftar, supported by Egypt, who has a greated influence over Libyan National Army. And Daesh, which doubled its militants to 6,000 fighters.

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UN government reached its first target. After sanctions against Ghwell, who escaped to Misurata one week ago, yesterday GNC announced its dissolution thanks to 70 representetives (it will be the new State Council). Kobler arrival on Thursday got things moving again: “The HoR remains the legitimate body to endorse the GNA. I urge the HoR to hold a comprehensive session to vote on GNA in free will,”

UN support, with US, UK, Italy and France in the background, are convincing several institution and people to support GNA. From Misrata militias one week ago, to Central Bank, LIA, NOC and several municipalities in Tripoli and southwards now. Even former premier Ghwell could be persuaded that him and its business will not touch.

“We have been working with Prime Minister Sarraj and the Presidency Council to put this period of divisions and rivalry behind us,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla, who predicted that exported barel production per day could return to 800 (now is 200).

From security viewpoint, situation is not difficult like one week ago. Tripoli is trying to return the capital of entire Libya, where GNA will have its stronghold. But Serraj has two missions.

The first one is to convince HoR to ratify UN government and Cyrenaica to support it. A UN military operation, with Italy as leader of international coalition (as remebered by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on UsaToday) will be possible only if Tobruk accepts Moroccan deal. Moreover, Haftar influence over Libyan Army and Egyptian support are not helping to form the unity government. On the contrary, as reported by several international sources, former general would want to split Libya into two parts.

The second one is against Islamic State. Indeed, jihadists passed to 6,000 fightes in the last 12 to 18 months. Daesh is not only in Sirte, but also in Benghazi, Derna and Sabratha. However, local rebels are fighting ISIS: “They are contesting the growth of ISIS in several areas across Libya,” General David M. Rodriguez, head of U.S. Africa Command, said. “They don’t have the homegrown people that know as much about Libya like they did in Iraq and Syria. ”

So, this week was only the first step. Real Libyan problems has not already solved.
Giacomo Pratali

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