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tv   HAR Dtalk on the Road in Eastern Libya  BBC News  August 25, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST

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of negligence over a costly rice subsidy policy. if she is convicted, she could face up to a decade behind bars. she has always denied the allegations against her. swiss police say eight people are missing following a landslide in the east of the country. rescue operations are being intensified, and geologists are warning that further landslides in the remote alpine valley, which is popular with hikers and climbers, cannot be ruled out. the united nations has called for a humanitarian pause in fighting for control of the syrian town of raqqa, a stronghold of so—called islamic state. un agencies believe up to 25,000 civilians are trapped in the city, caught between is fighters and heavy bombing by coalition forces. now on bbc news, stephen sackur reports from eastern libya in hardtalk on the road. hardtalk is on the road
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in benghazi, libya. i'm stephen sackur. this city has been ripped apart by six years of conflict. thousands have been killed, tens of thousands have fled. eastern libya and the west are run by rival political institutions but there is now something resembling a functioning authority here, imposed by the military strongman in eastern libya, marshal khalifa haftar. can the commander who once served kadhafi pull libya back
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from the brink? myjourney to libya starts with a little piece of history. the first scheduled flight bound to benghazi in three years. the city's airport was closed down by heavy fighting in 2014. back then, jihadists seized most of the city. those days are over. thank you. 0k, bye. so here we have one small sign of normality returning to one libyan city.
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the terminal building is nothing but a shed. there aren't many flights. but to the people of benghazi, this feels like the lifting of a siege. this is what the war left behind. entire neighbourhoods of benghazi deserted, reduced to rubble. ganfouda is one of the last readouts of so—called islamic state. benghazi university was scene of some of the fiercest fighting. this once splendid campus, built by german architects
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in the 19505, was turned into a military base and training camp by the jihadists. this university used to be the pride of benghazi. now it's just rotting in the sun. it will need a massive reconstruction effort to revive this place and there is no sign of it starting. the origins of the chaos can be found in 2011. colonel gaddafi's planned assault on an uprising in benghazi brought western powers into a conflict which ended with his overthrow. with gaddafi gone, president sarkozy of france and prime minister cameron of britain rushed to benghazi to claim credit. colonel gaddafi said
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he would hunt you down like rats, but you showed the courage of lions and we salute your courage. but the feelgood factor was fleeting. post—gaddafi libya plunged into anarchy. in benghazi, radical islamist factions took control. they killed the us ambassador. in 2014, a fightback against the jihadists began
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in eastern libya. it was led by this man, khalifa haftar, a top man in gaddafi's army until the two men fell out in the late 1980s. haftar took charge of the self—proclaimed libyan national army and vowed to liberate benghazi from the islamist militants. it took him three years. only now are residents who fled the ganfouda neighbourhood making a tentative return. this man, abdullah, agrees to show me around. this was your house? how do you feel now when you look at it? but this whole neighbourhood
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has been ruined. look around. there's no way for anybody to live here now, is there? the last three years of fighting in benghazi took thousands of lives and forced tens of thousands out of their homes. this family is now rebuilding their house but some things can't be restored. mohammed's19—year—old brother was executed, beheaded, by the militants. how can you be sure
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that the war will not return? if we look around your neighbourhood, it is destroyed, so it seems crazy to spend so much money rebuilding here. so if i come back in five years‘ time, what is ganfouda going to look like? there is no mistaking who is in charge in benghazi now. marshal haftar glowers down from 1,000 billboards. haftar and his army see their victory here as a turning
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point for libya, order replacing chaos thanks to military rule. in downtown benghazi, there are still checkpoints and no—go areas. for much of the conflict, the front line between the jihadists and haftar‘s forces ran alongside the tibesty hotel, which looms over the city centre. close by, we found a gaggle of vocal supporters of the man they call their saviour. for more than three years, we have been suffering as the people of benghazi. thousands have been displaced but luckily, fortunately, they're back to their homes because of... in the safe hands of the libyan army under the command of khalifa haftar. what you want to happen now? do you want to see marshal haftar marching to tripoli with the libyan national army? they want him to be the president of libya because what he promised... but he would be a dictator. he is not a dictator! in three years, this guy had given
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the freedom and the confidence, not only for army officers, but for police, for intelligence, for internal security. everything. do you really think he would be... he gave us peace. do you really think he would be a good president for this country? he is truly a good leader. libya is a country of desert, vast distances and disparate tribes. it's also a land rich in oil and gas. the reserves are pumped to the coast, the so—called 0il crescent. this is brega, a sprawling oil and gas processing complex run by sirte 0il, part of the national oil company, the noc, owned by the state. awad guides me around this ageing plant.
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are they monitoring emission from the chimneys? yes. and how clean is it? it's not a new plant. it depends on the fuel. oil wealth was the glue that held in gaddafi's fiefdom together. after his demise, the jihadists tried to get their hands on these assets. tthey failed, and now marshal haftar‘s army rules the 0il crescent. there have been times over the past six years when it's looked like the violence and political chaos in libya could shut down this vital industry, but it has never quite happened. the oil and the gas is still flowing but as for the revenues being generated, well, much of the money is being creamed off by different warlords and militias. i've looked around your facilities.
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it seems to me you have equipment from the 19505, 19605... yes, you are right, yeah. you need a lot of investment. yes, yes, you are right. who is going to give you the money? noc, as usual — noc. but they're not giving you money, are they? there is a problem with the money, yeah.. you know, the political situation in libya now, two government, two army like this... it sounds like from what you are saying that it is currently impossible for you to develop this facility. yeah, for the time being, yes. without investment, capital investment or without money, we cannot do anything. 0nly we are trying to keep the oil company alive. but this is a disaster for libya. oil and gas is the lifeblood of your country. of course it's a disaster and this
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di5aster 5tarted since 2011. but now there is improvement. we feel there is improvement. you know now, the east of libya completely controlled by mr haftar, and the south of libya as well. stilljust part of west of libya, that's controlled by militia. i think, i think in the nearest future, all this problem will be solved, in5hallah. as you sit here with me today, are you confident they will? in5hallah. libya tv, based in benghazi, is projecting a message of change. the outside world associates libya with images of violence,
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terrorism and people smuggling. but here, they lead the news with marshal haftar‘s latest pronouncements on terrorists vanquished and order restored. but this is what you don't see on libya tv. disturbing evidence has surfaced on the internet of haftar‘s forces seemingly conducting summary executions. the international criminal court is investigating this as a war crime and has issued an arrest warrant for the officer in charge. ahmed, you said that you report the truth to the people but how independent are you? the un yesterday issued a report which expressed very serious concern
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about allegations with evidence of war crimes committed by the libyan national army during their operations in ganfouda in march of this year. is your network free to report and investigate those allegations? there are people inside libya and outside libya who worry that marshal haftar is a military man, and he may end up moving to tripoli and seeking the leadership of this country. as a journalist, do you think it would be very dangerous for libya to have, as the nation's leader, a military man, not a civilian politician? there are pockets of
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normality in benghazi — places where the tide of violence seems to have been stemmed — but the calm at the beach can't disguise an undercurrent of tension. 0ur movements in the city have to be co—ordinated with marshal haftar‘s military command. whistle blows it is a city of checkpoints, security patrols, and plain clothes agents. when we try to film food being handed out to the poor, we were stopped.
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i came here on the promise of a rare interview with marhsal haftar. but he changed his mind — he cancelled at the last minute. he presents himself as a defender of freedom, but it seems he doesn't welcome scrutiny of his own record. last month, marshal haftar went to paris, to meet fayez al—sarraj, prime minister of the rival, tripoli—based government. with president macron acting as matchmaker, the libyan rivals committed themselves to a cease—fire and nationwide elections next year. but marshal haftar‘s army now controls three quarters of libyan territory. he and his eastern government think that they can call the shots. do you believe in a political solution to libya's problems, or do think there will have to be a military solution? mr haftar is involved in a political
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process and he is playing ball with the international community and with his compatriots. but he is a soldier, not a politician. but he is also concerned about rebuilding the authority of the state over our national territories, because the authority of the state has been rebuffed in favour of militia who have the upper hand and are sending terrorists to neighbouring countries. injune, 2015, 27 uk nationals were slaughtered — were killed, by a terrorist — tunisian terrorist, who was trained in western libya, in which, right now, we have the gna. if i may say so, minister, this is your attempt to paint yourselves, in the east, general haftar, and all of this associates, as the defenders of western interests. but that's knock go to work, is at? —— but that's not
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going to work, is it? because the west has looked at haftar, and they believe they see a man they cannot trust. i think he is increasingly trusted. he has had many meetings with western ambassadors here in libya, who came to see him, and abroad. i don't think that i would agree with your contention. well, i think what diplomats do is they look at haftar‘s record, they look at how he conducts his operations, and they look at what is happening in benghazi. you will have read the latest un report, suggesting that as haftar moved his forces back into benghazi, there were egregious abuses of human rights. that's something which worries the international community. it worries us to. —— it worries us too. these reports came out, and he voiced his concerns. and he said that he would address them by investigating these people who have been committing these acts — these outlawed acts.
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have you seen the pictures and videos, minister, of people being shot in the back of the head, bound hand and feet, executed? i have, unfortunately. these acts should stop. iam sure i am sure that the army staff will look into that seriously. let us be blunt and honest here. you don't call the shots here, the military call the shots here, the military call the shots here, the military call the shots. let me quote you the economist intelligence unit looking at what is happening on the ground in the east. they say it looks like a drift to authoritarianism. the endowment for international peace talks of militarisation of governance in the east of libya. that is the reality. libyans need
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the law and order because of the chaos that has prevailed especially since 2014. you say there is evidence that the gna government is tolerating terrorism. and you say there is evidence that qatar for exa m ples there is evidence that qatar for examples has been supporting terrorism in the west of libya. but i haven't seen any evidence to back up i haven't seen any evidence to back up yourclaims. i haven't seen any evidence to back up your claims. where is the evidence? there were some shipments of weapons that had been sent by qatar in tripoli, in misrata, we know that. what that what i know and what i have seen as cast—iron evidence is shipments of arms that have come to you from egypt, from the uae. you seem to be focused on the uae. you seem to be focused on the qatari connection in the west when in fact there is quite clear egyptian, uae, saudi connection in the east, which are violations of the east, which are violations of the weapons embargo and they have been coming to you. i am not privy
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to those details. you are the so—called foreign minister. to those details. you are the so—called foreign ministerlj to those details. you are the so-called foreign minister. i am not involved with military affairs. i cannot co—operate what you have said. i know that there is a great deal of support that has been provided by egypt and the emirates. iam mindful provided by egypt and the emirates. i am mindful that in 2011 the libyan people rose up in a revolution against a longtime dictator, mohammed gaddafi. sometimes it looks as though in the figure of haftar libya might once again be flirting with a potential dictator. libya will flirt with a president who will be duly elected by its own people. the world wants a peaceful, united, safe libya where terrorism is eradicated. yes. do you think we are going to see that in the next 1—2 yea rs ? going to see that in the next 1—2 years? i think, i am
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going to see that in the next 1—2 years? ithink, i am hopeful, optimistic about that. there is a great deal of wheel among libyans that we should put an end to this split of libya, to the fact that we have two governments and indeed to put an end to this chaos that we have suffered from. benghazi's top football tea m have suffered from. benghazi's top football team are preparing for the new season. remarkably, through all of the years of violence, the libyan national league has kept going. 0ne semblance of unity amid the division and chaos. a generation of young libyan men have grown up with guns, militias, and war. in eastern libya, khalifa haftar is seen as a warrior and a winner. but on the other side of this
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crippled country his ultimate victory seems much less certain. hello there. there's not much movement of our weather at the moment, so it's a familiar theme as we head to the end of the week. the best of the weather towards the south—east of the uk, where temperatures should be a bit higher than they were on thursday. head towards the north—west and here it's much more unsettled, showers and maybe some longer spells of rain. as a result it will be a bit cooler too. the wetter weather is in the north—west because we're closer to this area of low pressure. now, eventually that will push across scotland out into the north sea and take the wetter weather away this weekend. but for the moment we've got more rain to come both overnight and into friday across northern ireland and into western scotland. some showers further east across scotland, one or two for northern england and wales as the cloud increases, sunnier skies further south and east. so a lot of cloud to come across northern ireland, already we've had some flooding earlier on in the week,
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this rain isn't going to help. a lot of cloud across scotland and if we get some sunshine in the north—east of scotland that could trigger one or two heavy showers in the afternoon. by then a little more cloud coming into northern england and perhaps some showers here, one or two in wales. most of wales will be dry, we will see the cloud increasing here and in the south—west. the sunnier skies through the east midlands, east anglia and the south—east were temps are a bit higher, probably around about the mid—205. it's not going to be as warm as that in headingley. it will feel quite chilly actually as the cloud increases through the day and there's just the small chance of one or two like light showers. most of the wet weather continues to be further north close to that area of low pressure, and that will push the wetter weather generally clear from northern ireland across scotland. further south, some drier conditions, one or two showers perhaps and temperatures of 14 to 16 degrees. into the start of the weekend then and we've got rain mainly in scotland but it's going to be pushing out to the north sea, it's going to take a while for things to improve across eastern scotland but a much better
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day in western scotland and northern ireland, generally dry with some sunshine. some sunshine for england and wales, maybe one or two more showers drifting further south and you can see the difference in temperatures, again peaking in the south—east around about the mid—twenties. a lot of those showers will have moved away as we head into the second half of the weekend. so if you do catch a shower you're going to be quite unlucky, a lot of dry weather around and some sunshine at times and temperatures near average for the time of year. as we head into monday, a bank holiday for many, we're back into the north—west south—east split with weather fronts driving into the north—west together with some stronger winds. so rain for scotland and northern ireland but the wind will move things on into northern ireland and wales later. to the south—east, it's going to be sunnier here and also warmer. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: a verdict is due for yingluck. thailand's former premier could face jail if she's found guilty of negligence. rescue workers intensify
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