US Officials: Egypt, UAE Secretly Attack Libya
Old-school autocrats strike Islamists without US approval
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2014 3:35 PM CDT
Black smoke billows over the skyline as a fire at the oil depot for the airport rages out of control after being struck in the crossfire of warring militias in Tripoli, Libya Monday, July 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Ben Khalifa)

(Newser) – Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes at militias in Libya twice over the last week without Washington's approval, four US officials tell the New York Times. Egypt, in fact, denied any involvement in the attacks. The first strikes came last week in Tripoli, destroying a weapons depot "controlled by Islamist-friendly militias" and blowing up six people, the Times says. The second, on Saturday, struck a warehouse, vehicles, and rocket launchers run by "Islamist-allied militia." Militants rebounded by seizing Tripoli's airport, which was then destroyed by fire yesterday amid strikes by "unidentified war planes," Reuters reports.

The UAE and Egypt had attacked Libya before, US officials say: A military team from Egypt (possibly comprised of Emirates fighters) recently leveled an Islamist camp in Libya. That may have encouraged the UAE and Egypt to think they could attack undetected again, the officials said. The strikes represent a new salvo in the Middle East conflict between Islamists and old-school autocratic leaders, the Times notes. Much Twitter reaction is focusing on how the UAE and Egypt, both close US allies, apparently launched the attacks without calling Washington first, the Atlantic Wire reports. Tweets Yair Rosenberg: "The problem w/ leading from behind is sometimes you get left behind."

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
Aug 26, 2014 10:34 AM CDT
Why do hey need the U.S.'s approval? Just who the hell do we think we are.
Aug 26, 2014 9:11 AM CDT
Is anyone here familiar with the term 'plausible deniability'? Note that they are saying “without Washington’s approval” not “without Washington’s knowledge”.
Aug 26, 2014 9:08 AM CDT
Where dos anyone think or feel that these sovereign nations have to "call" or notify the US...who the hell is the US to even think they should be called. geesh, total insanity and arrogance on the US part, total crap. US officials are so arrogant and ignorant, always have been. Any country can do whatever without having to contact the US for any kind of approval, that is absolutely insane to for anyone to even consider having to do that for any reason about anything.