New leak alleges plan for Egypt and UAE to arm Libya campaign
A fresh alleged leak claims to shed new light on efforts by top-level Egyptian officials to transfer large amounts of weaponry to an anti-militia campaign in Libya.
Egyptian satellite channel Mekameleen, known for its support for the banned Muslim Brotherhood, aired on Thursday the latest in a series of recordings allegedly leaked from the office of current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Six recordings aired on the Turkey-based channel claim to reveal close ties between Sisi’s office and Emirati army generals together facilitating transfers of large quantities of ammunition and weaponry to Libya's general Khalifa Haftar.
According to the recordings, Egyptian officials worked with counterparts from the UAE to deliver weapons to an anti-militia campaign in neighbouring Libya run by Haftar, who is commander of the armed forces for the Tobruk-based government.
One of the voices heard on the recordings is said to be that of General Essa al-Mazrouei from the UAE – the voice is heard arranging a shipment to be sent from the UAE to an eastern port in Egypt, and from there to an undisclosed location in Libya.
In another recording, the man identified as Mazrouei is heard speaking to a voice claimed to be that of Sisi’s office manager Abbas Kamel.
The voice purporting to be Kamel is heard saying “I know that something is coming from you to us tomorrow…C17.”
The recording gives no more details about the alleged shipment – the phrase C17 could refer to the UK-made Boeing C17 Globemaster, a military transport aircraft of which the UAE owns at least six.
Since Haftar began a bombing campaign last year against militias aligned with the rival Libya Dawn government in Tripoli which had been gaining ground in Libya, there has been intense speculation that his forces were receiving aid from foreign states.
Documents claiming to be leaks from inside Egypt back in September 2014 appeared to show Libyan officials sending their Egyptian counterparts long lists of requests for ammunition and weaponry.
Haftar confirmed earlier this year that his forces receive material backing from countries including Egypt and the UAE, though Cairo and Abu Dhabi have never made public statements on the matter.
Thursday’s leak is the second to be broadcast since British audio forensics experts published a report that found a “moderately strong” chance that the recordings were authentic.
Opposition activists say the months-long series of leaks has been damaging to the government of Sisi, who came to power after the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.
Many of the leaks have alleged that officials surrounding Sisi had embezzled money from Egypt’s Gulf donors – recordings alleged that Sisi’s inner circle had diverted funds meant for public projects to the army.
Egyptian government officials have spoken little about the leaks, with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab saying that “nobody in Egypt believes the channels of the Muslim Brotherhood”.