UN report says Erik Prince violated arms embargo against Libya: report
Erik Prince, former head of security contractor Blackwater, sent weapons to a Libyan militia leader in violation of a United Nations arms embargo.
A confidential U.N. report sent to the Security Council and obtained by The New York Times shows that Prince sent foreign mercenaries with weapons such as attack aircraft and gunboats to eastern Libya in 2019 to support Khalifa Haftar, the commander who was fighting to supplant the internationally recognized Libyan government.
The mercenaries involved in the plot also reportedly planned to assassinate specific Libyan commanders.
The report adds to the infamy of Blackwater, which garnered international criticism in 2007 when its contractors killed 17 civilians in Iraq. Prince, a former Navy SEAL and the brother of former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, mostly sends his resources to Africa, including many of its resource-rich but impoverished nations. He was also one of former President Trump’s staunchest supporters.
Prince did not cooperate with the U.N. probe, but the accusation that he violated the arms embargo around Haftar leaves him open to possible sanctions.
The report details Prince’s involvement in the ongoing struggle in Libya. The war pits Haftar, a former CIA asset-turned-insurgent strongman, against the internationally backed government in Tripoli.
The government was propped up after the Arab Spring uprising that killed Muammar Gaddafi thrust the nation into anarchy.
Prince made his offer to help Haftar shortly after the start of the rebel leader’s fierce campaign to take Tripoli. Trump also voiced support for Haftar days after the meeting between Prince and the commander.
While the mercenary operation to Libya swiftly fell apart over a dispute between Haftar and the troops, certain resources, including a cyberwarfare team and several attack aircraft, remained once the mercenaries left.
The U.S. Mission to the U.N., which is a member of the Security Council, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Matthew Schwartz, Prince’s attorney, spammed the report as filled with “false allegations.
“Mr. Prince had absolutely no involvement in any alleged military operation in Libya in 2019. He did not provide weapons, personnel, or military equipment to anyone in Libya. As described in the media, the allegations in the Panel’s report are, as to Mr. Prince, false and made without any opportunity to respond, in violation of the Panel’s own rules,” he said in a statement.
Prince last faced allegations of violating international law in 2012, when he was also accused of breaking an arms embargo for sending weapons to Somalia.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.