UAE Leaked Emails Show Violation of Arms Embargo

The report of the leaked emails published by The New York Times shows that the United Arab Emirates has been shipping weapons to Libya, violating the United Nations international arms embargo to counter Qatar, which was been allegedly arming Islamist groups.

At the same time, the leaked emails also show Spanish diplomat and UN envoy Bernardino León has been offered a $50,000 a month job in the UAE government as director general of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi, this would create a conflict of interest, as León's role as UN envoy involved negotiating a peace deal with Libya. A formal letter was sent to León in June discussing details of his $96,000 a year housing allowance.

The UAE has been leading a campaign against Islamist movements around the area as well as backing the Egyptian president and supporting anti-Islamist factions in the Libyan civil war. This has also pushed the UAE into a proxy battle for influence against its neighbor, Qatar. Qatar has been backing Islamist groups in both Libya and Egypt.

The leaked emails reveal Emirati diplomats were openly discussing the shipment of arms to Libyan allies in violation of the UN embargo and also discussing hiding the shipments from UN monitoring panels. The emails also suggest the UAE arms shipments went on through August as UN mediator León was completing a proposed agreement between the two sides.

The power-sharing deal negotiated by León would allow Libya to be governed by a nine member presidential council. This agreement has yet to win full endorsement as León is accused of bias and his peace deal questioned as the emails may compromise negotiations. Martin Kobler from Germany is being sent to replace León in the next few days as the new UN envoy.