Yesterday, a Polish Warmate suicide drone showed up in Libya, despite the UN-backed arms embargo against Libya which has been in place since 2011. Although the images have not been verified, sources indicate that the photos are indeed taken in Libya. The Warmate suicide drone is a type of light loitering munition which provides “precisely targeted strike and observation capabilities creating a high-impact solution to gain tactical advantage on a multi domain battlefield,” according to a video of the Polish company WB Group.
It is unclear how the Polish Warmate drone turned up in Libya or which party has been using the munition. In the last couple of years, an unnamed NATO country and two unidentified Middle Eastern countries have bought the Warmate munitions of the WB Group.
In November 2019, Joanna Wronecka, who represented Poland in a UNSC meeting, stressed “the importance of full implementation of the arms embargo in protecting civilians as well as restoring stability in Libya and the entire region.” Yet, Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are known for routinely supplying weapons to Libya and even employ “little effort to disguise the source.”
In the last couple of years, the civil war in Libya has turned into a proxy war. The Government of National Accord, led by Al-Sarraj is supported by the UN and western states, but relies heavily on the support of Turkey, Qatar and Italy. The rival administration of Khalifa Hafter, commanding the Libyan National Army, is backed by the UAE, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and France. As both sides deploy armed drones regularly, neither side has the military advantage to successfully decide the outcome of the war. At the same time, civilians keep continuously being threatened by the effects of the war. Airwars identified hundreds of likely civilian fatalities and over 2600 airstrikes.