Libyan conflict news and discussion | Page 4 | World Defense

Libyan conflict news and discussion

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Libyans band together to help Tripoli’s displaced

AFP
May 16, 2019

  • More than 60,000 civilians were displaced from their homes in Tripoli
  • World Health Organization said the fighting in Tripoli killed more than 450 people
TRIPOLI: Peering through the gate of a home in the western suburbs of Libya’s war-torn capital, seven-year-old Chehab shyly looked on as children streamed down the nearby street.

“I’ll just play by myself,” he muttered, holding a ball under one arm.

“I don’t know anyone in this neighborhood.”

He is one of the more than 60,000 civilians who have fled their homes in Tripoli since early April, when forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar began their push to take the capital.

While some have found refuge at shelters throughout the city, many more have instead turned to relatives and even mere acquaintances as Libyans band together to find homes for the displaced.

Chehab and his family arrived at his uncle’s home in Janzur in mid-April after fleeing the southern suburb of Ain Zara as it turned into a front-line battlefield.

Nearly a month later, his 10-year-old sister Alia misses the comforts of home.
“I want to go home and go back to school,” she sighed.
“The school closed again because of the war and I had to leave my friends, my room and my toys.”

Their father Abdelhafid would have liked to find a furnished apartment for the family to rent for the holy month of Ramadan, but it proved too expensive.
“I don’t know what I would have done if my brother hadn’t opened his door,” the high school geography teacher said.

An initial lightning advance by Haftar’s forces on April 4 was quickly bogged down by militias loyal to the UN-recognized unity government — which is based in Tripoli — as they rushed to defend the capital.

The fighting has killed 454 people and wounded more than 2,000 others, according to the World Health Organization.

The European Union warned Monday that Haftar’s offensive on the capital was a threat to international peace.

But front lines have since largely frozen and the intensity of the fighting has dipped with the beginning of Ramadan.

The clashes are centered along the capital’s southern gates, particularly in Ain Zara.

But the fighting also extends elsewhere, including the districts of Salaheddin and Khalat Al-Ferjan, as well as Tripoli’s international airport which was destroyed in 2014 fighting.
“Our main concern is with civilians living near the front lines,” said Youness Rahoui, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tripoli.
“Densely populated neighborhoods are gradually becoming battlefields.”

Habiba left her home near the airport in a hurry after neighbors told her they were fleeing the area.

For her, finding room with relatives or at a shelter were not options.

But her husband’s friends came to the rescue, securing the family an apartment in the western neighborhood of Siyahia that had once been used as an office by a foreign company.

The family sleeps on mattresses nestled between a clutter of desks and chairs, but Habiba still believes they are “lucky.”
“Our loved ones often don’t have the space or the means to welcome an entire family,” she said, adding she hoped to join her husband who lives abroad.

“The school year is ruined anyway,” she said, hinting that taking her children along for the journey would not affect their studies.

Classes have been suspended across the capital, and schools in several districts have been transformed into makeshift shelters for the displaced.

Many homes in the southern suburbs have been damaged or completely destroyed by the fighting.

Gasr Ben Ghachir, one of the heaviest hit areas, lies almost completely abandoned.

But 29-year-old Hamza has stayed behind to “stand guard” against looters, while his family takes refuge with relatives.

He doesn’t “feel comfortable staying at other people’s homes,” he told AFP by phone.

But he will need a break from guard duty in a few days, when his supplies run out.
“The past few weeks have been tough and I need a rest,” he said.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Italian PM Meets Haftar, Reiterates Need for Ceasefire
Thursday, 16 May, 2019


A handout photo made available by the Chigi Palace Press Office shows Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (R) meeting with LNA leader Khalifa Haftar (L) in his office at the Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, 16 May 2019. EPA/FILIPPO ATTILI

Asharq Al-Awsat

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met on Thursday with visiting Libyan National Army chief Khalifa Haftar.

"Prime Minister Conte reiterated the need to agree to a ceasefire as soon as possible to avoid a humanitarian crisis in the country and safeguard the already difficult conditions of the Libyan people," his office said following the talks in Rome.

A French presidential source told Reuters that French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Haftar in the middle of next week to discuss how to resume peace talks in Libya.

Macron last week called for a ceasefire in the month-long battle for Libya's capital Tripoli after meeting the head of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj.

"They will discuss the situation in Libya, the conditions for a return to political dialogue following the visit of Sarraj and in co-ordination with the United Nations and partners," the source said.


 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Two guards killed in suspected Islamic State attack outside Libyan oilfield
May 18, 2019 / Updated 4 hours ago

BENGHAZI (Reuters) - Two guards were killed and four others were kidnapped early on Saturday in a suspected Islamic State attack targeting Libya’s Zella oilfield, a security source said.

The attackers struck at an entrance gate to the field, which lies near the town of Zella about 760 km (470 miles) southwest of the capital, Tripoli.

They killed the two guards before fleeing, the source and local residents asking not to be named told Reuters.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its Aamaq news agency later on Saturday.

The Zella field belongs to Zueitina Oil Company, which pumped 19,000 barrels per day on average in the last quarter of 2018 across all its fields.

An engineer told Reuters workers at the field were safe and facilities had not been damaged.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief said on Saturday continued instability in the country could cause it to lose 95 percent of oil production.

Speaking in Saudi Arabia ahead of a ministerial panel gathering on Sunday of top OPEC and non-OPEC producers, Mustafa Sanalla also confirmed the Zella attack.

Islamic State has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The militant group took control of the coastal city of Sirte in 2015 but lost it late in 2016 to local forces backed by U.S. air strikes.

In the last two years, the group has targeted three state institutions in Tripoli, home of UN-backed government of national accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj.

Saturday’s assault took place as general Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a rival administration in eastern Libya, mounts an offensive to control Tripoli.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Ahmed Elumami and Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Helen Popper

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
UAE Helps Release of 4 Civilians Held Captive in Libya
17 May, 2019

Four detainees - three Filipinos and a South Korean - who were held captive by armed groups in Libya, have been released thanks to "intensive efforts" made by the UAE "in coordination and cooperation" with the Libyan National Army, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

The civilians, who were held captive last year by some Libyan armed groups in west Libya, were airlifted to Abu Dhabi prior to be taken to their home countries, said the UAE news agency (WAM).

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement that the detainees, who work as civil engineers, were held captive while working at a desalination plant in west Libya.

"Upon receiving requests from the Philippines and South Korea, the UAE communicated with the Libyan National Army to work on releasing them and to ensure their safety," the statement said.

"As a result of a solid cooperation and coordination between the UAE and the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, search efforts had continued and resulted in finding them safely.

"The UAE is working on sending them to their home countries.

"The release of these innocent civilians has been made after intensive efforts to convey a message about the significance and importance of strengthening security and peace in Libya, and to contain criminal practices by armed groups who hold civilians captive without any consideration to international charters and norms.

"In this case, they did not consider that these civilians work for companies that are serving national interests of Libya and its people," the statement added.

"The release of these innocents means reuniting them with their families, and getting them back home after a long period of suffering," the statement concluded.


 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Libyan National Army Calls for Revolt in Tripoli
18 May, 2019


LNA commander Khalifa Haftar salutes as he participates in General Security conference, in Benghazi, Libya, October 14, 2017. (Reuters)

Cairo – Khaled Mahmoud

Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) called on Friday for a revolt in Tripoli amid signs of popular upheaval among the residents against the Government of National Accord (GNA) following three militia attacks in the capital.

The LNA said that the pro-GNA militias had arbitrarily arrested hundreds of army supporters in Tripoli. The Misrata militias arrested some 180 LNA supporters and is holding them in a farm on the al-Sidra road.

The military said that this was the latest in a series of arrests that had targeted suspected LNA sympathizers.

It therefore, called on the residents of Tripoli, “whose sons are held captive by militias, to rise up and rid themselves” of the outlaws.

In addition, the LNA said that riots had erupted in Tripoli on Thursday over crimes committed by the militias against the locals.

Witnesses said that riots broke out when a youth, who was buying coffee in the Bab Ben Ghashir region, was killed by a stray bullet fired by militias. Another civilian was killed by the gunmen after he prevented them from raiding his home in the Ain Zara district. A third civilian was run over by a militia vehicle after he prevented them from accessing a road.

Videos circulated on social media showed residents setting fire in tires in protest against the militias.

In an effort to contain the anger, the GNA announced that the militant who had killed the cafe-goer was arrested.

Separately, Haftar is scheduled to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in the middle of next week to discuss how to resume peace talks in the country, a French presidential source said on Thursday.

“They will discuss the situation in Libya, the conditions for a return to political dialogue following the visit of GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj and in coordination with the United Nations and partners,” the source told Reuters.




 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Militants Attack Troops at Libya Army Checkpoint
18 May, 2019


FILE PHOTO: Libyan National Army (LNA) members head out of Benghazi to reinforce troops advancing towards Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya, April 7, 2019. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo

Asharq Al-Awsat

Libyan officials said Saturday that militants have killed at least three troops from the Libyan National Army (LNA) in an attack on a checkpoint in a desert town.

An LNA statement said the militants captured four soldiers in the attack at the town of Zallah Saturday, but troops were able to free three of them.

ISIS extremist group claimed the attack.

Zallah is about 750 kilometers southeast of the capital, Tripoli, where Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's LNA is currently fighting forces backed by the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) to take control of the city.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Libya’s NOC chief says instability could lead to 95% oil production loss
Reuters
May 18, 2019

  • Sanalla also said an attack happened near Zella oilfield earlier on Saturday
  • Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack through its Aamaq news agency
JEDDAH: Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief said on Saturday continued instability in Libya could make it lose 95% of its oil production.

"Unfortunately if the situation will continue like this I’m afraid that maybe 95% of production will be lost," Mustafa Sanalla told reporters in Jeddah ahead of a ministerial panel gathering on Sunday of top OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

Sanalla also said an attack had happened near Zella oilfield earlier on Saturday.

Two guards were killed and four others were kidnapped early on Saturday in a suspected Daesh attack targeting the oilfield, a security source said.
The attackers struck at an entrance gate to the field, which lies near the town of Zella about 760 km (470 miles) southwest of the capital, Tripoli.

They killed the two guards before fleeing, the source and local residents asking not to be named told Reuters.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack through its Aamaq news agency later on Saturday.

The Zella field belongs to Zueitina Oil Company, which pumped 19,000 barrels per day on average in the last quarter of 2018 across all its fields.
An engineer told Reuters workers at the field were safe and facilities had not been damaged.

Daesh has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The militant group took control of the coastal city of Sirte in 2015 but lost it late in 2016 to local forces backed by US air strikes.

In the last two years, the group has targeted three state institutions in Tripoli, home of the Tripoli-based government of national accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj.

Saturday's assault took place as general Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a rival administration in eastern Libya, mounts an offensive to control Tripoli.

 

Scorpion

THINK TANK
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
3,206
Reactions
2,406 31
Country
Saudi Arabia
Location
Saudi Arabia
Turkey just shipped BMC Kirpi MRAPs in a clear violation of UN arms embargo on Libya

Turkey armmored vehicles Libya 1.jpg


Turkey armmored vehicles Libya 2.jpg


Turkey armmored vehicles Libya 3.jpg



Turkey armmored vehicles Libya 4.jpg


Turkey armmored vehicles Libya.jpg



Turkey armmored vehicles.jpg
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Libya’s Children: On-Demand Fuel for Tripoli’s War
Sunday, 19 May, 2019


Libyan children dressed in military fatigues attend a demonstration in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi calling for military forces to re-capture the southern city of Sirte from ISIS (AFP)

Cairo- Jamal Jawhar

Selfie pictures of young fighters on the frontlines in Tripoli, Libya, showed the extent to which fighters in the southern suburbs have relied on minors pushing them towards their death.

Videos circulating the social media showed young boys on the frontlines using firearms.

Since the launch of the battle between the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the forces loyal to head of the Presidential Council, Fayiz al-Sarraj, the two forces exchanged accusations about the use of children in the battle.

Colonel Mohammed Qanouno, a spokesman for the forces of Government of National Accord (GNA), announced that a number of LNA prisoners under the age of 16 were captured, adding that some were released.

The army denied using children, saying recruitment in the military has rules and legal age.

Misrata militias, clashing with the National Army, are relying on young children previously trained during Sirte Battle, 450 km east of Tripoli, before its liberation from ISIS control at the end of 2016.

A civil activist from Misrata told Asharq Al-Awsat that the majority of the city's young people of all ages are being pushed to the war.

The activist, who declined to be named for security reasons, said both parties were using young people in combat, and this method has been used by armed militias in Tripoli for years, pointing out that three children were buried in Misrata during the past week.

In the face of this situation, the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said that it would provide awareness on unexploded ordnance to nearly 400,000 Libyan children and their families in different cities.

Over the past years, children in Tripoli have been in danger due to the heavy fighting between militias, which prompted UNICEF to issue a warning saying half a million children in the capital are at immediate risk, while more than 2.6 million children need help in Libya.

UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere said last year that more children were facing multiple grave child rights violations and “more children are reportedly being recruited to fight, putting them in immediate danger.”

The number of displaced people from Tripoli’s areas of conflict reached about 70,000 citizens since April 4, while some families and their children are still searching for a safe place.

Last week, German Ambassador to Libya, Oliver Owcza confirmed that his country had provided €3 million in support for activities of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office, enabling them to provide effective protection to refugees and displaced persons in Libya.

For its part, the ministerial committee for displaced persons began collecting information on the displaced citizens from areas of clashes. The committee discussed the development of the database system for the displaced, in cooperation of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).


 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Libyan Coast Guard Intercepts 61 Europe-Bound Migrants
Sunday, 19 May, 2019


© AFP/File | TAHA JAWASHI

Tripoli- Asharq Al-Awsat

Libya's coast guard says it has intercepted dozens of Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, off the country's Mediterranean coast.

Spokesman Ayoub Gassim says Saturday that a rubber boat carrying 61 African and Arab migrants, including a child, was intercepted Thursday off the city of Zawiya, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of the capital, Tripoli.

He says the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid and then taken to a refugee camp in Tripoli.

Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 uprising that ousted and later killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
LNA claims it has been attacked by Turkish UAVs
Jeremy Binnie, London
17 May 2019

The Libyan National Army (LNA) has claimed that Turkish-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used to carry out attacks against the forces it has deployed to capture Tripoli from forces aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The claim was made in a 12 May briefing by LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari. "The new change that we noticed recently after we shot down the enemy fighters - and we have destroyed some of them on the ground - [was that] the enemy has begun to use Turkish-made unmanned drones to attack locations under the control of our forces," he said according to the English translator at the event.

The two Mirage F1 fighters that were operated from Misratah Air Base by GNA-aligned forces were apparently shot down or crashed during the recent fighting around Tripoli.

Mismari added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was "now putting forward his technology" to support his Libyan allies so that he does not lose a "very valuable financial base". The LNA did not offer any evidence to show that Turkish UAVs are operating in Libya.


 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Water supplies restored to besieged Libyan capital

Ayman al-Warfalli
May 21, 2019

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Water supplies to the 2.5 million residents of Tripoli were restored two days after they were cut off by gunmen, officials said on Tuesday, allowing the besieged capital to escape shortages that could have caused a humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations had condemned the closure as possible war crime. Libya’s internationally recognized government had accused forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, which have been trying to capture Tripoli, of being behind the blockage.

Haftar’s forces denied they were responsible for cutting off the water. A commander in his Libyan National Army (LNA) said they had sent reinforcements to secure the pipe.

“The crisis of halting water supplies has ended and flows have started,” the Great Man-Made River company, a pipe network supplying ground water from the Sahara, said in a statement.

On Saturday, an armed group had stormed a pumping station some 400 km south of Tripoli, forcing employees to turn off the pipes, the company said, without giving more details. Supplies to city residents were not immediately halted because the water system holds two days of capacity.

The U.N.-backed government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj had blamed a group that also cut the water supplies in 2017, saying its commander, Khalifa Ehnaish, belonged to Haftar’s forces.

The LNA, based in the east of the country, has launched an assault to capture the capital. Fighting in the battle for Tripoli has killed at least 510 people, forced 75,000 out of their homes, trapped thousands of migrants in detention centers and flattened some suburbs, according to the United Nations.

Writibg by Ahmed Elumami and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Peter Graff

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
Hifter’s rule brings security to eastern Libya, at a cost
By RAMI MUSA and JOSEPH KRAUSS
2 hours ago
21 May 2019

Khalifa Hifter
FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2017 file photo, Libyan militia commander General Khalifa Hifter meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia. After years of assassinations, bombings and militia firefights, Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi finally feels safe again -- but security has come at a staggering cost. The city center lies in ruins, thousands of people remain displaced, and forces loyal to Khalifa Hifter, who now controls eastern Libya, have cracked down on dissent. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — After years of assassinations, bombings and militia firefights, Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi finally feels safe again — but security has come at a heavy cost.

Uniformed police are out at major intersections, cafes and restaurants stay open late into the night, and local groups hold art exhibitions and festivals. But the city center lies in ruins, thousands remain displaced, and forces loyal to commander Khalifa Hifter, who now controls eastern Libya, have cracked down on dissent.

Benghazi offers a glimpse of what may befall the capital, Tripoli, where Hifter’s forces launched an offensive last month against rival militias loosely allied with a weak, U.N.-recognized government. Its fate could also harden the resolve of Hifter’s opponents — who view him as an aspiring dictator — and further imperil U.N. efforts to peacefully reunite the country.

Hifter’s forces have met stiff resistance on the outskirts of Tripoli, and experts say that despite considerable international support, he is unlikely to succeed in defeating his rivals in the west or unifying the country. They point out that even in the east, his forces rely on local militias as well as ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafists.

Benghazi was the epicenter of the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 that toppled and killed long-ruling dictator Moammar Gadhafi. But in the years after his ouster, the city and much of the country came to be ruled by a patchwork of armed groups: local and tribal militias, nationalist and mainstream Islamist groups, as well as al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. Extremists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Hifter served as a senior officer under Gadhafi but defected in the 1980s during the ruinous war with Chad, in which he and hundreds of soldiers were captured in an ambush. He later spent more than two decades in the suburbs of Washington, where he is widely believed to have worked with the CIA, before returning to join the uprising in 2011. He eventually built up forces known as the Libyan National Army.

In February 2014, he declared the start of an operation to root out the militias and unify the country. Four months later, when it appeared they would lose influence in a disputed election, Islamist and other factions in Tripoli launched an attack on their rivals, eventually splitting the country into rival authorities in the east and west, each beholden to an array of militias.

___
“BACK TO NORMAL”
Hifter’s prominence rose as his forces battled extremists and other rival factions across eastern Libya, and the parliament there eventually recognized him as the head of its armed forces, giving him the rank of field marshal.

He also gained the support of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, as well as France and Russia , all of which came to see him as a key ally against extremists and are widely believed to have provided weapons and other support despite a U.N. arms embargo. His opponents in western Libya are believed to have gotten aid from Qatar and Turkey.

Today his forces are firmly in control of the country’s east, and the near-daily assassinations, abductions and shootings that once terrified Benghazi’s residents are a thing of the past. Billboards and posters showing Hifter in full military regalia line the streets — with so many placed along the airport road that many jokingly refer to the display as Hifter’s Instagram page.

“In 2019 we have recorded no terrorist attacks or assassinations in Benghazi, which was a daily event back before the LNA took control over the city,” said Maj. Tarek Alkarraz, spokesman for the Interior Ministry in the east. He added that the city of Derna, which was under IS control, was similar.

“Now life is back to normal and it’s safe and secure.”

Streets are cleaner, garbage is being collected and the electricity cuts out far less often than it did at the height of the fighting. Outside the devastated city center, modern shopping malls have sprung up, as well as upscale seafood and Turkish restaurants. Local ride-booking services are modeled on Uber and Careem.

“The only thing that matters is safety, which we are enjoying, thank God,” said Wanees Amgadah, a retired teacher. “The whole east, and God willing even the west, will be safe with the help of God, thanks to our soldiers.”
___
INSPIRED BY EGYPT’S EL-SISSI
Hifter has modeled his rule on that of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, his close ally in neighboring Egypt, who led the overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. Both have declared war on terrorism — applying the term not only to extremist groups but more moderate

Islamists. El-Sissi has launched an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of people and heavily restricting independent media and civil society.
“The LNA primarily emphasize stability and deem the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies and associates as a security threat,” said Claudia Gazzini, a Libya expert at the International Crisis Group. “This is a very vague term and this brand could be slapped on anyone who opposes the LNA.”

A human rights activist in Benghazi, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the security forces are more aggressive than at any point since Gadhafi’s time, restricting the movement of activists and NGO workers, and regularly bringing them in for interrogation.

In a report issued last month, the Tripoli-based Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press documented 29 attacks on reporters by Hifter’s forces over the past year and a half, more than any other armed group. Hifter’s forces “prohibit all the media and journalists who are not loyal to it, and thus totally curtail all civilian state aspects in eastern Libya,” it said.

The report said more than 80 journalists have fled the country since 2014. Across Libya, it said, “journalists now face one of three options: to work under threat, or observe silence and not talk about the threats they face, or abandon their profession.”

Hifter’s supporters insist the LNA is not seeking to rule the country, but to rebuild the state and create the conditions for elected government.
“Our goal is not to rule or to establish a military government,” Abdulhadi Lahweej, the foreign minister in the eastern government, told The Associated Press earlier this month. “We want a civil state based on institutions and human rights. We want a government that the Libyan people choose and we will approve of whatever the people choose.”

Egypt has also held elections under el-Sissi, but they resulted in a parliament packed with his supporters, which earlier this year approved constitutional changes allowing him to potentially remain in office until 2030. El-Sissi was re-elected last year in a vote in which all potentially serious competitors were either arrested or pressured into withdrawing from the race.

After years of unrest, many Libyans may prefer that kind of stability.
“Is it possible to achieve democracy in the presence of two and a half million weapons?” asks Ahmed Almahdawi, an independent political analyst based in Benghazi. “I don’t think so.”

Younis Fanoush, a Benghazi lawmaker who recently helped launch an independent political party backing the LNA, said the only hope of establishing a civil state is to first defeat the militias.

He says the armed groups “chose to destroy any hope for establishing a democratic state and drafting a constitution. Now the only way is forward, and this war is a must to remove these cancerous entities from the capital.”
___
Krauss reported from Cairo.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
UN Envoy Salame Warns of Bloody Civil War in Libya
22 May, 2019
New York- Ali Barada

UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame warned that Libya is on the verge of a long-lasting and bloody civil war that could divide the country and imperil the security of its neighbors and the wider Mediterranean region.

"Libya is on the verge of descending into a civil war which could lead to the permanent division of the country," he said.

“The consequences and the risks of the conflict are already painfully clear, especially for the Libyan people: over 460 dead, 29 of them civilians. Over 2400 injured, the majority of them civilians. Over 75,000 people forced from their homes, all of them civilians. Over half of the displaced are women and children,” he added.

“While the conditions for migrants and refugees in Libya were already dire prior to the conflict, these conditions have now gone from bad to worse. Nearly 3,400 refugees and migrants are trapped in detention centers exposed to, or in close proximity to, the fighting,” Salame continued.

Salame added: “The attack on Tripoli also imperiled the potential of the talks which had been held on 27 February in Abu Dhabi between Prime Minister Serraj and General Haftar, the sixth of its kind between them. At those talks, there had been the real opportunity to replace the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, dissolve the parallel government in Beida and create an inclusive, unified the national government, which would have shepherded the country through the election process to the end of the Transitional Period.

“The understandings reached in Abu Dhabi had placed the military under civilian control, a key demand of the vast majority of Libyans and many in the international community.

“The violence on the outskirts of Tripoli is just the start of a long and bloody war on the southern shores of the Mediterranean, imperiling the security of Libya’s immediate neighbors and the wider Mediterranean region. The security vacuum created by the withdrawal of many of General Haftar’s troops from the south, coupled with the focus of the western forces on the defense of the capital, is already being exploited by ISIS and Al-Qaeda,” he noted.

Furthermore, Salame urged all parties to hand over those sought by the ICC, saying: “There are numerous reports of extremists, persons under international sanctions, and individuals wanted by the International Criminal Court appearing on the battlefield on all sides. All parties must publicly disassociate themselves from such elements without delay and refer to the ICC those for whom arrest warrants have been issued. I recommend that the Council support the formation of a Commission of Inquiry to determine who have taken up arms and support the establishment of mechanisms to ensure the exclusion of unwanted elements.”

To conclude, Salame said: “Without a robust enforcement mechanism, the arms embargo into Libya will become a cynical joke. Some nations are fueling this bloody conflict; the United Nations should put an end to it."

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,746
Reactions
5,889 263
LNA Denies GNA Advance in Tripoli as Fliers Call for Revolt in Capital
Thursday, 23 May, 2019



Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

The Libyan National Army (LNA) denied on Wednesday claims that the Government of National Accord (GNA) forces were making advances in the capital Tripoli.

Commander of the western operations Major General Abdul Salam al-Hassi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the “opposite was happening” and that the LNA was making advances.

They have marched some 10 kilometers and the LNA has for some time seized control of Tripoli airport, he revealed.

Operations are going according to plan, he said of the march on the capital that was launched on April 4 to rid it of terrorist and criminal groups.

Commenting on the LNA’s refusal to halt a Turkish arms shipment that was delivered to Tripoli port, Hassi said that the reason for this move will be revealed later.

He added that the LNA knew in advance about the shipment.

The GNA forces had claimed on Wednesday that they made advances in Tripoli by capturing a military barracks that was used by the LNA.

On the ground, fliers in support of LNA commander Khalifa Haftar were circulated in Tripoli. They informed the residents that a major uprising was in store in the capital to champion the LNA on Saturday. They urged also the residents to rise up against the pro-GNA militias.

Meanwhile, head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, paid a surprise visit to Tunisia where he held talks with President Beji Caid Essebsi.

He said that the ongoing conflict in Libya pits powers that seek the return of “military and totalitarian rule and others that are dedicated to building a democratic civilian state.”

Essebsi, for his part, expressed his deep concern over the ongoing operation against Tripoli, stressing the need to return to the political solution.

There can be no military solution to the crisis, he remarked.

Separately, the Higher Council of State, led by Khaled al-Mishri, one of Libya’s most prominent Muslim Brotherhood officials, urged Sarraj to boycott the upcoming Arab League summit set for late May.

The council justified its demand by citing the Arab League’s alleged stance on the Tripoli operation.


 

Top