Friday, 19 May 2017

19.5.2017 LIBYA SITUATION DEADLOCK

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/269061/World/Region/INTERVIEW--Libya-The-battle-for-dignity.aspx
EGYPTIAN VIEWPOINT
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Since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the Libyan crisis does not end. The impasse is nourished by a process of political and territorial fragmentation. What can be attributed to it?With the support of the anti-Gaddafi revolution of 2011, tribal and local identities have imposed themselves with great force. This first created a rather remarkable unity in the towns which were the revolutionary fiefs. But once the threat of the regime disappeared after the fall of Gaddafi, the big question became that of access to the resources of the State. And there, divisions have emerged, not only among the local groups, but even within these groups. Fragmentation thus occurred around the distribution of resources. Under Gaddafi, there was a well-defined channel of redistribution, even if challenged. Today, this framework has broken out.Is not the existence of Libya as a nation at stake?No, national identity is not in question. Almost no one, apart from a separatists minority in Cyrenaica [Eastern Libya, where most of the hydrocarbon reserves are located], is calling it into question. As for the various ethnic groups expressing linguistic and cultural demands - Amazigh, Touareg -, it is rather requests for recognition within the framework of Libyan national identity.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

LIBYA 15.5.2017



Libya is still not out of the rut despite the latest efforts to bridge the differences between the two most important protagonists of the crisis in the country.

The
meeting recently in Abu Dhabi between Fayez al-Sarraj, GNU president, recognized by the international community and Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Commander of forces armed had generated a lot of hope remained unfortunately unanswered.

Thus,
the recommendations adopted at that meeting were not acted upon and the situation seems to be in deep water.

However,
the two men who have, in fact, the key to the political solution in Libya, had made commitments on natures measures to find a solution to the crisis gripping this country for more than six years.

The
amendment of the political agreement signed in Skhirat to eliminate obstacles to its implementation, has been one of the key measures on which the two protagonists were committed.
In
practice, it is the status quo ante and chaos that perpetuate themselves emphasizing more the crisis.

Tensions
among militia
lately,
clashes among armed groups and militias in Tripoli, testify to the poisonous climate prevailing in the Libyan capital, plagued by insecurity.

So
the coalition of armed groups out of Misrata "Fajr (dawn of Libya) Libya, threatened to launch 'Fajr Libya II' to reoccupy the capital and prevent any possibility of an arrangement with the Marshal Khalifa Haftar and especially its Libyan recognition as head of the armed forces".

Slaheddine
Badi, one of the leaders of Fajr Libya has denounced the meeting between al-Sarraj and Haftar and lashed out at statements made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of national unity, Mohamed Siala, in which he acknowledged Haftar as head of the Libyan armed forces.

In
addition, a new group armed relavant to Government of Salvation (Khalifa AlGwel), a parallel cabinet installed in Tripoli, has announced the launch of a new military operation, called "Fakhr Libya" to regain power in Tripoli.

A
situation which calls into question the hopes after the meeting between Haftar and al-Sarraj and especially more weakens the foundations of peace building in in Libya.

The
meeting between al-Sarraj and Haftar was followed by a meeting in Algiers of the countries in the vicinity of the Libya, comprising, in addition to the host country Algeria, the Tunisia, Egypt, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Libya in addition to the envoys of the United Nations and the African Union.

The
meeting in Algiers has made no progress compared to other meetings or taking initiative likely to unblock the crisis in Libya or to find a way out.

They
gathered simply to reaffirm some principles for the choice of peaceful means and dialogue to achieve peace, the need for an inclusive approach, attachment to the unit and sovereignty from the Libya and support to the Presidential Council as well as the amended political agreement.

The
Alliance of Egypt and Haftar: furthermore, the Egyptian president Abdel-Fatteh al-Sissi received Saturday in Cairo in Egypt, Marshal Khalifa Haftar which is its ally in the East of Libya zone border with Egypt.

No
initiative to organize a second meeting between Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar was taken by the Egyptian president who simply claim the lifting of the arms embargo imposed by the Nations in order to allow the Libyan army led by Haftar, umpteenth time to fight terrorism.
UN Envoy in Libya, Martin Kobker has reaffirmed, for its part, the will of the international community to promote the political process in Libya so that it might lead to a result resolving the crisis gripping the country.

At
this level, we must recognize that it is still the domain of good intentions. Despite his support for the Libyan Presidential Council, the international community including the major powers did not coercive measures imposing a solution on the protagonists who camped on its positions to preserve his personal interests.

The
initiative of the Tunisia of mediation the Libyan to bring them to a rapprochement of the points of view avoiding foreign interference, parties remained as its first phase without evolve towards the impractical nature to advance this initiative.

Adopted
by the Algeria and Egypt, the initiative of the Tunisia remained at the embryonic stage despite the support of the aforementioned countries.

Although
the Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs said the Tunisian initiative is always topical, it is clear that its implementation be accused of delay serious stumbling on the coming of the bubbling Marshal Khalifa Haftar in Tunisia.

Yet
an official invitation was launched to the Marshal to come to Tunis, but he still seems reluctant to take the plunge.

Many
analysts think the flagrant denial of Haftar to travel in Tunisia is the effect of pressures on him at the regional level.

In
any case, the persistence of the crisis in Libya weakens more security in the region and increases the risk of terrorist threats

Monday, 15 May 2017

TRIPOLI GNA=CONFUSION 14.5.2017

Libya, in recent days, has been issued another statement of the nook that Libyan crude production is over 800,000 barrels a day, but it would cost 160,000 barrels more if there was no dispute with the German company wintershall . According to the night, the wintershall society has sought to interfere in Libyan internal politics. The crisis was born out of the nightmare about who controls the oil, after the gna had adopted a decision that sought to exorcise the noc from the management of production policy and collection of oil proceeds. The German company had confirmed some concessions from GM, but in fact stopped production when the night had decided that the concessions had to be revised. Tripoli, on the other hand, breathes more and more air of clash. The government of national salvation has stated that it is ready to rule the capital as soon as the libya dawn 2 operation, also known as Libya's pride, of salah al-badi, to evacuate troop militias. The statement was issued in recent days at the end of the meeting, which was attended by Prime Minister of the National Salvation Government, khalifa ghwell, and the president of the gnc and commander of the Libyan army affiliated to him, Nouri Abushamain. Ghwell indicated that he was ready to run triples and areas under his control as soon as the National Guard's trip to liberation is over. The national guard was set up and was commanded by Salaf al Badi; The operation was launched on the basis of Resolution 27 of 2013, which called for the evacuation of all trooped militias in favor of the national guard forces. For its part, the Presidential Council said it will pursue anyone who will try to destabilize the capital following the statements of the National Salvation Government. It is certain that for now there has been no order for the "pride of Libya" operation. About zintan, the city's military council refuses to respond to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court regarding the location of saif to Islam. The son of the rais deportee was captured and imprisoned by zintan militias and was recently being the subject of an assassination attempt. Nevertheless, the military council has decided to keep its presence still hidden. This is actually a currency exchange but also a scandal for the city. It seems that only a few of them are going to continue to support the measured gnaw, especially the most extreme part of the policy. The goal seems to be to hunt down the gna and its presidential council by triples and return the militias to their affiliates under the control of the former gnc, just as it was before the serrata government arrived. In fact, marwan al darqash, a member of the measured Muslim brothers, said last night on television that if the revolutionaries (the revolutionary militia of tripoli - trb whose prominent figures are tagouri, gneiwa and kara) accept haftar as chief commander Will end the French revolutionaries, whose revolutionary ideals had to succumb to the tyranny of Bonaparte Napoleon. Another meticulous parliamentarian said that he now runs orders of haftar and protects the forces of ben nayl attacking the 3rd force in the south of the country. Finally, a lawyer measured that statements by the Foreign Minister of the GNA Siyala are likely to lead to civil war.




Monday, 8 May 2017

POWERFUL MILITIA: BENGAZI DEFENCE BRIGADE

To understand the political role of the Benghazi Defense Brigades, it is helpful to review the players in Libya’s civil war. Round one of the war, in 2011, was the overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Qadhafi by a loose coalition of rebels, dissidents, youth, and regime defectors. Round two of the civil war began in 2014, when the post-revolution political settlement collapsed following disputed elections. In the northwest was “Operation Dawn,” an alliance led by forces in Misrata, an economic hub. Islamists and ultraconservative Salafis dominated many of Dawn’s militias. In the northeast was the internationally-recognized House of Representatives and the Libyan National Army, led by a retired general named Khalifa Haftar. The LNA’s “Operation Dignity” targeted both Islamists and jihadists, making no real distinction between the two.
In late 2015, the international community added a third major player to the conflict: the Government of National Accord (GNA), backed by the United Nations, Western powers, and—to varying degrees—the Arab states. The GNA was meant to reconcile Dawn and Dignity by representing Libya’s many geographical and political constituencies. But the GNA only won the conditional backing of certain factions in Misrata, Tripoli, and other western Libyan areas. In the east, the House of Representatives has repeatedly delayed a vote to recognize the GNA. Haftar, benefiting from Egyptian, Emirati, and Russian support—and perhaps the quiet support of the United States and France—continued conquering Benghazi and positioning himself as Libya’s strongman.
The Islamic State’s strategy in Libya—openly controlling territory—was blunt. Al-Qaeda’s has been subtler.
Meanwhile, Libya’s jihadist groups alarmed the West. With the 2011 revolution, old jihadists were released and younger ones were empowered. Jihadist militias emerged in northern cities, and transnational jihadists saw opportunity. In 2014, the so-called Islamic State moved in. From May to December 2016, Misratan militias loosely aligned with the GNA waged a hard-fought campaign against the Islamic State in the coastal city Sirte. The GNA’s eventual success re-emphasized the country’s divisions: As the Misratans fought in Sirte, Haftar seized oil ports in a bid to boost his power.
The Islamic State’s strategy in Libya—openly controlling territory—was blunt. Al-Qaeda’s has been subtler. But herein lies the analytical problem: When al-Qaeda lets local jihadists take the lead, does that signal al-Qaeda’s strategic brilliance or its weakened brand? And is there a way, as the International Crisis Group urges, to “disaggregate, not conflate” different jihadists?
Six Degrees of Al-Qaeda?
It is not hard to show that someone in the Brigades knows someone who knows someone in al-Qaeda. Some members of the Brigades stand two degrees of separation away from al-Qaeda. The Brigades draw support from jihadist Shura (Consultative) Councils in eastern cities. One of the Brigades’ leaders, Saadi al-Nawfali, is a leader of the Adjabiya Revolutionaries’ Shura Council. The councils include militias with ties to al-Qaeda, such as Ansar al-Sharia. Follow this part of the web and it leads to figures such as Sufyan bin Qumu, an Ansar al-Sharia leader in Derna who is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and who likely knew Osama bin Laden.
The problem with connecting too many “dots,” however, is that virtually everyone in Libyan politics is just three or four degrees of separation from al-Qaeda. Should one view mainstream political actors as unforgivably tainted by jihadist connections? Adopting that position would make a national political settlement even harder. The Western powers either understand this and quietly make arbitrary decisions about where the al-Qaeda “taint” begins and ends, or the West is willfully naïve.
Few of the Brigades’ leaders can easily be classified as jihadists, let alone al-Qaeda sympathizers. One is Ismail al-Sallabi, who hails from a prominent Benghazi family. Sallabi’s better-known brother, Ali, helped broker a reconciliation between Qadhafi and Libyan jihadists in the mid-2000s. During Libya’s 2011 revolution, Ali al-Sallabi became known as Qatar’s man in Libya. A mainstream Islamist, he moved in mainstream circles. Ismail al-Sallabi, for his part, spent 2011-2012 commanding part of a militia called Rafallah al-Sahati, which had ties to jihadists but which was recognized by the Libyan government as part of the security forces, along with dozens of other militias.
If [Rafallah al-Sahati] was an “al-Qaeda front group,” the Americans who interacted with it in Benghazi prior to the attack were completely fooled.
The September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi merits mention here; it too exemplifies the problems with trying to decide who counts as al-Qaeda. Blame for the attack has centered on Ansar al-Sharia, particularly the sub-commander Ahmed Abu Khattala, who was captured by U.S. Special Forces in Benghazi in 2014. Abu Khattala’s connections to al-Qaeda are indirect at best—he was reportedly a “loner” among Libyan jihadists with “no known connections to international terrorist groups.” Retroactively, the attacks have come to be understood as an al-Qaeda plot. But the New York Times found that the attack “involved both avowed opponents of the West and fighters belonging to militias that the Americans had taken for allies,” including Rafallah al-Sahati. If that militia was an “al-Qaeda front group,” the Americans who interacted with it in Benghazi prior to the attack were completely fooled.
Returning to the present and the question of the Benghazi Defense Brigades, another leader is Colonel Mustafa al-Sharkasi, who was spokesman for the chief of staff in the Islamist-dominated government in Tripoli prior to the GNA’s arrival. Sharkasi is a military man rather than a jihadist. In an early video for the Brigades, he said, “We represent the military revolutionaries” in the east. The video was a far cry from typical jihadist propaganda: This was not Osama bin Laden brandishing a Kalashnikov and threatening the West. More than simply speaking in the name of Islam, Sharkasi invoked Libya’s revolution, accusing Haftar’s camp of being “remnants of Qadhafi’s battalions.” Both Sallabi and Sharkasi are Islamists, not hardcore jihadists. They are making alliances of convenience to combat the existential threat that Haftar poses for them.
Consider, too, the Brigades’ allies. Spiritually, the Brigades place themselves under the authority not of al-Qaeda, but of Libya’s Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Gharyani, who was selected by Libya’s interim National Transitional Council in 2012. Another ally appears to be Mahdi al-Barghathi, the GNA’s Defense Minister. International Crisis Group has credibly accused Barghathi of ordering the Brigades’ operations against oil ports to weaken Haftar. If the accusations are true, one might say that the internationally-recognized defense minister of Libya is indirectly “aligned” with al-Qaeda. One might also recall Libyan press reports that during the 2011 revolution Barghathi fought “side by side” with future members of Ansar al-Sharia, a group closer to al-Qaeda than the Brigades are. Does this make al-Barghathi a jihadist?
To play six degrees of al-Qaeda with the Brigades and Barghathi would ultimately mean that not only the GNA, but even the United Nations and the U.S. government, are part of the web.
No. Rather, Barghathi personifies the complexity of Libyan politics. The revolution threw together people of different ideological persuasions as they found common cause against Qadhafi. The present civil war conjoins various bedfellows and then tears them apart—Barghathi was aligned with Haftar against the Islamic State before joining the GNA against Haftar. The total victory that Haftar seeks has alienated many former allies. If Barghathi finds the Brigades’ vision of eastern Libya more palatable than Haftar’s, he is not alone among Libyans.
To play six degrees of al-Qaeda with the Brigades and Barghathi would ultimately mean that not only the GNA, but even the United Nations and the U.S. government, are part of the web. After the Brigades retook Libya’s oil ports, they handed them to the Petroleum Facilities Guard, a militia aligned with the GNA. The Italian government praised the move, and the Brigades praised the Italians. But it would be absurd to suggest that this “aligns” the Italian government with al-Qaeda.
Re-assessing al-Qaeda’s Role
For years, analysts have debated what al-Qaeda is. As Steve Coll told the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, there is “confusion about whether Al Qaeda is best understood as a centralized organization; a network of like-minded organizations; or merely an Internet-enabled ideology.” Since the Arab Spring, another option has been to understand al-Qaeda as a snake willing to shed its “brand” when it becomes toxic.
In practice, that means al-Qaeda has been willing to support local groups that have dropped the al-Qaeda name. In Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia, it is easy to see how Ansar al-Sharia advances al-Qaeda’s ideology: Ansar al-Sharia promotes the implementation of a hardline version of Islamic law. It periodically controls territory and provides services.
It is much more difficult to see how the Benghazi Defense Brigades advance al-Qaeda’s aims. The Brigades refer to themselves not as “mujahideen” but as “revolutionaries.” They invoke the Quran to justify their actions and they call dead fighters “martyrs,” but so do a range of actors in Libyan politics. Even if one argued that the Brigades are a front group for Ansar al-Sharia (a debatable contention), at what point does the tie to al-Qaeda become so far removed, so abstract, that it loses meaning? Moreover, the Brigades might be leery of a strong partnership with al-Qaeda. The Brigades have only to look to Ansar al-Sharia’s fate—banned in Tunisia, its Tunisian leader killed in a U.S. drone strike targeting an al-Qaeda commander—to see how the image of “al-Qaeda front group” can bring down the West’s fury.
Finally, to the extent that al-Qaeda participates in mainstream politics, its own “purity” is compromised. Even if one believes al-Qaeda controls the Brigades, the Brigades’ politics—particularly their dealings with the GNA—suggest that their limited jihadist proclivities will be further diluted. Eventually, the hardcore al-Qaeda sympathizers might break away in disgust. After that, the more malleable jihadists could find themselves transformed into relatively mainstream politicians, a trajectory that other Libyan jihadists have followed.
A Realistic Approach to Libya
Officially, Western powers want a unified Libyan government that includes the GNA, the House of Representatives, and Haftar—who, together, marginalize the jihadists. Western powers acknowledge—for now—a difference between mainstream Islamists and al-Qaeda. But unofficially, many policymakers seem comfortable with Haftar’s vision of a Libya where Islamism is anathema, and where Salafis are tolerated only when they never question the strongman.
Pursuing such a vision would be a mistake, because not enough Libyans will accept it. Moreover, it is unwise not only to conflate Islamists and al-Qaeda, but also to jumble together different kinds of jihadists. The Brigades work with the GNA, the internationally-recognized government of Libya. They should be incentivized to break whatever contacts they have with al-Qaeda and move closer to the GNA. Indeed, with recent talks between the GNA and Haftar raising the possibility, however slight, of a political settlement for Libya, it is important to incentivize as many actors as possible to work with the GNA and participate in mainstream Libyan politics.
In Libya and around the world, defeating al-Qaeda’s brand and rupturing its alliances will require accepting certain other expressions of Muslim politics. Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are unacceptable to the West. So are local jihadists who insist on a totalizing vision of Islam. But if jihadist-leaning militias are willing to work with more mainstream actors, they should be tolerated. Because if Washington targets all groups with loose ties to al-Qaeda, the United States risks wasting resources—and creating new enemies.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

AbuDhabi meeting 2.5.2017: comments

It arouses hopes and perhaps some easy illusion of the positive outcome of the talks between Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the "premier" Libyan recognized by the international community Fayez al-Sarraj, held on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi with the mediation of the United Arab Emirates.
The positive aspect is undoubtedly the fact that the two are spoken after the Cairo summit was skipped the last time in February for refusing to Haftar. A no to talks aimed perhaps highlight the extreme weakness of al-Sarraj, isolated in the same Tripolitania hostility of many militias and the lack of confidence in his government of many tribes that have meanwhile developed links and alliances with the general who controls the Cyrenaica, the desert south of the country and energy terminal of the "Crescent petroleum."
Moreover, the very fact that the summit will be held in the UAE, politically and militarily engaged alongside Haftar along with Egypt and Russia, speaks volumes on the evolution of the balance of power in Libya 13 months after the settlement of al-Sarraj the naval base in Abu Sittah, near Tripoli, in fact still the only strip of land under the control of the prime minister.
In Abu Dhabi, the two have reached an agreement on the disarmament of militias and new presidential elections by March 2018. The first point seems to agree especially al-Sarraj, threatened by the various militias of Tripoli and especially those linked to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis supported by Qatar and Turkey, so far real arbiters of the fate of Tripoli and that they had given the green light to the establishment of the Sarraj, at the end of March last year, after a lively meeting of all militias in the region held not surprisingly in Istanbul.

The second point could instead benefit Haftar that thanks to military force and the support of key Libyan tribes could get your fill of electoral consensus and establish itself, legitimately, as a new "strong man" of our former colony.
The cartel terms remain in any case uncertain and devoid of substance will not be clarified until a plan articulated to implement it. It will be difficult to establish such militias must disarm and which assurgeranno to the role of national armed forces which certainly draws the Libyan National Army of Haftar driven also by officials linked to the forces of the late dictator Muammar Gheddafi.
The trick to merge all militias in Libyan imaginary national forces has already proved unsuccessful after the fall of the Gaddafi regime, but it is clear that Abu Dhabi will leave many understood tribal and military forces unmet.
Hard to believe that an agreement can not include the militias of Misrata, true "Sparta" of Tripoli whose forces a very powerful time, however, have weakened in the long siege of Sirte, defense for seven months by the fighters of the Islamic State now taken refuge in the desert south of the city. Measured, however, has always been hostile to Haftar as well as the different militias mostly Islamist that control of Tripoli districts and the surrounding region.

This means that the "disarmament" expression of the militias could imply harsh military operations against the forces now deployed around the capital. An operation now available to Haftar and its allies in Tripoli, especially the militant militias from Zintan but would presuppose instability and war for a long time. A long time even considering that the Haftar troops have fought two years to expel definitely the jihadi militias from Benghazi.
There is "optimistic about a" political solution reported a source in the Foreign Ministry of the Emirates, calling for the appointment of a new envoy to replace the German Martin Kobler (pictured above) confirming that an agreement that stabilize Libya without further war developments will pass more easily from the Persian Gulf (an agreement between the UAE and Qatar, sponsors of the respective opposing Libyan fronts?) from Rome or from the European chancelleries.
Moreover, without a widely shared political agreement (also advocated by the powers involved in the crisis) it will be impossible to carry out elections that have a minimum of credibility. Cartel, if it materializes, would seem to emerge stronger position but also the Haftar al-Sarraj has everything to gain from an agreement without which his figure is likely to gradually lose weight up to irrelevance.
Better still do not have any illusions about the swift implementation of the maxim that seems to have been reached in Abu Dhabi and at the moment is only a possibility, if not a hope of being able to stabilization of Libya.

Difficult indeed predict developments in this short-term sense even on illegal immigration front towards Italy (indeed, it seems that Haftar has imposed the waiver to apply the agreement signed in February by al-Sarraj with Rome), which affects business the coasts of Tripoli between Misurata and the Tunisian border of which is at least half of gross domestic product, provided you can use a similar term for a "failed state."
Just the economic reach of human trafficking makes it all the more difficult their dismantling by the Libyan forces (even if you train from Italy and soon reinforced by patrol boats donated by Rome) without the use of force by the Italian and European fleets so far they limited themselves to promote business by traffickers moving to Italy for illegal immigrants rescued at sea.

Friday, 5 May 2017

ABU DHABI AGRMNT (??) 2.5.217

The Abu Dhabi ''agreement'' (??) - in 2 separate statements instead of a joint one = agreement - signed on Tuesday (May 2nd) between the head of the national unity government Fayez al-Sarraj and the strongman of eastern Libya Khalifa Haftar outlines the main lines that are able to bring the Libyans. It is an agreement in principle that does not draw up a road map and does not give details on how it will be implemented. But new meetings will take place next week in Cairo. Committees will begin to formulate the details of this ''agreement'' - better call it MoU (Memorandum of Understanding). Yet, multiple brakes may cause it to fail.

Internally, the militias are very powerful. For years, they have succeeded in establishing a system of gains based on smuggling and trafficking. This generates enormous interests that no one is willing to leave easily.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the faithful parties always seek to gain power alone by excluding others. For their part, extremists, including the EI group, who do not believe in the state, prefer chaos to Libya.

There are also supporters of the old regime who want to be involved in the dialogue and if they do not, they could block an agreement.

A fragile settlement of Libya's reconciliation requires a social, political, tribal and regional balance, and without this balance all these efforts risk falling into the water.

In addition to the domestic challenges, there is the interference of foreign interests. The West is present in Libya and Russia seeks to increase its influence in the region through that country. As for the neighboring countries, they are divided on the best solution to adopt.

These are all factors of discord, instability and conflicts of interest that are likely to block the revival of the political process. The mission of Libyan officials will therefore be very difficult, very complicated, but not impossible.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Who Will Govern Libya Later This Year?

Can Saif al-Islam Gaddafi unite Libya with the support of the country’s numerous tribes?
Understanding the three key actors in the Libyan Civil War is critical during the coming months. Libyan National Army (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is pushing his Operation Dignity forces to the west and south of the country. His goal is to dislodge the failing UN-mandated Government of National Accord (GNA) and the fractured General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli.
Ahmad Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin and former adviser to the deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, is planning a return to Libya from his home in Egypt, and Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was released from prison in 2016, is now garnering tribal support for a potential national role.
In fact, recent developments in the beleaguered North African country reveal that preparations are underway for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to be Libya’s next president following an interim period led by Haftar, with assistance from al-Dam. The tribes will be playing a key role in unifying the country behind these men.
These are not speculations. Indeed, al-Dam is currently preparing for his cousin, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, to have a say in the country’s political arena after ensuring the latter’s safety. Last summer, authorities released Gaddafi from prison after lifting his death sentence as a result of negotiations between Zintan authorities and the Gaddafi tribe.

Liberation

According to sources close to al-Dam, who is based in Egypt and pays frequent visits to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Gaddafi will soon deliver a speech to the people of Libya once the country is fully “liberated” from actors in the civil war that the Tobruk-based administration, which Haftar is loyal to, recognizes as terrorist groups.
This will be done with assistance from Cairo and Abu Dhabi and logistical support from both Russia and the US, the latter of which is to guard Libyan oil fields. These plans entail American oil companies developing Libyan oil wells, guarded by US military. Reportedly, Russia will train Libya’s armed forces.
Gaddafi and al-Dam are holding peace talks with major Libyan tribes. Haftar’s talks in Moscow earlier this year were aimed at rehabilitating the LNA and supplying it with Russian weapons. There are good odds that the tribes which stood by Gaddafi in the past will fully support the LNA’s fight against Salafist jihadist militias that have won control over parts of post-Muammar Gaddafi Libya. Al-Dam is now looking into the role that the tribal structure would play to achieve peace, stability and reconciliation in the country to reunify it after six years of violent unrest, which have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Libyans dying and being displaced.
The sources also talk about the key points of Gaddafi’s upcoming speech that will address the situation in the country and the need for reunification in order to counter all potential risks and threats, as well as exert all efforts to rebuild the country, drawing from oil revenues. Gaddafi will also highlight the importance of having good relations with African states, countries in southern Europe, the US and Russia.
Moscow has been playing both sides of the Libyan Civil War by maintaining ties with the Tripoli- and Tobruk-based governments that broke ranks in 2014, splitting the country between the west (Tripolitania) and east (Cyrenaica). Yet Russia may well determine that no Libyan civilians can effectively rule the North African country and that the authorities in Tobruk, under the leadership of Haftar — who may pave the way for Gaddafi — should receive the Kremlin’s all-out support. In the event that the ineffectual, albeit internationally-recognized GNA crumbles this year, such a scenario would become increasingly likely.
As of now, the Russians seem to trust Haftar and prefer dealing with the field marshal more than other Libyan officials. Although the Trump administration has yet lay out its vision for Libya, the Tobruk-based authorities are seeking to secure a commitment from the 45th American president that he will lend Haftar future US support.
On April 10, Haftar met with a high-ranking US military official in Abu Dhabi to discuss the topic. Although the US still, at least officially, recognizes the GNA as Libya’s legitimate government, the anti-Islamist composition of Trump’s administration and Haftar’s narrative about leading the struggle against terrorism and extremism in Libya may well convince Washington to withdraw its support for the Tripoli-based government and back its rival in the east.

Tribal Loyalties

Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter, Aysha, is ruled out of the presidential race as her brother Saif al-Islam has a better chance of representing a united country upon receiving the full support and allegiance of Libyan tribes. With more than 140 tribes and clans, Libya is believed to be the most tribal nation in the Middle East and North Africa, where every single tribe has a say in a future Libyan government. This is well understood by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Haftar and al-Dam.
The goal is to orchestrate an effort to allow Gaddafi to lead the nation with full support of those tribes whose influence extends beyond Libyan borders, including Gaddadfa, Bani Salim, Bani Hilal, Warfallah, Kargala, Tawajeer, Ramla, Tuareg and Magariha. For this purpose, meetings were held in western Libya, near the Algerian border, to discuss the matter.
Perhaps only Gaddafi is capable of reuniting the country in spite of friction and violent conflict that tears Libya apart. There are indications that there is growing support for him among Libya’s main tribes. Those who fought against his father’s regime during the 2011 revolution may not agree with this solution. But whether those forces will overcome their divisions, which are playing out in deadly clashes in Tripoli, and unify enough to really have a say in this development remains doubtful.

In other words, infighting seems likely to overtake any unified attempt to counter Gaddafi’s ascent. Gaddafi is pushing a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to air grievances to bring the shattered country together. His policy also seeks, along with Haftar and al-Dam, the lifting of sanctions to release frozen funds from the Libyan Investment Authority and those owed to the Central Bank of Libya to give the economy a much needed boost.
The tribes have high stakes in the country’s future leadership. The coming few weeks will witness many developments, starting with the trips that Haftar and al-Dam will pay to Egypt, Russia and the UAE after they are given a carte blanche by the tribes who will voice their allegiance to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to be the next Libyan leader.

Friday, 31 March 2017

AL SERAJ IN FREE FALL?

Abandoned the main tribes, the Libyan prime minister recognized by the international community Fayez al-Sarraj and his government of national unity (GNA) are struggling even with the national oil company (NOC) which holds the purse strings of the proceeds from exports of crude oil, currently the only legitimate source of Libyan currency.
Mustafa Sanalla NOC head, criticized GNA for having decided to close the Ministry of Petroleum and cut production, in what it considers an abuse of jurisdiction to the detriment of the NOC. Sanalla said al-Sarraj is "going beyond his authority," referring to recent government measure that assigns the prime minister (that is, to himself) - and not Sanalla - contract management, investments, projects and oil supply, leaving the NOC only a performer role of government plans.
The NOC has has officially requested the withdrawal of the measure by which al-Sarraj has tried to cash directly export revenues of crude that currently the NIC manages the seats terminal under the control of Haftar troops in the "Crescent"
Moreover Sanalla is considered a non-partisan character, who enjoys the respect of all parties to the conflict and has worked hard in recent months to re-attract the confidence of international investors. The attempt to deprive his authority has not proved a good deal for al-Sarraj, now more and more isolated.
In support of Sanalla have spoken the five ambassadors of the countries with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, saying jointly that "the oil infrastructure, production and export revenues belong to the Libyan people and must remain under the NOC administration’’.
In fact now the man on whom Rome has given the task to stabilize Libya and stop the illegal immigrant flows to Italy does not seem to enjoy even more the support of the Un which created his government.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

LIBYA RUSSIA & ITALY

On Monday 27.3.2017, the Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano has flown on a visit to Russia.
That of chief diplomat was the first of a round of visits that will continue with the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella,who will be in Moscow in April, and the prime minister Paolo Gentiloni in May (just after the first meeting in Washington with Donald Trump). Italy, said Alfano, believes that Russia is "a very reliable partner in energy supply and in combating terrorism."
Hence one of the themes at the center: Libya, where energy issues and terrorism fit together. The North African country is still suffering from the old divisions of at least three years (but in fact are more or less double), and this despite the establishment of a wannabe-premier, Fayez Serraj,chosen by the UN to lead the Libyan reunification. Italy is the main sponsor of the UN system program, while in recent months Russia has run blatantly manifested behind its main opposition, the one that has based in the east of the country and is led by a general political, Khalifa Haftar,sponsored by Egypt and the Arab Emirates. Two positions at least in appearance seem conflicting. "We must encourage an inclusive dialogue - said Lavrov - and stop betting on a single force, of Tripoli at the expense of Tobruk, or vice versa. When even the West will understand, you will have some results. " Even Italy "wants a role for Haftar, but inside the Serraj government under the UN auspices" explained Alfano, making it less clear distance between the two locations.
On Friday, during a press conference, General Thomas Waldhauser, head of Africom (Pentagon command that manages operations in Africa), confirmed to reporters the revelations of a scoop Reuters two-week ago: There are Russian soldiers, probably men of the special forces, in Egypt, near the border with Libya."I'm on the ground, they are trying to influence the situation, look what they do with great concern and you know, in addition to the military side we have seen and known, a bit 'of recent activity in business initiatives," said the US general.
Russia finished with the NOC (Libyan oil Corp) an oil deal a few weeks ago, probably these are the "business initiatives" referred to by Waldhauser. With a note: what does Moscow is exactly the same as they do and they did the Americans, British, French and Italian, just that the Russians are on the other side with an "undeniable connection Haftar", says the general, while the Western support Serraj. Another note: Russia is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which is the organ operational program which also supports the UN in Libya, of which Italy this year is a temporary member.