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270 of Haftar’s forces killed in Benghazi

Image of Libyan security forces

Image of Libyan security forces

Some 268 special forces affiliated with the Tobruk-based parliament in Eastern Libya were killed in 2016, according to a statement issued by the group.

The forces, which are loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, have been engaged in ongoing battles with the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, which had taken part in ousting Muammar Qaddafi in 2011; Ansar Al-Sharia and Daesh fighters.

Haftar’s special forces added that 500 of its fighters were injured in 2016.

These losses are among the special forces, other forces affiliated with the Tobruk-based government have not announced the size of their losses. Neither have the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, which are fighting against Tobruk.

In the statement, the Tobruk-affiliated special forces said that their losses have been incurred during battles in the Benghazi areas of Abu Itny, Al-Laithi, Al-Muhashhash, Al-Hawari, Si Faraj, Al-Qawarsha and Busnaib. Some of the battles are still ongoing.

On 16 May 2014, retired army General  Haftar launched the Karama military operation against the revolutionary brigades and Ansar Al-Sharia, claiming that they were responsible for the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and a series of assassinations that were on the rise in the city at the time. His actions were in defiance of the government and army’s positions at the time.

Other government entities considered Haftar’s move to be an “illegitimate coup” that took place without state permission.

However, other government entities later acknowledged Haftar’s actions, especially after the July 2014 election of the Tobruk-based parliament which supported Haftar’s military operation and promoted him as the Libyan army’s top commander.

(Source / 02.01.2017)

Gaddafi Loyalists Hijacked Airplane with Replica Weapons

Libya

One of the suspected hijackers is tackled while the other is pinned on the ground as the dramatic standoff comes to a close

Cairo- Libyans lived hours of fear before the hijacking of a Libyan plane ended peacefully. Two armed men had hijacked the airplane and obliged it to stand-off in Malta, 500 km north of the Libyan coast.

According to Libyan sources, the two hijackers are: Moussa Shaha and Ahmed Ali and they are not known for any political activity.

Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the weapons the hijackers were carrying appeared to be replicas, according to an initial forensic examination. He carried out a phone call with Prime Minister Faiz Al Siraj.

There were 111 passengers people, not to mention the crew members, on board — the hijacked Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 was on an internal flight from Sabha in south east Libya to the capital city of Tripoli.

The airplane was obliged to stand off in Malta while one of the hijackers claimed to be head of a party that backs Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi. Libya’s Channel TV station said one hijacker, who gave his name as Moussa Shaha, said by phone he was the head of Al-Fateh Al-Jadid – this name was accorded by Gaddafi to September 1969 during the military coup.

Taher Siala, the foreign minister of Libya’s Al-Wefaq government, also said that hijackers have said they want to set up a pro-Gaddafi political party. Images circulating on social media showed one of the hijackers waving the green flag of Gaddafi just outside the door of the plane.

The airplane landed on Friday and remained around one hour at the runway before the first group of women and children began to get out. After minutes dozens of passengers started to exit the airplane following negotiations which were held by head of Armed Forces of Malta.

(Source / 24.12.2016)

One year on, Libya’s unity accord needs more work

Libya’s General National Congress Deputy President Saleh al-Makhzoum (C-R), Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (C) and head of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives Mohammed Ali Shoeb (C-L) celebrate after signing a deal for a unity government, in Skhirat, Morocco, Dec. 17, 2015

The first anniversary of the Libyan Political Accord (LPA) fell on Dec. 17. The agreement was signed in Skhirat, Morocco, by the fighting Libyan political factions in front of a cheering crowd of diplomats and international dignitaries representing major world powers including the United States, European Union and dozens of regional countries. The LPA set up the Presidency Council headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as a first step toward a Government of National Accord (GNA) to be voted on by the Tobruk-based parliament.

The LPA — brokered by the United Nations after long and difficult negotiations between Libya’s two quarreling governments — might not be perfect, but it was the best possible way to address the country’s crisis, which has gone on for too long.

To assess what has been achieved so far, it may be best to start with the grim picture painted by the UN special envoy to Libya and the head of its mission in the country, Martin Kobler, before the UN Security Council meeting on Dec. 6. He hinted at the possibility of renegotiating the LPA, which he said is “not set in stone.” He went on to say that the accord “stands firm, but stuck,” reaffirming a wider belief that “it is the only workable framework” to salvage what is left of Libya.

However, since its establishment in Tripoli on March 30, the GNA’s biggest failure may be the lack of public support among the people it is supposed to serve, despite the wide international support. The UN and other major powers recognized the GNA as the only legitimate government in Libya and expected it to combat illegal migration from Libyan shores to Europe and fight the Islamic State (IS), which was already entrenched in Sirte on the Libyan coast. Eager to maintain such international support, the GNA found itself compelled to concentrate more on meeting those two expectations than on alleviating the difficulties Libyans face in their daily lives.

This failure to balance domestic and international expectations pushed the GNA to focus less on national reconciliation, unifying the country and improving the lives of its people as most urgent priorities. Indeed, forces claiming loyalty to the GNA claimed victory over IS when they ejected the terror group from Sirte on Dec. 6. But in reality, those who fought were not a disciplined, organized army commanded by the GNA, but rather a local Misratan militia over which the GNA has nominal control. On April 2, they declared their loyalty to the GNA in order to legitimize themselves as a regular military force fighting for the country’s internationally recognized government.

Economically, the GNA has failed even more miserably. The only recent economic achievement has been the liberation of the oil-exporting terminals in the middle of the country. But the terminals were liberated on Sept. 11 by the Libyan Armed Forces led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter and loyal to the Tobruk-based government. Hifter himself does not even recognize the GNA.

Consumer prices, measured by the exchange rate of the Libyan dinar against the dollar in the black market, has increased from 2.5 dinars to the dollar to about 6.5 in one year, pushing prices beyond reach of the average Libyan family. Furthermore, Libya’s banking system has been struggling with chronic lack of liquidity, making it very hard for people to access their savings in an economy where everything is paid for in cash.

On the security level, the GNA has failed to secure the capital, let alone the rest of the country. Security in Tripoli has deteriorated over the past year. The recent fighting in the capital on Dec. 2 — the fiercest since 2014, when a total war resulted in the mass displacement of families, destruction of the airport and burning of the city’s oil depots — only shows how local armed militias are free to do whatever they like with total impunity and before the GNA’s very eyes.

In Sabha, southern Libya, an incident involving a pet monkey triggered 10 days of intense fighting that killed and injured dozens of innocent people, causing huge damage to houses and schools. The military forces loyal to the GNA were powerless to end the bloodshed.

After a year of compounded failures, to question the LPA might not be the best policy, but renegotiating some of it could well be the only available option in the absence of any successful dialogue among Libyans. However, renegotiating the whole package would only open a Pandora’s box.

But parts of the LPA must be renegotiated without delay, particularly the setup of the GNA itself and the future role of the Libyan Armed Forces’ chief of staff, who has been the most serious hurdle. Hifter has been successful in combating terror in eastern Libya, liberated the oil terminals and handed them over to the National Oil Corporation, and brought relative security to Benghazi and beyond. Above all, he enjoys wide public support, particularly in eastern Libya. Dismissing him outright would not help bring peace to the country, and giving him a blank check could have long-term consequences. However, bringing him into the fold through a compromise with the Tobruk parliament that is backing him would certainly hasten the settlement of the chaos in the country.

Practically speaking, the GNA does not have any serious disagreements with Hifter, but the GNA-supporting militias hate the man, primarily because a unified strong Libyan army will mean their days are numbered. The supply of arms to different militias in Libya by regional countries like Qatar, Turkey and Sudan is another major issue. Those countries should be forced to stop interfering in Libya’s domestic affairs and stop supplying arms to the warring sides in the country. Kobler said, “Weapons do not fall from the sky. They come by land or sea,” calling on the world community to respect the arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011.

(Source / 21.21.2016)

Libya under Militias’ Control

Haftar supporter holds his picture in Benghazi [Reuters]

Haftar supporter holds his picture in Benghazi

Tripoli- No one can know whether the ongoing major military operations in Libya aim at eradicating hundreds of heavily-armed militias according to a proactive plan or whether the developments and repercussions of clashes have just changed the locations of these militias.

These questions arose while the Presidential Congress led by the internationally-supported Fayez el-Sarraj has been seeking to impose power to control the country and the capital drowned in chaos. Amid weak agreement opportunities between Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, military commander of Libya’s eastern government, there are attempts to form a semi-national force to replace militias, which moved to Tripoli after the defeats they faced in the eastern and southern region against Haftar forces.

The two-government fact in the country foreshadows more clashes among militias, which prepares to fight each other after they allied in the past to fight Haftar.

Three major militias currently control the Libyan scene, with each of them having its own small intelligence body, prison, prisoners and commit horrible crimes. Acts of torture were also reported as part of the competition held to control the capital.

It is worth noting that the majority of Libyan cities have kept military councils, which were formed during the revolution against Muammar Gaddafi. Each one of these councils, mainly in the capital and its surrounding cities, makes all efforts to attract militias and strengthen its forces. The militia member’s salary starts with USD300 and may double if he is an excellent sniper. The biggest share of financial allocations are funded from the state’s treasury.

The second type of militias are sectarian groups which have their private allegations on applying the Islamic Shariaa and the establishment of a religious state, with some of them cooperating with ISIS like Al-Farouq Faction in Misrata. This type of militias receives funds from mysterious external sources.

The third type is known as mercenaries led by human and arms traffickers who bring militants and weapons from Asian and African countries to sell them as commodities for other militias that pay huge sums.

Since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, the NATO-backed rebellions and militants inherited the camps and arms of the Libyan army. But, major figures like dissidents from the army, police, and intelligence were playing major roles in the cities’ military councils.

A report shows that the Libyans’ reluctance to join armed militias or participate in their wars led to the expansion of militant’s export from neighboring countries over the two past years to join all the militias existing in the Libyan scene, even those backed by ISIS.

According to Libyan Parliament Member Ismail al-Ghoul al-Sharif said that the Jafra region comprised the biggest weapon stores during Gaddafi’s rule. However, all these stores were completely evacuated after they were full of tanks, armors, missiles, and ammunitions. This armory was captured by the militias and thieves sold huge quantities of them to neighboring countries asking for arms mainly in Africa.

After controlling the state’s institutions, leaders of extremist militias imported thousands of tons of developed arms and spying systems; figures show that militias possess around 20 million pieces of arms.

Militias were also empowered by capturing the security and intelligence archive in Tripoli, sharing control on ports, airports, and army training camps, which expanded illegal migration activities, acts of killing, steeling, and kidnapping.

Analyst Rajab bin Ghazzi said that amid these circumstances, people have suffered from lack of services; however, following the withdrawal of the majority of these militias, the future of Tripoli became ambiguous and more complicated.

*Dispute on the reconstruction of the Tripoli International Airport

One of the major militia leaders has been putting pressures on the Presidential Congress to agree on a transaction he wants to make for one of his Turkish friends to reconstruct the airport.

On Saturday, another competing militia prevented investors from entering the airport, while another one attacked the central bank to prevent it from allocating the needed funds for the reconstruction.

*Cooperation, fighting, then re-cooperation

It is hard to maintain a stable status of cooperation or fighting among militias. Generally, during the wars launched against ISIS, some militia members refused to follow commands, which caused the death of many young men. Militias were suddenly withdrawing leaving their alliances without any support.

*Militias to steel oil

In November, one militia stole around five million liters of oil from the refinery located in a city near Tripoli. In another accident, militias used heavy arms to oblige around 100 truck loading around 50,000 of oil to direct toward the marine port where they completed a transaction with two oil merchants. Yet, security authorities intend to open an investigation in oil steeling accidents in the country.

(Source / 15.12.2016)

Libyan forces claim control of ISIL stronghold of Sirte

Hundreds of loyalist troops and unknown number of ISIL fighters killed as pro-government forces seize coastal city.

The victory in Sirte follows a bitter seven-month campaign against ISIL in the area [Reuters]

The victory in Sirte follows a bitter seven-month campaign against ISIL in the area

Forces aligned to Libya’s UN-backed national unity government have gained full control of Sirte after months of fighting, in a major blow to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in the country.

“Our forces have total control of Sirte,” Reda Issa, a spokesman for pro-government forces, told AFP news agency on Monday. “Our forces saw Daesh totally collapse,” he said referring to the Arabic name of ISIL.

The battle for the coastal city, which was the last significant territory held by ISIL, also known as ISIS, in Libya, cost the lives of hundreds of loyalist troops as well as an unknown number of ISIL fighters, Issa said.

In Pictures: Embedded with the Libyan forces fighting ISIL in Sirte

The government forces seized the coastal city’s Jiza al-Bahrieh district, the last area where the armed group has been holding out, and were in the process of securing it, Issa said in a separate interview with DPA news agency.

“Daesh has totally collapsed and dozens of them have given themselves up to our forces,” said a statement on the loyalist forces’ official Facebook page.

ISIL fighters are still thought to be present in several parts of southern and eastern Libya but no longer control any towns.

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Sirte, said that there are still a few ISIL fighters holding out.

“The fighting has been going on all day,” he said, adding that at least 30 ISIL fighters have surrendered to the pro-government forces.

The question now is, how many of the fighters have fled to other parts of Libya, Anas El Gomati, director of the Tripoli-based Sadeq Institute, said in an interview with Al Jazeera from Dakar, Senegal.

“The fear now is that if ISIS moves into other parts of Libya, does it induce more and more conflict?” he said.

Children being treated for their injuries at a hospital in Misrata north of Sirte

Divided country

The developments follow a bitter seven-month campaign against ISIL, which took advantage of Libya’s split between rival governments in the east and west of the country to build up its largest territory outside of its heartland in Syria and Iraq.

Akram Glawan, Misrata Hospital spokesman, told AP news agency that 711 Libyan fighters have been killed battling ISIL during the seven-month operation in Sirte and that another 3,200 have been wounded.

Despite the apparent victory in Sirte, Libya remains deeply divided, with the national unity government based in the capital Tripoli unable to gain recognition from the elected parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Forces loyal to Tobruk military strongman General Khalifa Haftar have made major advances in recent months, seizing the country’s critical oil ports from forces aligned to the unity government.

Analysts argue that Haftar’s growing strength means that the UN-backed deal setting up the national unity government is increasingly out of step with the balance of power on the ground and should be revisited.

Even in Tripoli the unity government’s rule is far from secure, with a third rival administration backed by hardline armed groups recently attempting a comeback.

Clashes between rival militias claimed at least four lives in the city on Friday, according to the al-Wasat news site.

(Source / 06.12.2016)

Western Diplomats Show Rare Support to Libya’s Haftar

Marshal Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference at a sports club in Abyar, east of Benghazi May 21, 2014. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Marshal Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference at a sports club in Abyar, east of Benghazi May 21, 2014

Cairo- Armed forces led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced a “great victory” against extremist fighters in Libya’s Benghazi earlier on Thursday, which indefinitely entailed adjustments to political stances of diplomats who had long considered Haftar short to a hostile threat.

More so, the same diplomats turning the tables today had once vigorously fought against the Marshal keeping his military post as the general commander of the national army. In 2015, Haftar was appointed commander of the armed forces loyal to the elected, internationally backed government, the Council of Deputies.

Haftar held a senior position in the forces which overthrew despot Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. In 2014 he was commander of the Libyan Army when the General National Congress (GNC) allegedly refused to give up power in accordance with its term of office.

U.N. envoy to Libya Martin Kobler had adopted a novel rhetoric, shining with a sympathetic and a cooperative note—he tweeted earlier that the Libyan National Army, led by Haftar, is sacrificing greatly in its counterterrorism efforts and recorded advances.

Kobler added that fighting off terror is to everyone’s best interest.

The U.S. envoy to Libya, Jonathan Winer, also publicized a rare show of support for the forces of Haftar.

“Tough sacrifices by #Libya National Army soldiers this week reported – 20 killed & 40 injured in counter terror fighting in Benghazi,” he wrote on Twitter.

UK diplomat Peter Millett noted that the army had liberated Gwarsha from terror’s hold, adding: “Condolences to the families of LNA martyrs”.

This is the first time all three diplomats refer to the Haftar-led forces as Libya’s national army– which opposing to previous remarks, gives the LNA legitimacy under Haftar’s commandership.

Benghazi, birthplace of the 2011 revolution which toppled Libya’s longtime tyrant Gaddafi, has been the scene of daily clashes for the past two years between Haftar’s forces and armed hardliners holding onto strategic city pockets.

(Source / 19.11.2016)

Tayeb El Safi​ ​:​ ​I Call Libyans for a Comprehensive Reconciliation

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Tripoli- Tayeb El Safi, a trusted aide to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for decades, expressed to Asharq al-Awsat his rejection of the phenomenon of multiple governments considering it as a negative sign.

“The fact that we have three governments in the current time is unacceptable because this hurdles the process of the state. Now we have two central banks, one in the west and another in the east. We now have two Libyan institutions for oil and investment. All these are negative signs and their consequences are greater than their benefits. For this, I call everyone to join efforts to put an end for this,” said Safi.

Speaking on required conditions of a government capable of rescuing the country, Safi said “We are looking forward towards a government of qualifications… Development, economic and political conditions of Libya are no secret. This country needs to be rescued– to achieve this we need a government that consists of qualified figures who can tackle critical issues not only political ones—there are topics closely related to citizens’ daily life such as health, education and oil.”

Commenting on Skhirat Agreement, Safi said that this agreement was signed among some individuals and does not represent the Libyan people. “Only a limited category participated in this agreement that did not reflect the Libyans approach towards a real reconciliation and a moving forward attitude. Until today, Skhirat Agreement failed to be applied because the Libyans totally rejected it,” added Safi.

On the way he views Prime Minister Faiz Al Siraj, Safi said that Siraj is mistaken to believe that he enjoys legality just because of the international support. “You gain legality from the Libyan people and not from foreign parties. You should go back to the parliament where you were once a member in and swore the oath to look after the Libyan people interests,” added Safi.

Some concerns aroused regarding the return of the previous regime, Safi stressed that this topic should be overlooked because what matters is whether this person has integrity and loyalty in his job and can serve Libya. “My advice for people is to evaluate others based on their work, their qualifications, loyalty and success in their specialty,” continued Safi.

He thanks all the countries that are trying to solve the Libyan crisis but insisted that the Libyans are now convinced that regional and international interference worsened the crisis and that the Libyans must figure out a solution by themselves.

When asked how his feeling was when he returned to Libya, knowing that he departed in 2011, “I was assured. I have confidence in my people…After more than five years of emigration, I felt like I was finally home.”

(Source / 04.11.2016)

Altercations between Armed Militias in Libya

Libya

Anti-Gadhafi militants celebrate the fall of Sirte in the town, Libya

Cairo – Forces fighting ISIS in Sirte and loyal to the government of national accord became involved in the struggle between the government and the illegitimate forces in Tripoli.

Of the first foreign states to comment on recent developments, France officially condemned the occupation of the Libyan High Council of State.

The ministry issued the statement on its website, which said: “France condemns the occupation by force of the Libyan High Council of State, the institution created by the inter-Libyan political agreement, the only legitimate framework and only possible way to restore peace and stability in Libya.”

The ministry also reaffirmed its full support for Prime Minister Fayez Serraj’s Government of National Accord and support the efforts of Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General Martin Kobler.

France called on all political forces in the country to unite under the authority of the Presidency Council in order to bring about national reconciliation, effectively combat terrorism and human trafficking and work toward the country’s reconstruction.

Meanwhile, al-Nabaa television station reported official spokesperson of Solid Structure operations Mohammed al-Ghosari saying that the forces will not allow anyone to tarnish the legitimate political agreement and its institutions.

Libya’s Rebels room stated that it supports the return of the former parliament and its government. The room asked its brigades belonging to the chief staff to be fully prepared and stand against traitors.

For their part, presidential security said in a statement issued that the only legitimate body is the illegitimate parliament of Tripoli.

Parliament of Tripoli condemned the attempt to kidnap MP Mohammed Morghem. The parliament asked executive bodies and justice system to make sure the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

Last Friday, former authorities in Tripoli announced they had regained its powers after taking the state council in Tripoli without any clashes.

PM of former government Khalifah Ghuweil called upon all ministers and bodies to perform their missions and jobs as usual, especially those that affect the daily life of the citizens.

Meanwhile, media center of the Solid Structure Operations announced that the terrorist organization ISIS in Sirte is living its last day. The media center added that the presence of civilians in the city is delaying the complete liberation of the city.

The center mentioned that eight Eritrean women surrendered themselves after the Libyan Air Force dropped fliers asking them to. The women were slaves bought and sold among the leaders of the organization.

The center also briefly explained that the forces are advancing in District 3 of the city where there are few ISIS terrorists.

Chaos began in Libyan following the revolution that ousted the late Libyan leader Mouammar al-Ghaddafi, while Sarraj government that was formed in March faces forces that do not declare its legitimacy including the parliament in the east of Libya.

(Source / 19.10.2016)

Military Tension in Libya after Ghowel’s Control over High Council of State

Members of forces loyal to Libya's eastern government stand near to the Libyan cement factory after the army took control of the factory following clashes with the Shura Council of Libyan Revolutionaries, in Benghazi

Members of forces loyal to Libya’s eastern government stand near to the Libyan cement factory in Benghazi, Libya April 18, 2016

Cairo – Tension escalated in Libyan capital between Libyan factions hours after the U.N.-backed government seized a building used by parliament in Tripoli, proclaiming its own authority and demanding a new government in cooperation with the temporary government led by Abdullah al-Thani.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that limited clashes erupted between militias of Chairman of the High Council of State Abdulrahman Asswehly and security of the Rixos Hotel where the Libyan Parliament currently meets.

A parliamentary official told Asharq Al-Awsat that he expects for the situation to escalate in the upcoming hours to regain control over the headquarters of the High Council of State, which is now under the control of militias of former PM Khalifa al-Ghowel’s internationally unrecognized government.

Asswehly threatened to take back the council and granted Ghowel 24 hours to evacuate the office. Yet, the official said that the council is well-secured against any break-in attempts.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that people are scared and anxious and war could erupt at any minute now. He added that militias of the U.N-supported government are deployed in certain areas of Tripoli, but they can’t do anything and the Rixos hotel is under control.

Members of Fayez al-Sarraj government said they had taken over the Rixos in the capital, where part of the U.N.-backed government is supposed to operate. The hotel was already controlled by an armed group loyal to them.

Few hours after the militias’ control, former PM Ghowel said that the presidential council had many opportunities to form a government and failed. He called for the formation of a new government.

“The presidential council was given several chances to form the government, but it fails… and has become an illegal executive authority,” Ghwail said in a statement late on Friday.

Ghwail called for a new administration to be formed by his former Tripoli government and its rival in the east, where hardliners also oppose the U.N.-backed administration. He said all institutions including banks, the judiciary and local authorities were under their jurisdiction.

Media bureau of Sarraj said that the presidential council discussed security situation in the country during its meeting.

The presidential council issued a statement saying that Minister of Interior al-Aref al-Khawaj presented a detailed report on the security situation as well as plans set to deal with violations.

“The seizure of the state council is an attempt to hinder the implementation of political agreement by a group which rejects this deal after it has proved its failure in managing the state,” the presidential council said in a statement.

U.N.-backed government posted images on social media of its presidential council and ministers holding a meeting in the main offices of parliament in a different part of Tripoli.

Thani’s government, loyal to the parliament, welcomed Ghwail’s suggestion for a joint government and called upon the parliament to decide on this request as soon as possible.

U.S. State department expressed its great concern about the developments in Libya, saying: “We are in true support for the U.N.-brokered Government of National Accord, which is the legitimate choice of the Libyans and Libyan political parties.”

Likewise, the European Union and United Nations warned of parallel institutions and ensured their support for the GNA government.

(Source / 17.10.2016)

Gaddaf al-Dam: The West Aims at Occupying Libya by Launching Tripoli Battlefront

Ahmed Mohmamed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of the late totalitarian leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi,

Ahmed Mohmamed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of the late totalitarian leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi

Cairo- Ahmed Mohmamed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of the late totalitarian leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi, says that reinstating the old regime –the one which rose to power after the 1969 Gaddafi-led coup- is unrealistic and that both he and his supporting group understand that fully, affirming that they only seek the restoration of Libya for the better interest of its people.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Gaddaf al-Dam mentioned a new movement rising in Libya, one which includes both Gaddafi and 17 February Revolution supporters. The movement includes military battalions, to supposedly save Libya the ‘right’ way, referring to a national reform.

However, he did say that the movement will resort to other methods should political negotiations fail to salvage the situation.

The 17 February Revolution, an armed conflict in 2011, was fought between forces loyal to Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. Libya went into civil war and Gaddafi was killed on October 20, 2011, in the Libyan city, Sirte.

To top all that, many Libya leaderships have been frequently paying al-Dam visits at his Cairo residence.

What is more is that the faces seen walking in and out do not necessarily support same political set of ideals—Libyan political figures have started meeting outside the sponsorship of the United Nations.

In his talk, al-Dam warns of looming chaos especially with ISIS still getting supplied with arms and fighters while the international community stands idle. Eventually, he added that Western countries are driven towards opening up a battle front in Libya’s largest city, Tripoli. The front will launch after battles in the southern coastal city of Sirte are done.

All this aims at spreading the chaos, in preparation for Libya’s occupation, al-Dam explained.

When addressing the rumored joint military council between both Libyan bloc’s- led by Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar- al-Dam believes that it would serve as a temporary calming factor, given that chief parties are still kept out.

Al-Dam reiterated deep concerns of the international community overlooking ISIS’ flow into Libya and the arming campaign it has being supported with. Accusing the West of desires to march into Libya, the Libyan leader described the chaos back home.

He also added that any political negotiations casting ‘al-Fateh Revolution’-otherwise known by 1 September Revolution – out is not fair given that it fails to include at least half of the Libyan people’s representatives.

Muammar Gaddafi became the de facto leader of Libya on 1 September 1969 after leading a group of Libyan military officers in a coup d’état against the regime. Winning over the public and driving the King out of the country, the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Gaddafi abolished the monarchy and the old constitution and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic, with the motto “freedom, socialism, and unity”.

But Gaddaf al-Dam broke with Gadhafi in the first few days of a later 2001 rebellion, disagreeing with the government’s harsh repression of the uprising and fled to Cairo. Al-Dam wanted protesters to be dealt with a different way than the one Gaddafi was using.

He said the popular protest movement did not at first amount to a revolution but that NATO’s intervention, which was ill-advised, transformed it into one.

Since Gadhafi’s fall, Libya has splintered. In December, United Nations diplomats and Western leaders announced the creation of a Government of National Accord, but the House of Representatives still hasn’t recognized it.

Al-Dam explained that the West wishes to whitewash the damage it caused Libya’s infrastructure and society, hence resorts to endorsing and promoting political talks and agreements, such as the Skhirat, Morocco deliberations.

Moreover, he reiterated the West’s plans to exploit Libya’s strategic location and ample resources, including uranium and oil.

The cousin to a notorious and highly controversial leader said that the Libya war has its aftermath extending worldwide, whether it be terrorists being imported from their newly found hub to the whole world, or turmoil creeping up borderlines with neighboring countries.

He cited that some of the arms used by extremist attacks in Europe can be traced back to Libya.

After calling the intervention in Libya unconstitutional, al-Dam requested that Libya’s case file be taken out of the United Nations and handed back to the League of Arab States and the African Union.

On 19 March 2011, a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya, ostensibly to implement United Nations Security Council resolutions. The resolution was taken in response to events during the Libyan Civil War.

(Source / 12.09.2016)