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Libya: with Serraj or Haftar?

Middle East - Africa di

Several influences composed the current Libyan context. The war against Daesh and the possible international military operation on the ground, under Italy leadership as attested by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, are two geopolitical variables that could intersect in the near future.

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“We have no links with Mr Serraj and the Presidential Council which he leads is not recognised by the parliament (in the east),” Haftar told i-Tele news channel in an interview in Libya. “Daesh does not have the capacity to face the Libyan armed forces, but the battle could take time. ” It’s what Geneal Khalifa Haftar said in an interview on May 20 and confirmed in following ones. So, Serraj’s visit in Egypt, the main Haftar’s sponsor, on May 26 could be determining to a possible coalition between GNA and Tobruk, which are fighting ISIS nearby Sirte.

So, the Libyan context is not going anywhere. Tobruk parliament has not already voted for GNA. On the other hand, on May 17 asked International Community for help Libya by engaging with the legitimate institutions in accordance with the political agreement. While, on May 8, he said that “”It doesn’t make sense that the international community supports our war against terrorism, and forbids us from arming ourselves.”

“We are ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping the presidential guard and vetted forces from throughout Libya. The government of national accord has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the UN Libya sanctions committee to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat Daesh throughout the country. We will fully support these efforts while continuing to reinforce the UN arms embargo,” UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

Just as Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who supposed a military support only after “we will try to reinforce the political accord, to fight against ISIS, including General Haftar, but the full recognition is needed”. While, during the meeting in Rome with GNA Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala, discussed about migration control and “the possibility of reactivating the tools set out in the 2008 friendship pact as soon as possible,” Italian government said in a statement.
Military context
GNA and Misrata militias from the South and the West; Haftar’s troops from the East. The siege of Sirte, ISIS stronghold in Libya, is underway. A military context which is causing two consequences. The first one, Western countries special forces, already on the ground since at least two months, are supervising by both and monitoring Libyan progress and Haftar’s reliability if GNA will fail. The second one, the first ISIS internal divisions caused as reported by Libyan online magazine al Wasat.

So, the next few weeks will be crucial for Libyan destiny. The pressure of United States, United Kingdom and France on Italy for an immediate military operation on the ground will particularly depend from result of war of GNA and Tobruk troops against Islamic State: therefore, General Khalifa Haftar is not still out of running.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: is France supporting Haftar?

Politics di

How confirmed in the last weeks, the real Libyan conflict is between GNA and HoR, which didn’t still ratified UN government. Behind this impasse there is General Khalifa Haftar, very well-liked by Egypt and EAU through weapons supply in the war against Islamic State. And, while France partecipated to G5 meeting in Hannover with Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and United States and discussed about Libya crisis, on the other hand Paris is supporting Egypt to extend its sphere of influence on Cyrenaica and its oil well.

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After that workers at the Marsa el-Hariga terminal had refused to load the shipment which should have to export 650,000 barrels of oil on April 22, Libyan crisis is becoming always more complicated. It’s clear that Tobruk government is trying to control oil well. “This had the potential to be a very ugly incident and I am pleased that it has been resolved peacefully without injury to anybody or loss of revenue or damage to the integrity of NOC or the country,” Tripoli-based Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said.

Not only from oil viewpoint, but also from military one. After that Shura Council pushed out Islamic State fighters from Derna, Hafeth al-Dabaa, a spokesman for Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC), told the BBC that Haftar didn’t freed the city but its warplanes targeted Islamic revolutionaries. And, with LNA, is moving towards Sirte, the Daesh stronghold in Libya.

The Serraj request to support his government to international community especially reguards Haftar. UN support on April 28, when it blocked illicit crude sale towards Malta, could be not enough.

Indeed, Egypt and EAU are directly supporting Tobruk and Haftar. The purpose is to come first to Sirte and defeat Islamic State. Supported by Al Sisi, the General is aiming to become the leader of Libya.

So, French participation to G5 about Libya and the contemporary weapons supply to Egypt are complicating Libyan context. And, above all, the role of Western countries.

Therefore, Libya’s U.N.-backed unity government called on Thursday was necessary to stop all military actions against Islamic State: “In the absence of coordination and unified leadership … the Council expresses its concern that the battle in Sirte against Daesh (Islamic State) will be a confrontation between those armed forces. Accordingly, the Presidential Council, as the supreme commander of army, demands all Libyan military forces wait for it to appoint a joint leadership for the Sirte operation,” the statement said.
Giacomo Pratali

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