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Lybians tribals and women leaders delegation: urge UN to take a balanced approach to Libya's crisis

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A delegation of Libyan tribal leaders and women leaders has called on the UN to take a balanced approach to the Libyan peace process. The delegation from the National Movement for Libya (NML) met with UN officials and U.S. government representatives while visiting New York and Washington D.C. to discuss the UN-led peace process in Libya.  After have recalling the collapsing of Libyan State since 2011, they have called UN to collabaorate with Libyan tributes

The Arab League, the European Union, the African Union, and the United Nations renewed their commitment to the Libyan stability

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The Arab League, the European Union, the African Union, and the United Nations renewed their commitment to the Libyan stability, sovereignty, integrity, and the unity of institutions emanating from the Libyan Political Agreement (PA) that signed in Skhirat, confirming the need for peaceful settlement to the Libyan crisis, refusing intimidation or use of military power, and the foreign intervention. The quadrilateral meeting has expressed its oppositions to recent violences in the Oil crescent, and told its preoccupation about recent violences in Tripoli. But it had recalled the necessity to overpass these conflicts to reach peace. The role of regional partners had been underlined, and EU has promised an economical help plan of E120 millions to deal about immigration.

More women die from henna poisoning in Marj, Libyans are said to be increasingly worried about using it

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Two more women have died of henna poisoning in Marj, it is reported, bringing the number of fatalities to at least 45 in the area in the past six years. It is not thought that henna fatalities are especially prevalent in Marj, rather that they are better reported there. Last year, when Marj’s 43rd victim since the 2011 revolution died, it was said that another 56 women had died from henna poisoning elsewhere in eastern Libya over the same period of time. There are no available statistics for the south and west of the country where henna is also widely used. Its use to decorate hands and other parts of the body is part of traditional culture throughout Libya, especially to celebrate marriage. However, after the rise in deaths resulting from the addition of toxic chemicals to increase production and make more money, Libyans are said to be increasingly worried about using it. DrSulaiman, a specialist on the issue, said chemicals are sometimes added to the henna which can result in circulatory collapse, cardiac arrest and kidney failure. Poisoning is also said to be caused by para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a highly toxic chemical compound used by dealers in order to make the henna a darker colour. PPD causes allergies and skars.

Libya: U.S. airstrikes and Haftar issue

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As requested by Government of National Accord, the U.S. intensified its fight in Libya launching airstrikes in Sirte, ISIS stronghold in Libya. American help is necessary to accelerate GNA advance: “These actions and those we have taken previously will help deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies,” the Pentagon statement said.

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Previously, Western support was by intelligence and military training, as proved by presence of special forces in Libya since at least March 2016. Now, despite GNA advance in Gulf of Sirt (ISIS troops decreased from 6,000 to 1,000, as reported by Pentagon), American help is necessary to increase its influence in this area. Indeed, if the U.S. (and Italy, through a logistic support) wants to defeat Islamic State because of the war on terrorism, Serraj has at least two reasons: the first one is Libyan security and support to all factions which are fighting against Daesh; the second one concerns Serraj’s connection with Haftar and HoR for GNA legitimacy.

Inevitably, Haftar reaction after the U.S. intervention was not positive. His troops, supporting by Egypt and France (three French soldiers were killed in Libya close to Benghazi), advanced against ISIS positions in past months, especially when GNA was freshly formed. But the U.S. and its allies wants an unified Libya to defeat Daesh and stop migration flows.

If France has an ambivalent position, Italy is the first U.S. ally in the Libyan context. Now, Rome is ready to consider positively a request to use airbases and national airspace, and support the operation, if it is believed that it would lead to a more rapid and effective conclusion of the ongoing action,” Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said.
Giacomo Pratali

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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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Libya: Rome, two Italian hostages killed

BreakingNews @en/Europe di

“In connection to the circulation of several images of the victims, apparently Westerners, of a shootout in Libya’s Sabratha region, the Farnesina informs that from the images, albeit in the absence of bodies, it could be possible to identify two of the four Italians who worked for the Bonatti construction company and who were kidnapped in July 2015.  More specifically, the images could be of Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla. The Farnesina has already informed the families. However, despite efforts to verify the news, confirmation thereof is made difficult due to the absence of the bodies ”. On March 3, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday confirmed that Fausto Piano, 61, and Salvatore Failla, 47, were killed in Libya. While the other two Italian coworker kidnapped last July, Filippo Calcagno and Gino Pollicardo, “are still alive “, as reported by the president of Copasir Marco Minniti.

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On March 3, Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla were probably killed during a shoot-out near Sabratha between Tripoli’s security forces, led by Fajr Libya, and an ISIS brigade. According to local sources, the two Italians would be hit while they were traveling aboard a jihadist convoy.

Images on web and the statement of Italian government certified their kill. But there are two doubts. The first one is about the kidnapping of July 20, 2015 because the four Bonatti employeers returned to their home not by sea, but by car. An unusual choice seeing that Eni and Bonatti workers generally choose the first option.

The second one is about imprisonment during the following months, when a claim never arrived. Even until late February, local sources excluded ISIS responsibility. But what happened last Wednesday showed the opposite because jihadists used the two Italians as a shield. While men Fajr Libya were not aware that in Daesh convoy were present Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: what’s the real role of Italy?

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Syria more than Libya was the main topic during the Rome meeting of the anti-ISIS Small Group on February 2. Summit was held chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, the summit was attended by 23 foreign ministers, including the EU Representative Federica Mogherini.

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During the press conference after meeting, Kerry told about a global battle against Daesh in Syria, Iraq and Libya: “This theater of war will be longer, more than a war between two states”. He excluded the possibility of a ground intevention of US armed forces, but ensured logistical and training supports when new Libyan government will approve international military operation. Moreover, Secretary of State remembered that Italy is “one of the most active countries anti-ISIS”.

And Libya? Political impasse to create new government in Tripoli is not only favoring once again
the radicalization of Daesh, but is causing knock-out effects. Risk is only one: Western countries could repeat the same error of 2011 if did not wait for new government approval for military intervention.

As revealed by the Sunday Times, intelligences of the United Kingdom, United States and France would be active at a base near Tobruk, where they are already planning interventions on the ground and the introduction of a permanent headquarters. So, what this possibile UN military intervention really is? A support to local forces? Several bomb raid? Or even a ground intervention?

Last December, writing to his Italian counterpart Roberta Pinotti, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said: “I hope that Italy will take part in raid against Islamic State. “ Conflicting words compared with Kerry and Gentiloni recent statements.

Ultimately, this summit did not change anything about Libyan crisis. Moreover, this deadlock could relegate Italy to subordinate role during the probably UN military intervention.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: deal is due to expire

BreakingNews @en/Policy di

70 people killed by a truck bomb detonated in a police training center. Oil terminals are under attack. More than 300 kilometers of coastline are controlled by Islamic State. New government formation is always more essential in order that UN intervention could stop Daesh advance and allow Libya to grow.

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70 people killed and several injured. It’s the definitely bloody balance of attack in Zliten, where a jihadist detonated a truck bomb beside a police training center last Thursday. An affiliate group of Daesh claimed responsability. While Italy evacuated 15 woundered on Monday sending a C-130 to take them to military hospital in Rome.

Meanwhile, Eu foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini met prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj, backed in Tunis after attack at Misurata airport last Friday, and pledged 100 million euro aid-package.

But Libya is close to collapse. Indeed, unity government deal should run out of time within two weeks: nevertheless, Tripoli, Tobruk and other factions have not still assembled new executive. Instead, Tripoli, where new government will be established, as is other cities, are victims not only of Daesh, but of clashes between enemy factions.

The whole while The Financial Times publishes a new report about Libyan economic context. Analysis is tragic. Oil production collapse to 400,000 b/d in the last 18 months, while it reached 1,4 million during the post-revolution. Denar depreciated about 60 per cent. Whereas, EIU estimated Libyan GDP to fall over 8 per cent during 2016.

From security viewpoint, more than 300 kilometers of coastline are controlled by Islamic State. Sidra and other oil terminals were aimed by Daesh, even if the attack on oil port of Zuetina was repelled by Libya guards on Monday.

Libyan internal chaos increased again since December 17, when Tripoli, Tobruk and other factions reached agreement. New government formation is always more essential in order that UN intervention could stop Daesh advance and allow Libya to grow.
Giacomo Pratali

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