A new Libyan-Libyan dialogue could be in preparation between both parts of Libyan political spectrum, indeed, Hafter flew from Benghazi’s Benina Airport, on 1st May, to Abu Dhabi, and according to speculations, he could meet Faiez Serraj, president of the GNA (Government of National Accord) there. According to a statement from the Libyan National Army General Command media office, the visit is at the invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander of the UAE armed forces. However, there have been constant rumours over the past three or four days of an encounter between him and Serraj having been organised by the Emiratis.
On Thursday, Martin Kobler, UN special envoy for Libyan crisis, was in Tripoli, for a political meeting with Serraij (Presidency Council-PC) and State Council President Abdulrahman Sewehli. Kobler has also met some deputies of HoR (House of Representatives) who are now in Tripoli. Kobler told that organization of a meeting between HoR and State Council is the main priority. He told at the end of meetings “Libya will rise again”.
In continuing regional efforts to find a solution to the Libya crisis, the Arab League’s special envoy, SalaheddineJamali, has urged FaiezSerraj to make compromises, but still based on the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). In Jamali’s first visit to Libya today since his appointment last November, the two discussed how Libya could pull itself out of the current political deadlock. Thanking the Arab League for its support and Jamali for visiting, Presidency Council (PC) head Serraj said he would offer practical solutions and suggestions at the Arab League summit next month in Amman, Jordan. Jamali also met State Council chairman AbdulrahmenSewehli. According to the State Council, they discussed providing assistance to the “legitimate authorities” in the context of the LPA. Both sides also evaluated the initiatives by Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia. including yesterday’s “Tunis Declaration” Jamali, who is usually based in his home country of Tunisia, last month, met with Egyptian foreign minister SamehShoukry to discuss the Libya crisis. He also met HoR President Ageela Saleh in Tunis. He is yet to meet KhalifaHafter.
While UN envoy Martin Kobler is realizing political talks with Libyan factions, waiting for Trump’s first step on the North African front, ISIS and migrant questions remain on Tripoli table.
A French national has been captured at an Islamic State (IS) training camp and he is held at Benghazi’s Grenada military prison. A video of him was broadcast yesterday by French TV channel M6 but it did not state where he was arrested nor they revealed his name. We know he was of Algerian origin and from the east of France. Questioned by a French reporter, the man said he had been a second-hand car salesman and that he was gone to Libya planning to move on to Syria and join the Nusra Front, the jihadist organisation previously part of Al-Qaeda. He had not intended to join IS. He refused to send a message to his family on the basis that French intelligence will know who he is soon.
Most migrants in Libya want to remain in the country and do not intend to head for Europe. The revelation came in the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) latest Libya Displacement Tracking Matrix Flow Monitoring Analytical report. Libya remains the main country of intended destination for 56 percent of all 1,946 migrants surveyed, with 17 percent destined for Italy, 7 percent to Germany and 5 percent to France, the report says. The report says 81 to 83 percent of migrants from Egypt, Chad and Sudan surveyed intended to stay in Libya. Only 16 percent of Nigerian migrants intended to stay in Libya while 43 percent intended to travel to Italy, 12 percent to Italy, 12 percent to Germany and the remaining 29 percent to a variety of other countries. The demographic age of migrants surveyed were in their twenties, averaging of 29 and 98 percent were male. Most were from the countries bordering Libya: Niger, Egypt and Sudan. Nigerians were the fourth most represented group making up 10 percent of those surveyed. Economic reasons were given by 88 percent of all respondents as the main factors driving them to leave their countries of origin as well as the main reason determining migrants’ choice of destination. Seventy-four present of respondents said that they had spent over 6 months in Libya.
On Thursday, Libyan forces resumed their advance against Daesh militants holding out in a few streets in their former stronghold of Sirte, saying they had captured 25 houses and a stash of arms. Backed by US air strikes, the Libyan brigades have reduced the area held by the militants to a small patch of land near Sirte’s Mediterranean seafront after a campaign of more than six months. Lately, they say, they are advancing with more caution in the Ghiza Bahriya district to limit casualties among their own fighters and among any hostages and families still held there. “According to our information there are still civilians including women and children inside,” Mohamed Al Gasri, a spokesman for the brigades, told private TV station Libya’s Channel. “The instructions are not to rush in, in order to limit the damage.” Rida Issa, another spokesman for the brigades, said they had recovered a 106 mm anti-tank gun and a store of ammunition during Thursday’s advance. One of the Misrata-led forces had been killed and three wounded, he said. He said perhaps 70 houses remained under Daesh page6 Centro Studi Roma 3000 – Via Marco Simone, 80 00012 Guidonia Montecelio – Tel. 0039.0694801821 www.roma3000.it control. As of Tuesday, the United States had carried out 420 air strikes in Sirte since Aug.1, according to US Africa Command.
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.
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.
After a week, GNC voted its dissolution. So, former prime minister Ghwell left its office. Premier Serraj stregthened its position also because of support of Tripoli and Southern municipalities as well as Central Bank of Libya, Libyan Investment Authority and National Oil Corporation. But two issues remain. Tobruk has not already ratified GNA and Haftar, supported by Egypt, who has a greated influence over Libyan National Army. And Daesh, which doubled its militants to 6,000 fighters.
UN government reached its first target. After sanctions against Ghwell, who escaped to Misurata one week ago, yesterday GNC announced its dissolution thanks to 70 representetives (it will be the new State Council). Kobler arrival on Thursday got things moving again: “The HoR remains the legitimate body to endorse the GNA. I urge the HoR to hold a comprehensive session to vote on GNA in free will,”
UN support, with US, UK, Italy and France in the background, are convincing several institution and people to support GNA. From Misrata militias one week ago, to Central Bank, LIA, NOC and several municipalities in Tripoli and southwards now. Even former premier Ghwell could be persuaded that him and its business will not touch.
“We have been working with Prime Minister Sarraj and the Presidency Council to put this period of divisions and rivalry behind us,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla, who predicted that exported barel production per day could return to 800 (now is 200).
From security viewpoint, situation is not difficult like one week ago. Tripoli is trying to return the capital of entire Libya, where GNA will have its stronghold. But Serraj has two missions.
The first one is to convince HoR to ratify UN government and Cyrenaica to support it. A UN military operation, with Italy as leader of international coalition (as remebered by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on UsaToday) will be possible only if Tobruk accepts Moroccan deal. Moreover, Haftar influence over Libyan Army and Egyptian support are not helping to form the unity government. On the contrary, as reported by several international sources, former general would want to split Libya into two parts.
The second one is against Islamic State. Indeed, jihadists passed to 6,000 fightes in the last 12 to 18 months. Daesh is not only in Sirte, but also in Benghazi, Derna and Sabratha. However, local rebels are fighting ISIS: “They are contesting the growth of ISIS in several areas across Libya,” General David M. Rodriguez, head of U.S. Africa Command, said. “They don’t have the homegrown people that know as much about Libya like they did in Iraq and Syria. ”
So, this week was only the first step. Real Libyan problems has not already solved.