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The Brigades of Revolutionaries in Libya want Libya to reject foreign moves to solve country’s political crisis

A group calling itself “The Brigades of Revolutionaries in Libya” rallied with several armoured vehicles in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square late yesterday afternoon demanding “all good Libyans” reject foreign moves to resolve the country’s political crisis. Instead they should unite behind national efforts to find a solution. The rally followed an earlier, smaller protest after Friday prayers by some of the same group in the square, but minus the weapons and armoured vehicles. The main rally was followed by a statement of their views on the Tanasah TV channel belonging to the controversial grand mufti, Sadek Al-Ghariani. He too supports national dialogue, firmly rejecting the UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement and the Presidency Council. While national dialogue was the goal, it was made clear in the televised statement that it excluded Khalifa Hafter and his supporters. The group, linked to the largely now Tripoli-based Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB) as well as to other radicals operating in the capital such as Salah Badi, described him as a “war criminal”.

Libya: waiting for UN approval

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As announced following the International Conference in Rome, the Libyan factions, all of Tripoli and Tobruk, signed deal for unitt government in Skhirat (Morocco).The Presidential Council, composed of president Sarraj Fayez, three vicepresidents on behalf of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan and other five representatives, have to form new government within 40 days. Moreover, the UN Security Council will vote terms of military operation in the next days, to make safe Tripoli and train local forces. This international coalition will be led by Italy, while Great Britain will send 1000 troops.

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December 17 the 90 representatives of the Assembly of Tobruk and 27 of the GNC Tripoli signed the agreement. The new Presidential Council, in addition to choose new government, will have to convince the presidents of two parliaments to accept the deal. Among the problems which should be solved, there is also the military intervention because several factions prefer the training of Libyan army, rather than a foreign operation.

The most important perspective is about the presence of a unique executive to allow, after Syria, to open another front to fight the Islamic State in Libya, where Sirte became the Caliphate stronghold.

Some US troops are already present, as reported by many international media. As well as France and Great Britain, which reached Libya through southern borders.

And Italy? As leaked out by Italian Defence, the non-intervention in Syria, the contribution to the NATO mission in Iraq (450 soldiers will defende the strategic Mosul Dam), clearly show Italian line: optimize the best efforts, humanly and logistically, to the nearest, and therefore more crucial, Libya.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: doubts about initial agreement

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Almost a month after the end of Bernardino Leon’s role, GNC announced that it reached an initial agreement with Tobruk to lead a national unity government and elections. The draft, signed in Tunis on November 6, includes the creation of a committee of ten, equally shared between Tripoli and Tobruk, which will elect the new prime minister and two vice presidents.

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A deal which, although out of the UN draft of last October, was positively received by the UN envoy Martin Kobler and Italy. Indeed, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that his country “is ready to do its part.”

Since the first international conference on Libya in Rome on December 13, Italy will try to have a leading role in this crucial context, supported by the United States, but also by Russia, which, through its Foreign Minister Lavrov, said that Moscow “is ready to help Italy in Libya.”

As in Vienna after Paris attacks and raid on Raqqa, even this summit in Rome is very important. In addition to terror threat in Europe, an Iranian news agency reported that caliph al Baghdadi moved from Turkey to Libya last October. So, after French military reaction in Syria, now Italy and EU have to define what to do in Libya. Daesh is located almost 300 kilometres from Italian coast.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: “Short-term outcome is impossible”

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Italian cemetery profanation in Tripoli and supposed Libyan territorial waters violation from Italian ships. This November, diplomatic relations between Italy and Libya have risked to break off. For these issues, European Affairs interviewed Dr. Giovanna Ortu, President of Association of Italians Repatriated from Libya, expelled by Gaddafi, along with other 20 thousand compatriots, in 1970.

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Dr. Ortu, after Italian cemetery profanation, what was the position taken by the Italian Government? Did you receive support?

“I went to the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Mario Giro, with whom I had already scheduled an appointment before it happened this episode: he was very helpful, but also worried about Libyan context. Meanwhile, there was also UN mediator Bernardino Leon failure. The situation between different factions has become too complicated. In my opinion, this long-time duality between Tripoli and Tobruk increased the infighting: if the agreement was reached before, Gaddafi followers could not reorganize themselves and Islamic State could not take root “.

 

It is not the first time that the Italian cemetery in Libya was victim of similar actions. The last one was in January 2014. From your viewpoint, are these event advanced by anti-Italian reasons? Otherwise, by political factors?

“In my opinion, they are not advanced by anti-Italian reasons. The criminal acts happened up to 2000, which then led us to restore it in 2004, can be connected to petty crime. Even the incident in January 2014, or other latest ones, are of the same standard. However, I can not judge if the last one is politically motivated. Surely, our association feared for a long time that these desecrations could politically exploit. ”
In your opinion, is recent diplomatic incident between Italy and Libya an international strategy to exclude Rome from the leading role of a possible military action under the aegis of the UN?

“At the moment, there is a big difference between Libyan population feeling and those who speculate on the internal divisions to undermine relations between two countries. I think that agreement signed by Berlusconi and Gaddafi in 2008, in favor of Italy, caused a reaction of other European partners. Indeed, this country has several oil reserves and needed infrastructure works. That treaty had taken a slice too big to other European states. However, I would never have believed that Western countries to embark on a war, as happened in 2011, without having an institutional level, and the postwar economic “.
You know Libyan social context very well: is still possible to create a national unity government? Islamic State is always more rooted: can this organization really reflect Libyan religious context?

“I am very negative about a short-term positive outcome. Even more optimistic analysis made by geopolitical experts was failed. The Libya that I know is of many years ago. However, I’ve had opportunities to go to Tripoli three times. There I met young people were full of feeling but unschooled. However, I found women who worked in institution and with uncovered face. I think that it’s very difficult back to normal after a 40 years dictatorship. So, this weak population has been victim of Daesh propaganda. ”
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: agreement in the balance

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Tobruk rejects the Council of Presidency, but does not formally vote on the proposal on 9 October. International Community is waiting for Tripoli response. National unity government hangs in the balance. However, Leon mandate at maturity and Daesh radicalization require a quickly change.

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UN envoy Bernardino Leon buoyancy at the end of favorable negotiations on October 9, in which it was drawn up draft agreement and national unity government designations, contradicts Tobruk Parliament rejection on October 19 of Presidential Council submitted by the United Nations.

Then, not a formal vote against the deal. However, the 153 deputies of the Assembly have sent a powerful message to the United Nations and Tripoli. A discontent consisted of seventy representatives, who are ready, as reported by Libyan Herald, to distance themselves from the Tobruk position.

Now, there is waiting for Tripoli response, even if the premises on October 19, when draft was turned down by GNC head Nuri Abu Sahimin, who has disapproved “formal invitation to New York in the presence of Tobruk Foreign Minister, supported by an illegal parliament since resolved by the Constitutional Court, a Libyan delegate to the UN removed by Congress and Egypt and Emirates Foreign ministers “.

However, Tobruk Parliament’s mandate has just officially expired Monday, October 19 (though it has since been extended). Just as Leon, to whom will succeed the German Martin Kobler and close to the failure of his mission in Libya. And EU military, economical and social plan in support of the national unity government, announced by High Representative Federica Mogherini last October 20, seems unrealistic if Tobruk and Tripoli will not say yes to the United Nations draft.

In addition to the joint statement of several countries in recent days, the reactions of the last hours minimize what happened in Tobruk: “It did not approve nor reject. It was only decided not to submit the proposal to the vote of the Chamber of Representatives “, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said. While Leon reiterated that “the process goes on. There is no chance for small groups or personalities to hijack this process. The political solution is the only real alternative,” Leon restated.

Next hours are crucial. The several institutional deadlines but, above all, Daesh radicalization in a strategic city as Benghazi demands an urgent political unique solution.

Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: action plan is ready

The governments of Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Spain and the United States have appealed against Isis attacks in Sirte. Waiting for Tripoli choice, new action plan, led by Italy and under the aegis of Un aegis, has come to light: infrastructure protection and building, UN peacekeepers, training of army.

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Over 200 dead and at least 500 injured as a result of the clashes last week in Sirte. ISIS militants have left behind a trail of blood and horror. Crimes, like the crucifixion of 12 Salafist militants or 22 hospital patients died as a result of a fire set by jihadists, which branded as “genocide” by Tobruk government.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that speak of indiscriminate shelling of densely populated districts of the city and acts of violence in order to terrorize the people – governments of Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Spain and the United States in a unique statement said – . We appeal to all factions Libyan who want a unified country in peace and to join forces to combat the threat posed by transnational terrorist groups that exploit Libya for their own purposes, “.

The need for national unity government, called by the International Community, is extremely topical. The United Nations eagerly awaiting the decision of Tripoli, after agreement between the other factions. There is a plan to be implemented to halt the advance of the Isis in Libya.

There are rumors of a military intervention led by Italy and under the aegis of United Nations since a few months. An action plan already drawn up by Italian Foreign Ministry Paolo Gentiloni, to which ambassador Bernardino Leon is working hard, especially after the capture of Sirte, the massacres and the migration emergency.

As revealed in the last hour, this action plan concerns next stage after national unity government constitution. First, the executive should make an official request for international aid. So, it could lead to the financial and military support to stabilize Libya and fight the Islamic State.

As well as subsidies for infrastructures like roads and airports, and security of oil and gas installations, the topic would be Un peacekeepers intervention and the training of Libyan army.

Institutional, political and economical stabilization of Libya are necessary for immigration drop to Italy and Greece and defeat of Isis, as explained by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gentiloni: “Agreement for a national government Libya, with International Community support, remains the only possibility to fight extremist violence and the deterioration of the humanitarian and economical situation in the country. “Tripoli must hurry. Time goes faster.

Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: among possible agreement and endless immigration emergency

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As agreed in Switzerland, factions will seek a political solution to national unity by September. Continue the migration emergency: for IOM, the Sicilian Channel is the most dangerous route in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Rapprochement in Geneva between different Libyan factions, including Tripoli government. In negotiations chaired by UN delegate Bernardino Leon, parties has unanimously declared to search a political solution of national unity within late August and early September. There is still no formal agreement, then. But, after July agreement reached in Algeria, now the Libyan National Congress could do its role. Although the greatest obstacle will be finding a meeting point between Misurata troops and General Haftar army.

Meanwhile, just two days ago, Prime Minister Abdullah al Thinni had announced his resignation at a Libyan TV. But, a few hours later, a spokesperson has denied the report.

There is, however, no time to lose in negotiations. In addition to the internal fight against Daesh, migration route to the Italian coast is hot. Over 2000 arrivals between Sicily and Calabria in the last three days. On 10 August, vessel Fiorillo of Italian Coast Guard was able to save at least 400 people. As well as more than 150 from Fenice of Italian Navy . Or the 450 migrants arrived at Augusta. And just as there have been many arrests of smugglers from the Italian authorities. The inhuman conditions and deaths at sea are a constant.

Number of deaths which is increasing compared to over 2,000 in early August, certified by the IOM. Compared to the Greek route, “the majority of migrants have lost their lives in the Sicilian Channel, along the central route of the Mediterranean linking Libya to Italy, “says the International Organization for Migration.

Strait of Sicily route is “disproportionately more dangerous than the other. Although Italy and Greece are both hit by migration flows very significant (approximately 97,000 and 90,500 respectively), mortality rates are very different: they were about 1,930 migrants died trying to reach Italy, as were about 60 migrants died en route to Greece. ”

“Despite these tragedies, the IOM recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the naval forces in the Mediterranean, which continue to save lives every day. The number of deaths has decreased significantly in recent months and this is largely due to the strengthening of the operation Triton: the Mediterranean is now patrolled by a larger number of vessels that can push up to where there are requests for help ” .

“They are almost 188,000 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean so far and IOM strongly supports the continuation of these activities. The organization believes that the number of migrants arriving in the coming months and that will increase the threshold of 200,000 will be reached very soon, ” the IOM statement ended.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: International Community is waiting Tripoli

Crucial week for the composition of national unity government. Italian Foreign Minister Gentiloni and the UN ambassador Leon are pressing Tripoli Prime Minister Abusahmin. After the agreement, International Community could decide on military operation. But Isis has published a video against Tobruk executive branch.

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“This is a warning to Haftar and his companions, the atheists who gather in Parliament, we will not be tolerant, we will have pleasure to slit yours throats.” These are the words of jihadist Abu Yahya Al-Tunsi in a video posted (“Message of Sirte”) on internet by ISIS. The threats to the Tobruk government have arrived in crucial week for the formation of the national unity government because Tripoli will must decide if it wants to sign deal.

Last 1st August, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni Bernardino Leon and the UN mediator met Prime Minister Nuri Abusahmin Tripoli in Algeria. They tried to follow up Shikat agreement of two weeks ago, when all factions, except the government supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, agreed on Libyan national unity government. Despite many difficulties in the negotiations in recent months, Tripoli has continued to negotiate: so agreement could be not so far.

This deal is urgent for International Community, especially for the Eu. After institution of Libyan national unity government, an Un military mission could start. It could include Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the United States which, according to La Repubblica, would provide only logistical support to the operation.

Meanwhile, on August 3rd another video was broadcast on internet. It documents torture suffered by Al-Saadi Gaddafi, the Rais second son, in Tripoli prison. These bloody images bring the opening of an investigation by the Attorney General of Tripoli.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: the agreement is incomplete

First step towards the establishment of an executive of national unity. The Tobruk government and representatives of other factions have officialized their agreement after months of deals. But United Nations and Leon are waiting Tripoli choice.

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Yes the agreement for the government of national unity of Libya Sunday 12th July. To Skhirat (Morocco) the Tobruk government and delegates of Zintan, Misrata and other factions have signed the pact along the lines of the last 3rd July. One step forward, after long work of UN mediator Bernardino Leon. But an incomplete agreement because of it’s without Tripoli government’s approval.

However, reactions were positive. “An important first step towards peace”, Leon and Tobruk representatives said. Also Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gentiloni has the same viewpoint: “The signing gives us grounds for hope and encourages us to continue with our negotiating efforts. It is now up to Tripoli to make a significant and responsible gesture by signing up to the agreement proposed by the UN Special Representative, Bernardino Leon, with the full support of Italy also”.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Derna, a port city of Cyrenaica, has been “lost from the Islamic State”, as admitted in a video by an Islamist militant. While the Us is thinking to positionate its drones to monitor Islamic State in Libya, in according with North African countries. In the last days, Us President Obama and Gb Prime Minister Cameron reiterated that it’s possibile to defeat Daesh not with ground forces, although with pilotless aircrafts.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: close to National Unity Governement

Tobruk and other factions have signed the agreement. United Nations are waiting for Tripoli’s reply.

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Tobruk, Zintan, Misurata and other faction delegates have signed in Morocco the political agreement “to create a Libyan National Unity Government” on 3rd July Friday early morning , as reported by United Nations. After several months of negotiations and the threat of International sanctions, Bernardino Leon, Un Special Representative, has achieved expected outcome from these peace talks and from fourth draft. International Community are waiting for Tripoli’s General National Congress choice for next Monday.

“Libya needs a broad-based agreement to launch its reconstruction in security”, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said. “Refusing to accept this responsibility would be grave. In the immediate future Italy will multiply its efforts to ensure that a unified position is reached rapidly on the political agreement submitted by the United Nations”, he concluded.
Giacomo Pratali

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