Category: Rebellious Land of Libya


October 28, 2017

The commander of the so-called Libyan Army Khalifa Haftar is scheduled to arrive in Egypt ‘s Cairo Saturday to discuss possible Egyptian airstrikes on Derna and other cities like Ajdabiya, The New Arab reported Egyptian sources as saying.

The New Arab added that a meeting between Haftar and his accompanying delegation and the Head of the Egyptian committee on Libyan affairs as well as Chief of Staff Ahmad Hijazy will take place Saturday and several issues will be reviewed.

As Egyptian fingers were pointed lately at the claim that the individuals who conducted the last attack in Wahat in Egypt came through the border with Libya, the sources added that cooperation on border security with Haftar’s forces will also be discussed, in addition to the results of Al-Sisi and French President’s talks on the Libyan crisis, the UK-based newspaper added.

It indicated that a relative alteration in Egyptian vision for the solution of Libya’s crisis has surfaced as Cairo will be pushing forth the military solution led by Haftar regardless of the ongoing UN action plan implementation that had already started in Tunisia talks last month.

This push of Egypt sees eye to eye with Haftar‘s efforts to seize Libya including the capital’s control, which belongs until now to the UN-brokered government led by Fayez Al-Sirraj, the newspaper reports.

“Cairo has a calmer and more gradual strategy than Haftar has. While the whole world would be watching how Al-Sirraj government would lose control of the government, there will be no way to reject the real situation that will see Haftar controlling the capital and we will welcome it.” It explained.

A couple of days ago, the mouthpiece of Haftar Ahmad Al-Mismari claimed that their forces will receive a warm welcome in Tripoli as they advance militarily on the capital to “attack terrorist militias,” vowing to coordinate with Egypt in border security operations.

Source: Libya Observer.

Link: https://www.libyaobserver.ly/news/libyan-warlord-cairo-enlist-egyptian-airstrikes-derna-and-other-cities.

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October 28, 2017

The information office of the Derna branch of the Libyan Red Crescent Society, confirmed the arrival of medical aid to the city’s medical supply stores from the Ministry of Health of the Interim Government of Abdullah Thini.

The shipment included vaccinations and supplies for the national vaccination campaign against polio and measles, dialysis medication and supplies for medical surgeries.

The director of Derna General Hospital stated that the materials that arrived does not cover the current shortfall of medicines and medical supplies as a direct result of the city being besieged, causing a difficult situation in the city.

Source: Libya Observer.

Link: https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/medical-supplies-sent-derna-not-nearly-enough-says-head-local-hospital.

Alexandria, 25 October 2017:

The Tripoli special deterrence force Rada, headed by Abdul Raouf Kara, is reported to have arrested at least three members of the Derna Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (DRSC) who have been staying recently in the city.

The most prominent is Khaled Saad Al-Kilani, a senior DRSC commander who has been living in Tripoli since last year. He is reported to have been arrested earlier this week. At the weekend, two others were also said to have been arrested at an hotel on Omar al-Mukhtar Street. They have been named as Khaled al-Hsadi and Adel al-Karghali.

A former mechanic, Kilani, aged 50 and from the Bab Tobruk area of Derna, was imprisoned as an Islamist by the Qaddafi regime. He was released in 2011 and is said to have then joined Ansar Al-Sharia, fighting in 2014 and 2015 in Benghazi where he lost a leg. After returning to Derna, he was again reportedly wounded, going to Tripoli for treatment.

Two of his daughters are alleged to have married two other prominent Ansar members, Hisham Aneesh and Abdulaali Al-Maghrabi who was killed in Benghazi in 2015.

Kilani’s 23-year-son, Saad, is also reported to have been arrested by Rada.

The two others arrested, Hasadi and Karghali are believe to have been  dealing with the affairs of other wounded DRSC members being treated in Tripoli.

Source: Libya Herald.

Link: https://www.libyaherald.com/2017/10/25/rada-arrests-members-of-derna-shoura-council-visiting-tripoli/.

Tunis, 25 October 2017:

A conference of Libyan monarchists due to take place in Gharyan next week is to call for the restoration of the Senussi monarchy as the only workable solution to the Libyan crisis and on Prince Mohamed El-Senussi, the son of the late Crown Prince Hassan Al-Rida, to return to the country to lead it .

As part of this, the National Conference for the Activation of the Constitution of Independence will also call for the restoration of the constitution as existed in 1969 before Qaddafi’s September coup and on the international community and specifically UNSMIL to take the monarchist option seriously. It will also call on Libyans to back it as well.

“We believe that the only solution [to Libya’s crisis] is to return to the constitution and the monarchy”, said Ashraf Boudaoura, chairman of the committee organizing the Gharyan conference on 31 October. Everything else, he told the Libya Herald, had failed or was destined to fail.

“It’s time to recognize reality and give the monarchy a chance.”

The constitution he and his colleagues want to return to is that of 1951, amended in 1963. “We have a constitution. We don’t need another,” he said.

There had been previous pro-Senussi meetings, Boudaoura explained, with groups in Beida, Tobruk, Tripoli and elsewhere. But this was the start of a national movement. Some 600 supporters were expected to attend from across the country, he added. These would include tribal as well as other community representatives.

Prince Mohamed and other members of the royal family had not been invited and so would not be in Gharyan next week, he added. Rather, the meeting would be a call on the prince to assume his responsibilities return to Libya and lead it forward.

Source: Libya Herald.

Link: https://www.libyaherald.com/2017/10/25/libyan-monarchists-to-call-on-prince-mohamed-to-return-to-libya/.

October 11, 2017

Libya’s Mufti, Al-Sadiq Al-Gharyani, has said that Skhirat-signed Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) is not a luxurious privilege for Libyans.

“That agreement has not even brought stability or accord to Libya.” the Mufti remarked.

In an article posted on the Fatwa House website and titled “Does the UN really want stability in Libya?” the Mufti indicated Tuesday that Libya has gone through tough times after it gave up its own fate to the hands of the UN, adding that the experience was a lesson to all those who believe that the UN’s project was aimed to stabilize Libya.

“The UN’s project fueled conflicts in Libya and did not aim to bring about accord.” The Mufi adds.

Sheikh Al-Gharyani also referred to the fact that Derna has a population of over 120.000, yet it is still deprived of necessary living items while the international community and the UN are watching, according to his article.

“Being the first city to defeat terrorism on its own without support did not help Derna much, but rather it was awarded by a siege that led to the starvation of the civilians.” He indicated, pointing out that the same strategy had been adopted in Ganfouda, Benghazi, before Derna.

The Mufti also lashed out at the parties that selected the dialogue committees, asking himself and the Libyans if those parties still believe the lie of fighting terrorism, which he said had been scandalized in Sabratha and in Benghazi.

“The international community knows very clearly that Haftar had never fought terrorist before, yet no action.” The Mufti added.

Source: Libya Observer.

Link: https://www.libyaobserver.ly/news/libyas-mufti-libyan-political-agreement-lie-luxury-truth-misery.

Monday 25 September 2017

European leaders are embracing a Libyan general who has ordered his soldiers to commit war crimes, according to new evidence that has been analysed by senior legal experts.

The allegation of human rights abuses by Gen Khalifa Haftar, a former CIA asset who controls nearly half of Libya from his base in the east, comes as the general is due to arrive in Rome on Tuesday, where he will be received by Italian officials. The visit is a radical departure for Italy, who had previously shunned Haftar and seen him as a major obstacle to stability in the region because of his refusal to recognize the UN-backed government in the west.

The two experts – a former top Pentagon attorney and a former official at the international criminal court – said that newly unearthed video evidence suggests that Haftar has been complicit in calling for extrajudicial killings and the unlawful siege of the eastern port city of Derna. In one case, he is believed to have called for the “choking” of Derna just a day after he met Boris Johnson, the UK foreign secretary, in Benghazi.

The new assessment, published on the Just Security blog, follows the recent issuing of an arrest warrant by the ICC for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, a member of Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Werfalli stands accused of executing prisoners himself, as well as commanding others to carry out extrajudicial killings. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also condemned alleged war crimes by the LNA.

The legal questions, and longstanding doubts among officials in the west about Haftar’s trustworthiness, have not dissuaded European leaders from seeking to forge an alliance with him.

The analysis by Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel to the general counsel of the Pentagon, and Alex Whiting, a former international criminal prosecutor at the ICC, paints a troubling picture of Haftar’s record.

The two experts point to a video that was posted on YouTube on 10 October 2015, recording a speech that Haftar gave to his LNA fighters on 18 September. In the speech, Haftar calls on his men to take no prisoners, which in legal parlance is called a “denial of quarter” and is a violation of the rules of war. “Never mind consideration of bringing a prisoner here. There is no prison here. The field is the field, end of the story,” he said in the video.

In another video, a spokesman for Haftar, Beleed al-Sheikhy, is heard saying in connection to fighting in Ganfouda, a district of Benghazi, that “who is above 14 years of age will never get out alive”. The video is believed to have been recorded in August 2016.

Haftar is a dual Libyan-US citizen who was once loyal to Muammar Gaddafi but then rebelled against the dictator. He was provided protection by the CIA around 1990 and was granted US citizenship. He lived in Virginia for two decades, where he reportedly trained in anticipation of a coup against Gaddafi. He later returned to Libya, where he has an unbreakable hold on the eastern bloc of the country, including a string of towns known as the oil crescent.

Even as experts who closely study the region say that Haftar is considered an untrustworthy and unreliable partner in Libya, diplomats increasingly see him as part of the country’s future.

On a trip to Benghazi this summer, Johnson met the Libyan general and said Haftar had a “role to play in the political process”. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who hosted Haftar and his rival, the UN-backed Libyan prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, also praised him, saying he and Sarraj had shown historic courage in agreeing to a ceasefire.

The UN envoy to Libya last week set out a new a plan under which Libya could hold elections within a year, and Haftar is widely seen as a candidate who would stand for president.

A former US official said it was believed that Haftar’s true goal was to run the country under a military dictatorship. The ex-official said European attempts to bring Haftar “into the tent” were understandable and pragmatic, because the creation of a stable government would not now be possible without his support.

Haftar has expanded his foothold militarily in part due to the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, the former official added. He also has contacts within the Kremlin, and visited Russia for the third time in August this year.

The ICC issued its warrant for Werfalli, a member of the al-Saiqa brigade of the LNA, based on the “reasonable belief” that he had ordered the execution of 33 detainees in seven incidents from June 2016 to July 2017.

The Just Security article also pointed to a speech that Haftar gave in August 2017, a day after his meeting with Johnson, in which he appeared to be discussing the need to tighten the siege of Derna. Haftar said that ordering a blockade was tantamount to choking, and ought to involve a block on medicine, medical care, petrol and cooking oil.

Brig Gen Ahmad Mismari, a spokesman for the LNA, said he could not comment on the ICC warrant because the matter was under investigation. He also declined to comment on the allegations raised in the Just Security blog.

In an interview with the Guardian, Goodman said Haftar’s status as a US citizen made him subject to federal laws that criminalised violations of laws of war and risked criminal liability for any “aiders and abetters” who supported him in the US. Given his status, any decision to provide financial or other support to Haftar – including intelligence – by the US would first have to be cleared by a justice department office to ensure it was legal under US laws.

Mattia Toaldo, a Libya expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said that the more Haftar was legitimised, the less likely it was that he would ever be prosecuted. “It is up to the Europeans and the Americans to decide whether such a regime is stable, because what we have seen with the Arab spring is that repressive regimes are unstable,” he said.

“He cannot be trusted, much like most Libyan warlords, on the fight against terror, on migration, and I think also his military capacity is not as big as some people think,” he added.

Source: The Guardian.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/25/khalifa-haftar-libyan-general-accused-of-human-rights-abuses.

September 14, 2017

Local media sources have confirmed that the city of Derna is enduring the closure of most bakeries in the city after the complete depletion of flour stocks.

The same sources indicated that 85 bakeries closed out of a total of 91 as a result of the siege by Dignity Operation forces, which bans any shipment of flour allocated to the city from entering.

Source: The Libya Observer.

Link: https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/derna-bakeries-close-down-due-dignity-operation-siege.

September 10, 2017

Local and charitable institutions in the city of Derna organized a balloon festival in the city where parents and children participated in releasing dozens of balloons into the city sky from different places.

Each group of balloons carried several messages calling for peace. Balloons were released from the roofs of houses and the local children’s park and the Emilia tourist resort.

The aim of this demonstration as a civil initiative is to remove the minds of people from the difficult atmosphere they are experiencing in the city because of the siege imposed by the Dignity Operation forces.

Source: The Libya Observer.

Link: https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/balloons-peace-released-over-city-derna.

2017-08-24

BENGHAZI – Two months after the dominant military force in eastern Libya declared victory in a campaign to retake Benghazi, Hassan al-Zawy is living rough in his home in the district that witnessed the city’s last major battle.

Like many other residents, he ventured back as Khalifa Haftar Libyan National Army gradually wrested back control from Islamist militants and other rebel groups.

Parts of Libya’s second city were reduced to rubble during more than three years of fighting and, with economic crisis and political turmoil gripping the country, rebuilding is a daunting challenge.

“There are flies, mosquitoes and garbage. At night, we have absolutely nothing,” Zawy said in mid-August in the seafront neighborhood of Sabri.

“We’ve been here for one month and 10 days and all we want from the state is (this): electricity and water, and for people to return to their homes, and stay there.” A conflict that developed after strongman Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising six years ago has yet to be resolved. Benghazi, where the 2011 revolution started, has seen some of the worst violence. Tens of thousands of residents, many opposed to Haftar, were displaced to other Libyan cities.

Sabri is where Haftar’s rivals had their final strongholds, and was bombarded by LNA heavy artillery and air strikes up until a few weeks ago. Sporadic fighting continued after Haftar announced victory on July 5..

People recover what they can from the rubble of ruined buildings. Children help with the cleanup.

Afterwards, men sit outside drinking tea or coffee and guarding their streets. One says he will stay in his home even if he has to hang towels over the doors and windows.

Another Sabri resident, Farag Mahmoud, said some people were so keen to get back to their homes that they were ignoring the risk from land mines still planted in parts of the district.

“We found our homes had been flooded from broken pipes in the plumbing systems, and were submerged in water around 70 to 80 centimeters deep,” he said.

Some returning residents have formed citizens’ committees to lobby the municipal authorities on water, electricity and hygiene, said Milad Fadlallah, a local engineer.

Most residents in the less severely damaged eastern part of Sabri would be able to spend the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on Sept. 1, back in their neighborhood, Fadlallah said.

But a lack of funds and political leadership in a country still divided between two rival governments will hinder reconstruction, said Osama al-Kaza, director of projects at Benghazi’s municipality.

In Benghazi, the conflict has also had left deep physical and psychological scars.

“Achieving an outstanding and modern image for the city will have to be done in stages, will take years and cost billions,” he said.

Source: Middle East Online.

Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=84530.

August 22, 2017

An unofficial armed group is stopping boats used by people smugglers from setting off from Libya to cross the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in a fall in the number of migrants making the perilous journey.

There has been a noted decline in migrants arriving in Italy from Libya this year. Libya is the main route for migration to Europe but there was a fall of more than 50 per cent in July compared with 2016. Even fewer have made the journey this month, despite this time of year being a peak period due to more favorable weather and sea conditions.

The EU’s Frontex border control agency said last week that “clashes in Sabratha” contributed to July’s migrant decline. The agency also cited changeable weather and an increased Libyan coastguard presence.

According to sources in Sabratha, the sudden drop has been due to a new group operating in the city which is preventing migrants from leaving and in some cases locking them up in detention centers instead, reports Lebanon’s Daily Star. The group is made up of several hundred “civilians, policemen and army figures” who conduct a “very strong campaign” that was launched by a “former mafia boss,” local sources told Associated Press.

Italy has been trying to bolster the ability of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) to stop people smuggling by giving cash incentives, training the coastguard and sending a ship to help repair coastguard and naval vessels.

Over 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014; more than 12,000 having died trying to make the journey. Italy will be looking to replicate a deal with Libya like the one struck by the EU with Turkey last year to shut down migrant routes through Greece and the Balkan states.

The UN-backed GNA has little control over armed groups in western Libya, including the capital, and none at all over militant factions which control the east of the country under the leadership of the Libyan National Army’s Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar. Smuggling networks are likely to keep on operating as along as the country suffers from a lack of a strong central authority, the absence of which has worsened Libya’s security situation.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170822-unofficial-armed-group-stops-migrants-from-leaving-libya-for-europe/.