The Government of National Accord’s Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus operation room continued to make significant strides against ISIS this week, advancing to within two kilometres southwest of Sirte, and forcing ISIS to retreat towards the city. However, this does not mean that a frontal assault on Sirte is imminent. Despite its recent losses, ISIS is still rumoured to have sleeper cells in and around Surman, Misrata and Sabratha.

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The Government of National Accord’s (GNA) establishment of the Adjabiya-Sirte operations room to coordinate the anti-ISIS campaign from the east, and de-facto reinstatement of Ibrahim Jadhran as head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) in the central region, in tandem with the PFG attack on ISIS in Libya’s oil crescent, signals that a deal has been made between the GNA and local actors in the oil crescent that circumvents Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). While this dynamic effectively puts the GNA in a firm position to negotiate workable, yet temporary, alliances with rival militias to focus on the fight against ISIS, it threatens to expose the GNA to hijacking by groups that are not under its direct control, and who have no other overlapping interests than the defeat of ISIS in Sirte.

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On 1 June, a group composed of hardline Islamist revolutionaries from Benghazi and Ajdabiya issued a televised statement, aired by former Libya Dawn mouthpiece Al-Nabaa, declaring the establishment of the “Benghazi Defense Corps” (BDC)… The BDC said it would begin a new phase of operations to ‘defend’ Benghazi from the Libyan National Army (LNA), and pledged full solidarity with the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council.

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The European Union (EU) is pushing for increased authority to enforce the existing embargo on arms shipments Libya. Speaking to the UN Security Council on 6 June, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini urged members to authorize EU naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea “to enforce the UN arms embargo on the high seas, off the coast of Libya.”

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