Two major pronouncements were made this week. 1. Misratan forces continued their protracted advance into Sirte as battles supposedly moved into what Banyan Marsus is calling their ‘final stages’. 2. Simultaneously as the fight against ISIS has become less popular for some militia men in Tripoli, non-ISIS jihadis such as the grand mufti are expressing support for ISIS…. US support is also fuelling divides with Misratan ranks between pro-GNA formations and more anti-GNA hard-line militias. These divides may escalate the closer the BM gets to victory in Sirte. Anti GNA sentiment remains high in Misratan ranks, with many fighters rumoured to be actively ready to move against the GNA in Tripoli after victory in Sirte.

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The US airstrikes are further polarizing opinion on the ground in Libya and are making strange bedfellows between the Islamists and Haftar who both oppose the airstrikes. It is also being reported that Italy is now offering support to the US operations… Ahmed Mismari, LNA spokesman claimed that the air raid was carried out for US electoral purposes to help Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, insisting that Sirte would be only liberated by the LNA.

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As political constellations are being reformed across Libya, the gap separating ISIS from non-ISIS jihadis are closing as both are finding common ground in their anti-Haftar and anti-Western aims. However, this week these distinctions are fading. Ghariyani’s statements mentioned in this week’s ISIS in Action post and the BRSC suicide bombing against LNA fighters on 2 August in Guwarsha, Benghazi are closing the gap and driving the BRSC to coordinate with ISIS…. 18 LNA soldiers were killed on 2 August and more than 20 others were injured in a suicide vehicle attack in Guwarsha district, long used as the HQ for the coalition of Islamist extremists including IS, Ansar Al Sharia, and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC). The attack came after LNA forced managed to advance and retake Guwarsha Gate on 1 August; Benghazi’s main west gate, and a strategic position for jihadists.

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