On 30 August, Serraj appointed a Chief of Staff of the Libyan Army under the GNA, a move rejected by the LNA. On 1 September, a Zawiyya militia attacked a demonstration in commemoration of Gaddafi’s revolution, organised by local rivals affiliated with the LNA.

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On 18 May, forces affiliated with the GNA conducted an attack on Brak al-Shatti airbase controlled by LNA in south-west Libya, leaving 74 LNA fighters dead and ending the ‘ceasefire’ between the opposing forces. The GNA is in disarray following the attack with differing statements and a pending investigation in the incident.

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On 14 March, the LNA launched a counter attack against the BDB. Following intense fighting, by the end of the day the LNA claimed to be in control of the Oil Crescent once more, including the oil ports.

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The PC issued a statement condemning the BDB’s attack on the oil crescent on 3 March, however two PC members have publically said they support the BDB while GNA MoD has also been accused of supporting the attacking force .

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Local sources in Jufra report a new mobilization by GNA/Islamist affiliated groups who reportedly plan to attack Ras Lanuf port in the coming weeks. Rivalries between militias of various factions in Tripoli are escalating, with various rival armed groups implicated in clashes, kidnappings and armed assault.

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On 12 January, militias allied to Khalifa al-Ghwell, leader of a rival government in Tripoli, seized several ministerial buildings in Tripoli, while the whole of western and southern Libya continues to suffer chronic power outages, provoking tensions and anti-GNA sentiment

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Last week, US AFRICOM concluded Operation Odyssey Lightning in Sirte while support is being given to the Stabilisation Facility for Libya. On 23 December, an internal Libya flight was hijacked and flown to Malta, where the hijackers were apprehended.

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Last week, the UN held a conference in Tunis to discuss how the international community can support the GNA’s fledgling presidential guard. A number of high-level diplomatic events in Egypt, Russia and Algeria also took place that may indicate a shift towards a more Haftar-inclusive approach to the Libyan peace process at an international level.  

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The LNA defeated a counter-attack on the oil crescent launched from Jufra by allied forces including Jadhran loyalists, BDB fighters and some GNA forces. The attacking convoy was routed and the LNA even extended its control south of Jufra, all the way to Brak al-Shati. In Tripoli, tensions are high as anti-GNA Misratan forces mobilize to support the anti-GNA Islamist coalition, while protests took place after a video of militiamen raping a woman was released.

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PM Fayez Serraj and his allies are taking active measures to entrench the GNA’s de facto control in the capital by creating new security forces and appointing ministers, provoking fears in Eastern Libya that the GNA intends to ‘go it alone’.

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In Tripoli, tensions are growing between RADA and BRSC, with two RADA officers assassinated last week. In Benghazi, there was an assassination attempt against the head of the Magharba tribe while the GNA MoD is believed to be allying with BDB militias.

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GNA Defence Minister Mahdi al-Barghathi condemned Haftar and the LNA last week, accusing them of carrying out assassinations and human rights abuses in eastern Libya. The LNA fears Barghati is allying with BDB militias and Jadhran loyalists to launch a counter-attack on the oil crescent.

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Last week, UN and European diplomats visited PM Fayez Serraj and head of the High Council of State, Abdulrahman Swehli, to discuss the recent ‘coup’ attempt in Tripoli and to reaffirm their support for the Libyan Political Agreement and the GNA. The US have ramped up their airstrikes in Sirte and are in the process of switching the aircrafts involved in this campaign.

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In the coming weeks, Libya’s oil crescent is likely to witness increased tension between three actors: the Libyan National Army (LNA), the Government of National Accord-aligned Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), and renegade Islamist militias… The reversal of military momentum once more in favour of the LNA, coupled with the Islamist subversion of the GNA’s anti-ISIS, efforts is bolstering the political position of Haftar and anti-GNA factions… After several Islamist militias broke away from the GNA’s Bunyan Marsus coalition and attacked Ajdabiya on 18 June, the GNA’s political position in the oil crescent was severely compromised, and with it the standing of PFG forces loyal to Ibrahim Jadhran… Meanwhile, the GNA is still holed up in Abu Setta naval base, while other militias affiliated to Islamist forces have a freer hand in the Tripoli.

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As militias nominally aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA) made highly impressive gains against ISIS in Sirte last week, and a degree of euphoria has gripped international actors and some GNA supporters, these gains have not automatically led to authentic political unity among Libya’s major anti-ISIS factions. To the contrary, prospects for unity and strengthened political legitimacy for the GNA are lower, and the likelihood of renewed civil conflict higher, due to three factors identified this week.

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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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