Following the series of victories by Islamist militants, fighting under the banner of the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC), against Libyan National Army Special Forces targets last week, Genral Khalifa Haftar is trying hard to prove that he is not a spent force. Special Forces fighting with Operation Dignity attacked a number of militant bases in the Benghazi neighbourhood of Sidi Faraj this week, clashing with members of Ansar Al-Sharia.
However, the reality is that these militant forces are still very much in control of Benghazi and Haftar is completely on the back foot. Both Egypt and Algeria are especially concerned by what is unfolding in Libya, fearing that their nationals may become embroiled in the struggle. There is also a growing fear that an ISIS-type scenario may emerge in Libya and that militants in the East might declare an Islamic emirate. As of yet, however, both countries are restricting themselves to bolstering their forces at the borders.
Operation Dignity spokesman Mohamed Al-Hijazi announced this week that Dignity forces were intending to close Benghazi Port on 9 August to prevent weapons supplies being delivered to militants in the East. He also declared that any ship approaching the port from Derna or Misrata would be fired upon. However, the comments appear to have been little more than posturing, given that the port is believed to be in the hands of the BRSC.