The Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus coalition made great gains against ISIS in Sirte, pushing ISIS out of its stronghold in Ouagadougu Centre, Ibn Sina Hospital and Sirte University on 11 August. All three buildings were bastions of ISIS rule in the city, and the group’s downfall represents a significant degradation of its presence and control. Paradoxically, the GNA’s impending victory over ISIS is also a moment of rapid decline in its legitimacy. This observation was recognized by UN special envoy Martin Kobler in a recent interview, saying that popular support for the GNA is crumbling due to worsening economic and security conditions throughout Libya.

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New political wrangling within the GNA is widening rifts even further. On 10 August, the Presidential Council issued a statement threatening to nominate replacement candidates if two of its boycotting members, Ali Al Gatrani and Omar Laswad, did not rejoin within one week. The statement caused uproar among anti-GNA factions across Libya… Meanwhile, the GNA is unlikely to receive a significant boost in legitimacy or popular support until a total victory is achieved by Bunyan Marsus against ISIS in Sirte. However, even if this ISIS is crushed by the coalition, the GNA is not guaranteed to survive.

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In Tripoli, local pro-GNA militias are recoiling at the perceived rise in Islamist and Misratan power. This tension signals imminent conflict in the capital, and potentially the collapse of the GNA’s political arrangements in western Libya… In Derna, a new agreement was reportedly signed on 13 August by local residents, members of the municipal council and the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) in an effort to circumvent wider conflict and transition power to neutral actors… Benghazi witnessed a lull in fighting last week as the LNA reorganized its forces and consolidating its control, however clashes with ISIS and Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council militants continue to take place intermittently in Benghazi’s central districts near the port.

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The Washington Post reported that US Special Operations forces are providing direct, on-the-ground support for Bunyan Marsus fighters battling the ISIS in Sirte. The US troops were tasked with coordinating American airstrikes and providing intelligence as the coalition ousted ISIS from its stronghold in the city center. A total of 48 US airstrikes have taken place steadily since 1 August, targeting ISIS positions throughout Sirte… Italy appointed a new ambassador to Libya, while members from the Italian Senate called for a European summit on Libya to address the shortfalls of the Libyan Political Agreement and the significant gaps in US, UK and EU policy towards Libya’s various factions.

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