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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Clashes in Libya indicate that the GNA is unable to control its own capital, further weakening its support in western Libya and hence its negotiating position. However, the declaration of BM forces’ victory against ISIS in Sirte could give the GNA a temporary boost in popularity given BM is nominally controlled by the GNA.

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Tensions continue to grow between various anti-GNA, Islamist and pro-GNA factions across the country. The prospect of an Islamist offensive against the LNA in the oil crescent, supported by the GNA, remains possible, while in Tripoli, there are fears of imminent clashes between hardliners allied with the Mufti and pro-GNA Tripoli militias like RADA.

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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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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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Rapprochement efforts between the LNA and Misratan factions which side step the UN-process appear to be bearing fruit, with the pro-Haftar HoR President Agilah Saleh holding a flurry of meetings with rival politicians and militias this week. In western Libya, clashes have broken out in Zawiyya while in Tripoli, inter-militia tensions, crime and lawlessness are growing.

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Last week, the Libyan political process was made even more complex and confusing when a former PM led a self-declared coup attempt against the GNA in Tripoli. The GNA condemned the move but some anti-GNA factions and militias are rallying around the coup-makers.

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On 7 October, the Presidential Council met with all of its members in Tunis, but little came of the meeting. Although Haftar is consolidating his control over Eastern Libya, and is using this as leverage to gain greater power within negotiations, he is struggling to exert his control over western and southern Libya.

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Political tensions and rifts between hardline pro and anti LNA factions are growing after Haftar’s seizure of the oil crescent ports. The High Council of State last week declared it was taking legislative power from the HoR due to its support for Haftar and his military takeover, although this statement has been widely rejected by local and international actors.

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The anti-ISIS coalition, such as exists, is in a state of flux after Haftar’s seizure of the oil ports. Misratan officials have said that they will not go to war against the LNA to support Jadhran, however after Haftar’s forces succeeded in repelling a counter attack against the Sidra and Ras Lanuf ports, they pushed to within 50km of Sirte where Misrata are currently battling ISIS.

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On 11 September, General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) announced and launched a secretive military operation named Sudden Lightening, and by 12 September the LNA had taken full military control of the Oil Crescent. Ras Lanuf, Sidra and Zuetina oil ports were wrested away from Ibrahim Jadhran’s Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), and are now under control of the House of Representatives-aligned (HoR) LNA.

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