On 24 August, the Presidential Council (PC) issued statement accepting the House of Representatives (HoR) vote of no-confidence in the current Government of National Accord (GNA), adding that it will draw up a new list of GNA ministers for its approval, while current ministers will continue in office in a caretaker role until the new government is voted on… UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler, US Special Envoy Jonathan Winer and British Ambassador Peter Millett all backed the PC’s position , showing that they are not willing to alter the LPA process because of HoR intransigence… On 25 August, a joint statement was issued by the France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States backing the PC and reiterating their recognition of the GNA as the sole legitimate government of Libya.

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As of 22 August, US Africa Command press statements say that the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit has conducted 77 airstrikes in Sirte under Operation Odyssey Lightning. Meanwhile, the no-confidence vote for the Government of National Accord (GNA) dealt by the Libyan House of Representatives on 22 August creates significant issues for the international community’s attempts to provide support to the GNA. Further, it is not clear what affect this development will have on the West’s assistance package for the campaign against ISIS in Libya , which began on 1 August and was initiated at the request of the GNA.

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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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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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On 1 August, Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez Serraj made a televised speech announcing the beginning of US airstrikes upon a formal request by the Presidential Council, and Libya’s joining of the international anti-ISIS coalition. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook confirmed that US warplanes launched a new round of airstrikes against ISIS in Sirte at the request of the GNA. The direct involvement of the US on behalf of the GNA may have a direct impact on current political dynamics on the ground, and will likely raise tensions between GNA supporters and anti-GNA hardliners and Islamists in Tripoli.

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On 21 July, French President Francois Hollande confirmed three French special forces soldiers had died in the downing of a Libyan National Army (LNA) helicopter on 17 July. The event, and subsequent revelation, unleashed large demonstrations on 22 July in a number of western Libyan cities against France and the Government of National Accord, reinvigorating hardline Islamists and revolutionary factions as a force of opposition to both the GNA and House of Representatives.

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US Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on 18 July he is encouraged by developments against ISIS in Libya… UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that ISIS fighters could set up new cells across Libya and North Africa as they are driven from Sirte.

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On 8 July, a widely publicized leak shed light on active Western military support for Khalifa Haftar and the LNA. The leak has caused disarray in the GNA camp, especially within the ranks of Islamists. This new information is seen as evidence of a Western betrayal of the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement that produced the GNA… Speaking at a House of Lords Committee hearing on 7 July, Britain’s Ambassador to Libya Peter Millett said that he that he had visited Tripoli five times since the arrival of the GNA.

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Western countries continue to project support for the Government of National Accord (GNA), with a number of representatives travelling to Tripoli throughout last week to discuss immediate assistance… Haftar travelled to Moscow on 27 June, followed immediately by GNA deputy prime minister Ahmed Metig on 29 June to solicit Russian support… UN Special Representative Martin Kobler met with HoR Chairman Ageelah Saleh, and a delegation of HoR members and eastern tribal leaders, in Muscat on 28 June to explore the potential for political resolution.

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The weakness of the Government of National Accord (GNA) was more fully realised in international diplomatic circles last week, when GNA Foreign Minister Taher Siala failed to make a positive impact on the European stage… During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on 22 June, President Barack Obama’s nominee to command US forces in Africa, Marine Lt. General Thomas Waldhauser, said that more ground troops were needed in Libya to fight ISIS and agreed the current strategy of not bombing the group there “makes no sense.”

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Following UN Security Council approval on 14 June to inspect vessels off the coast of Libya, EU foreign ministers agreed at talks in Luxembourg on 20 June to extend Operation Sophia to July 2017, and tasked it with supporting Libya’s coast guard and navy. At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on 15 June, special envoy for Libya Jonathan Winer told the committee that the Obama administration seeks to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) with a $56 million aid package.

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Despite the steady advance on Sirte by the Bunyan Marsus coalition, there were no significant actions taken by the Western international community last week. Most notably, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to extend the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) mandate to December 15, 2016, and encouraged UNSMIL to re-establish a permanent presence in the country.

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The European Union (EU) is pushing for increased authority to enforce the existing embargo on arms shipments Libya. Speaking to the UN Security Council on 6 June, EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini urged members to authorize EU naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea “to enforce the UN arms embargo on the high seas, off the coast of Libya.”

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International support has also been key to this week’s explosion of momentum on the western front against ISIS… The spokesperson of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Sirte Operations Room said they have started to receive financial and logistical support from the GNA and other countries.

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Last week, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said that the Government of National Accord (GNA) is in a “period of intense dialogue” that could soon lead to an agreement in which US military advisers will be deployed to Libya, in addition to Special Forces already in the country. Following a request by GNA Prime Minister Fayez Serraj on 23 May, the European Union agreed to step up its naval operations off the coast of Libya.

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