The political process in Libya is headed towards a new stage of dysfunction. The Presidential Council (PC) has not yet agreed a new ministerial list for the Government of National Accord (GNA), and fresh divisions are emerging within the House of Representatives (HoR).

Read Full Post

At the moment of partial victory in Sirte, various pillars that should make up the anti-ISIS coalition are feuding with each other. The House of Representatives (HoR) has rejected the Government of National Accord, while the Libyan National Army (LNA) and Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) are facing increasing tension over Zuetina in the oil crescent, and various interests are preventing oil production in order to seek their own demands.

Read Full Post

On 22 August, the HoR managed to hold its first session since February 2016 with the required legal quorum. Of the 101 members in attendance, 61 voted no-confidence on the current GNA cabinet, but gave the Presidential Council a final opportunity to submit an amended cabinet for a possible future endorsement vote. This latest development is quite a blow to the internationally recognized GNA, as certain ministers have already assumed their mandates, but may have to now be replaced… In Western Libya, the conflict map is becoming slightly more complicated. The main tension inside the capital is between pro-GNA militias and anti-GNA Islamist/Misratan affiliated factions, signaling a very likely conflict between these militias after the victory in Sirte is secured.

Read Full Post

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.

Read Full Post

In Benghazi, the Libyan National Army (LNA) captured the symbolic Guwarsha checkpoint from Islamist militants on 28 July. The Islamists retaliated with suicide car bomb attacks on 29 July that killed two LNA soldiers and wounded four, while ISIS conducted another on 30 July near the Guwarsha Chinese flats, injuring three soldiers… Meanwhile, the LNA has reconsolidated its control in southwest Benghazi, after successfully repelling an attack by the Benghazi Defense Brigade.

Read Full Post

On 22 July, large demonstrations took place in Tripoli, Misrata, Zawiyya, Zuwara and others denouncing the discovery of French fighters acting in coordination with Khalifa Haftar as evidence of a French invasion, and breaching of the internationally recognized political agreement. Anti-Government of National Accord (GNA) forces are using the event to re-consolidate political forces that had fragmented after the GNA replaced the former Islamist-aligned General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli on 30 March 2016… The credibility of the LNA took another severe hit after 14 bodies were discovered on 21 July in a rubbish dump in Benghazi, an area supposedly ‘liberated’ from ISIS in March 2016.

Read Full Post

The Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus anti-ISIS campaign in Sirte suffered setbacks on 15 July when at least 20 men were killed in multiple suicide attacks by ISIS militants… Security threats in the oil crescent are dramatically increasing, with higher prospects of a larger conflict in the short-medium term. On 17 July, fighting broke out between Libyan National Army (LNA) units, supported by local volunteers, and Benghazi Defense Brigade (BDB) in the town of Magrun, only 70 kilometers southwest of Benghazi… The BDB’s momentum is intensifying rifts in the region, especially between the LNA and the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) commanded by Ibrahim Jadhran.

Read Full Post

On 6 July, the Libyan National Army (LNA) suffered major blows, with the death of 11 soldiers in a suicide attack, and downing of its ace Mig-23 pilot Major Idris Hamed Al-Obeidi. Obeidi, an iconic LNA fighter pilot, was killed when his plane crashed during a mission against jihadists in Ganfuda. On 10 July, Tariq Al Saiti, another iconic LNA solider who specialized in de-mining and was a highly respected figure in Benghazi, was killed. These setbacks have dampened the high hopes for a swift and decisive defeat of jihadists in eastern Libya.

Read Full Post

Three key developments were identified last week: 1) The unabated momentum of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Bunyan Marsus coalition against ISIS in Sirte, 2) the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) surge eradicated the remaining pockets of jihadi fighters in southwestern Benghazi and 3) and the influence of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) in the oil crescent has taken a significant hit.

Read Full Post

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.

Read Full Post

The political damage to the Government of National Accord (GNA), following the attack on Ajdabiya on 18 June by Islamist militias, may undo fragile militia alliances in Tripoli and key towns in western Libya. Meanwhile, an escalation of open conflict between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and Islamist militias from western Libya is now very likely, and could potentially spill over into a broader tribal/regional conflict involving the LNA and the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG).

Read Full Post

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.

Read Full Post

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.

Read Full Post

The Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Bunyan Marsus operations room, led by Misratan Colonel Bashir Al Gadi, made significant gains against ISIS this week, advancing to within 30 kilometres of Sirte…On May 30, the Petroleoum Facilities Guard (PFG) made significant gains against ISIS from the east. PFG units took control of a number of oil fields last week, including Al Jabal and Waha Al Waha.

Read Full Post

Despite the setbacks suffered at the start of the GNA’s Misratan-led operation to liberate Sirte, as well as the high number of causalities already sustained, militias from Misrata and western Libya continue to join the effort. On 18 May, ISIS outflanked the Misratans at Al Wishka and Buwirat Al Hasoun. Thirty-two fighters from the Bunyan Marsous Operations Room were killed in Buwirat Al Hasoun, and another 50 were injured.

Read Full Post