Local political conflicts in Libya are slowly transforming from a web of tribal and local militia conflicts, into a more binary conflict between local allies and ISIS. However, the consolidation of these alliances continue to be inhibited by deep political divisions, which have the potential of fragmenting unity against ISIS, fuelling its recruitment and expansion. In Ajdabiya, tensions between the Federalist …

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The ISIS campaign to advance from Sirte to the ports in the oil crescent region has entered full swing with the 4 January attack on Sidra terminal. The attackers used  two suicide trucks (VBIED’s), one destroying the main checkpoint to the terminal and the other in the airfield strip. The new ISIS offensive seems to be the beginning of a …

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The ongoing IS attack on Sidra, while representing a grave local and international threat, also represents an important opportunity for the formation of a genuinely Libyan Anti-ISIS coalition… After the HoR-affiliated, Federalist-dominated PFG successfully pushed ISIS out of Sidra on Monday, the head of the force, Ibrahim Jadhran, issued a heated statement attacking Haftar, saying that he is the other side of the ISIS coin, implicitly accusing him of destabilizing Ajdabiya via the latest LNA offensive against local Islamist militias in the city.

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The threat of ISIS in Misrata been bolstered after reports of a local group calling itself ‘Mujahedeen Misrata’, announced loyalty or ‘Baya’ to the international group in an audio message…. The local council of Sabratha issued a strong statement rejecting sensational claims made by a new Libyan satellite TV channel (218) that ISIS is in ‘‘control’’ of its city.

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In Tripoli, pro-GNC militias captured an alleged member of ISIS last week. The captive, a Tunisian, detailed ISIS activities throughout Libya, implicating Murad Al-Gumati, leading to his murder by the Tripoli Rada militia (AKA special deterrence forces or – قوة الردع الخاصة). The incident follows on last week’s assault on an official of the religious affairs ministry who was accused of having ISIS affiliations. Although the Rada enjoys popularity in the capital as a keeper of law and order (such as these concepts are understood in Libya) the Salafist affiliation of Rada’s commander, Abdulraouf Kara, may have encouraged him to provoke a “black-on-black” fight between Islamist militias that are pro and anti-ISIS.

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Al-Hassi was previously the commander of LNA operations in Derna where he has performed well and succeeded in getting anti-ISIS Islamist militias to work together with anti-Islamist Haftar forces. In short, Hassi represents the “broad Mosque” model that is needed to forge any feasible anti-ISIS coaltion in Benghazi.

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Tripoli Militant Islamist groups are also operating in Tripoli and in other western towns and there was evidence this week that ISIS – Tripoli Wilaya is stepping up its rhetoric in the capital.  ISIS called on parents to withdraw their daughters from Tripoli University and other educational establishments on the grounds that they should not mix with the opposite sex. …

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There has been no further progress in the UN sponsored peace negotiations. UNSMIL is still in the process of reworking the draft roadmap document that was issued at the end of April and rejected so forcefully by the GNC. The amended roadmap is expected to be ready by the start of the second week of June at the latest, at …

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Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni narrowly escaped an assassination attempt this week when gunmen fired at his convoy as it left the HoR in Tobruq. The Prime Minister had been attending a session in the House at which he was being questioned about his government’s performance. The session was interrupted after armed protestors who had been demonstrating against Al-Thinni threatened to …

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Egypt and the United Arab Emirates continue to actively support the HoR and the LNA, providing military assistance and equipment despite the UN arms embargo. However, this support is not proving enough and Haftar is making few real gains week on week. This is unlikely to deter either Egypt or the UAE from continuing to support the Tobruq camp. Both …

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The brigade sent by the GNC to Sirte is still believed to be on the outskirts of the town and has not made any attempt to engage militarily. There were reports in the Arabic media this week that Haftar had launched three bombing raids on Sirte on 1 March.

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Operation Dignity forces appear to have consolidated their control over the strategic maritime port area in central Benghazi. The Egyptian air force repeatedly targeted Derna in retaliation for the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians at the hands of radical Jihadists in Sirte affiliated with the Islamic State. The 166th Battalion of the Libyan National Army is reportedly gathering at the entrance of the city of Sirte.

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On 16 February Cairo launched bombing raids against the town of Derna in retaliation for the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIS militants. The Misratan local council condemned the take over of government buildings in Sirte and called on security forces to do something to halt ISIS’s advance.

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On Wednesday 14 January, multilateral direct UN-backed negotiations started in Geneva, despite the last minute boycott of the Martyr’s bloc which was misrepresented in the media as a boycott of the whole rump GNC.

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The future of the UN-sponsored peace talks known as the Ghadames II dialogue is still uncertain. The talks had been due to go ahead on 9 December but were postponed at the last moment and rescheduled for 16 December.

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