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 PFG and Haftar’s LNA are still increasing. Divisions in Eastern Libya deepened after recent reports confirming airstrikes from Misrata supporting the PFG fighting against IS. They deepened further after Misrata sent Medivac aircraft to fly wounded PFG fighters to receive treatment in Tripoli. While these developments suggest negative outcomes in terms of a proper alliance between Haftar’s LNA and the PFG, ironically they may lead to the development of a significant alliance between moderate Misratan militias and the Federalist to confront ISIS.
In fact, there are already rumors of a new joint operations room set up by the PFG and Col. Bashir Budhafira, head of the Ajdabiya border forces, together with other local militias from the south and west of Libya to recapture city of Sirte from IS. Despite the hostilities between the PFG and Misratan forces caused by the GNC-led ‘Shurouq’ operation to take the oil crescent points late 2014, such an alliance may become a reality. Col. Bashir has reportedly told media that the assault on Sirte will be from three fronts; east, west and south, adding that control of the city may be wrested from IS by the end of the month.