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Libyan forces claim control of ISIL stronghold of Sirte

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Hundreds of loyalist troops and unknown number of ISIL fighters killed as pro-government forces seize coastal city.

The victory in Sirte follows a bitter seven-month campaign against ISIL in the area [Reuters]

The victory in Sirte follows a bitter seven-month campaign against ISIL in the area

Forces aligned to Libya’s UN-backed national unity government have gained full control of Sirte after months of fighting, in a major blow to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in the country.

“Our forces have total control of Sirte,” Reda Issa, a spokesman for pro-government forces, told AFP news agency on Monday. “Our forces saw Daesh totally collapse,” he said referring to the Arabic name of ISIL.

The battle for the coastal city, which was the last significant territory held by ISIL, also known as ISIS, in Libya, cost the lives of hundreds of loyalist troops as well as an unknown number of ISIL fighters, Issa said.

In Pictures: Embedded with the Libyan forces fighting ISIL in Sirte

The government forces seized the coastal city’s Jiza al-Bahrieh district, the last area where the armed group has been holding out, and were in the process of securing it, Issa said in a separate interview with DPA news agency.

“Daesh has totally collapsed and dozens of them have given themselves up to our forces,” said a statement on the loyalist forces’ official Facebook page.

ISIL fighters are still thought to be present in several parts of southern and eastern Libya but no longer control any towns.

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Sirte, said that there are still a few ISIL fighters holding out.

“The fighting has been going on all day,” he said, adding that at least 30 ISIL fighters have surrendered to the pro-government forces.

The question now is, how many of the fighters have fled to other parts of Libya, Anas El Gomati, director of the Tripoli-based Sadeq Institute, said in an interview with Al Jazeera from Dakar, Senegal.

“The fear now is that if ISIS moves into other parts of Libya, does it induce more and more conflict?” he said.

Children being treated for their injuries at a hospital in Misrata north of Sirte

Divided country

The developments follow a bitter seven-month campaign against ISIL, which took advantage of Libya’s split between rival governments in the east and west of the country to build up its largest territory outside of its heartland in Syria and Iraq.

Akram Glawan, Misrata Hospital spokesman, told AP news agency that 711 Libyan fighters have been killed battling ISIL during the seven-month operation in Sirte and that another 3,200 have been wounded.

Despite the apparent victory in Sirte, Libya remains deeply divided, with the national unity government based in the capital Tripoli unable to gain recognition from the elected parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Forces loyal to Tobruk military strongman General Khalifa Haftar have made major advances in recent months, seizing the country’s critical oil ports from forces aligned to the unity government.

Analysts argue that Haftar’s growing strength means that the UN-backed deal setting up the national unity government is increasingly out of step with the balance of power on the ground and should be revisited.

Even in Tripoli the unity government’s rule is far from secure, with a third rival administration backed by hardline armed groups recently attempting a comeback.

Clashes between rival militias claimed at least four lives in the city on Friday, according to the al-Wasat news site.

(Source / 06.12.2016)

Written by altahrir

December 6, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

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Western Diplomats Show Rare Support to Libya’s Haftar

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Marshal Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference at a sports club in Abyar, east of Benghazi May 21, 2014. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Marshal Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference at a sports club in Abyar, east of Benghazi May 21, 2014

Cairo- Armed forces led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced a “great victory” against extremist fighters in Libya’s Benghazi earlier on Thursday, which indefinitely entailed adjustments to political stances of diplomats who had long considered Haftar short to a hostile threat.

More so, the same diplomats turning the tables today had once vigorously fought against the Marshal keeping his military post as the general commander of the national army. In 2015, Haftar was appointed commander of the armed forces loyal to the elected, internationally backed government, the Council of Deputies.

Haftar held a senior position in the forces which overthrew despot Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. In 2014 he was commander of the Libyan Army when the General National Congress (GNC) allegedly refused to give up power in accordance with its term of office.

U.N. envoy to Libya Martin Kobler had adopted a novel rhetoric, shining with a sympathetic and a cooperative note—he tweeted earlier that the Libyan National Army, led by Haftar, is sacrificing greatly in its counterterrorism efforts and recorded advances.

Kobler added that fighting off terror is to everyone’s best interest.

The U.S. envoy to Libya, Jonathan Winer, also publicized a rare show of support for the forces of Haftar.

“Tough sacrifices by #Libya National Army soldiers this week reported – 20 killed & 40 injured in counter terror fighting in Benghazi,” he wrote on Twitter.

UK diplomat Peter Millett noted that the army had liberated Gwarsha from terror’s hold, adding: “Condolences to the families of LNA martyrs”.

This is the first time all three diplomats refer to the Haftar-led forces as Libya’s national army– which opposing to previous remarks, gives the LNA legitimacy under Haftar’s commandership.

Benghazi, birthplace of the 2011 revolution which toppled Libya’s longtime tyrant Gaddafi, has been the scene of daily clashes for the past two years between Haftar’s forces and armed hardliners holding onto strategic city pockets.

(Source / 19.11.2016)

Written by altahrir

November 19, 2016 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

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Tayeb El Safi​ ​:​ ​I Call Libyans for a Comprehensive Reconciliation

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Tripoli- Tayeb El Safi, a trusted aide to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for decades, expressed to Asharq al-Awsat his rejection of the phenomenon of multiple governments considering it as a negative sign.

“The fact that we have three governments in the current time is unacceptable because this hurdles the process of the state. Now we have two central banks, one in the west and another in the east. We now have two Libyan institutions for oil and investment. All these are negative signs and their consequences are greater than their benefits. For this, I call everyone to join efforts to put an end for this,” said Safi.

Speaking on required conditions of a government capable of rescuing the country, Safi said “We are looking forward towards a government of qualifications… Development, economic and political conditions of Libya are no secret. This country needs to be rescued– to achieve this we need a government that consists of qualified figures who can tackle critical issues not only political ones—there are topics closely related to citizens’ daily life such as health, education and oil.”

Commenting on Skhirat Agreement, Safi said that this agreement was signed among some individuals and does not represent the Libyan people. “Only a limited category participated in this agreement that did not reflect the Libyans approach towards a real reconciliation and a moving forward attitude. Until today, Skhirat Agreement failed to be applied because the Libyans totally rejected it,” added Safi.

On the way he views Prime Minister Faiz Al Siraj, Safi said that Siraj is mistaken to believe that he enjoys legality just because of the international support. “You gain legality from the Libyan people and not from foreign parties. You should go back to the parliament where you were once a member in and swore the oath to look after the Libyan people interests,” added Safi.

Some concerns aroused regarding the return of the previous regime, Safi stressed that this topic should be overlooked because what matters is whether this person has integrity and loyalty in his job and can serve Libya. “My advice for people is to evaluate others based on their work, their qualifications, loyalty and success in their specialty,” continued Safi.

He thanks all the countries that are trying to solve the Libyan crisis but insisted that the Libyans are now convinced that regional and international interference worsened the crisis and that the Libyans must figure out a solution by themselves.

When asked how his feeling was when he returned to Libya, knowing that he departed in 2011, “I was assured. I have confidence in my people…After more than five years of emigration, I felt like I was finally home.”

(Source / 04.11.2016)

Written by altahrir

November 4, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

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Hillary Emails: NATO Destroyed Libya To Prevent Gold-Backed Dinar

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GaddafiIngots-650x250

Hillary’s emails truly are the gifts that keep on giving. While France led the proponents of the UN Security Council Resolution that would create a no-fly zone in Libya, it claimed that its primary concern was the protection of Libyan civilians (considering the current state of affairs alone, one must rethink the authenticity of this concern). As many “conspiracy theorists” will claim, one of the real reasons to go to Libya was Gaddafi’s planned gold dinar.

One of the 3,000 Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department on New Year’s Eve (where real news is sent to die quietly) has revealed evidence that NATO’s plot to overthrow Gaddafi was fueled by first their desire to quash the gold-backed African currency, and second the Libyan oil reserves.

The email in question was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by her unofficial adviser Sydney Blumenthal titled “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold”.

From Foreign Policy Journal:

The email identifies French President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

Most astounding is the lengthy section delineating the huge threat that Gaddafi’s gold and silver reserves, estimated at “143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver,” posed to the French franc (CFA) circulating as a prime African currency.
And here is the section of the email proving that NATO had ulterior motives for destroying Libya (UPDATE: The link has since been killed, but here is the web cache):

This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).

(Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,

b. Increase French influence in North Africa,

c. Improve his internal political situation in France,

d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,

e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa)

Ergo as soon as French intel discovered Gaddafi’s dinar plans, they decided to spearhead the campaign against him- having accumulated enough good reasons to take over.

Sadly, Gaddafi had earlier warned Europe (in a “prophetic” phone conversations with Blair) that his fall would prompt the rise of Islamic extremism in the West. A warning that would go unheeded; what’s a few lives in France and Libya, if the larger goal lines the pockets of politicians and the elite so much better after all?

(Source / 01.11.2016)

Written by altahrir

November 1, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Posted in Politics

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Altercations between Armed Militias in Libya

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Libya

Anti-Gadhafi militants celebrate the fall of Sirte in the town, Libya

Cairo – Forces fighting ISIS in Sirte and loyal to the government of national accord became involved in the struggle between the government and the illegitimate forces in Tripoli.

Of the first foreign states to comment on recent developments, France officially condemned the occupation of the Libyan High Council of State.

The ministry issued the statement on its website, which said: “France condemns the occupation by force of the Libyan High Council of State, the institution created by the inter-Libyan political agreement, the only legitimate framework and only possible way to restore peace and stability in Libya.”

The ministry also reaffirmed its full support for Prime Minister Fayez Serraj’s Government of National Accord and support the efforts of Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General Martin Kobler.

France called on all political forces in the country to unite under the authority of the Presidency Council in order to bring about national reconciliation, effectively combat terrorism and human trafficking and work toward the country’s reconstruction.

Meanwhile, al-Nabaa television station reported official spokesperson of Solid Structure operations Mohammed al-Ghosari saying that the forces will not allow anyone to tarnish the legitimate political agreement and its institutions.

Libya’s Rebels room stated that it supports the return of the former parliament and its government. The room asked its brigades belonging to the chief staff to be fully prepared and stand against traitors.

For their part, presidential security said in a statement issued that the only legitimate body is the illegitimate parliament of Tripoli.

Parliament of Tripoli condemned the attempt to kidnap MP Mohammed Morghem. The parliament asked executive bodies and justice system to make sure the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

Last Friday, former authorities in Tripoli announced they had regained its powers after taking the state council in Tripoli without any clashes.

PM of former government Khalifah Ghuweil called upon all ministers and bodies to perform their missions and jobs as usual, especially those that affect the daily life of the citizens.

Meanwhile, media center of the Solid Structure Operations announced that the terrorist organization ISIS in Sirte is living its last day. The media center added that the presence of civilians in the city is delaying the complete liberation of the city.

The center mentioned that eight Eritrean women surrendered themselves after the Libyan Air Force dropped fliers asking them to. The women were slaves bought and sold among the leaders of the organization.

The center also briefly explained that the forces are advancing in District 3 of the city where there are few ISIS terrorists.

Chaos began in Libyan following the revolution that ousted the late Libyan leader Mouammar al-Ghaddafi, while Sarraj government that was formed in March faces forces that do not declare its legitimacy including the parliament in the east of Libya.

(Source / 19.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 19, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

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Military Tension in Libya after Ghowel’s Control over High Council of State

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Members of forces loyal to Libya's eastern government stand near to the Libyan cement factory after the army took control of the factory following clashes with the Shura Council of Libyan Revolutionaries, in Benghazi

Members of forces loyal to Libya’s eastern government stand near to the Libyan cement factory in Benghazi, Libya April 18, 2016

Cairo – Tension escalated in Libyan capital between Libyan factions hours after the U.N.-backed government seized a building used by parliament in Tripoli, proclaiming its own authority and demanding a new government in cooperation with the temporary government led by Abdullah al-Thani.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that limited clashes erupted between militias of Chairman of the High Council of State Abdulrahman Asswehly and security of the Rixos Hotel where the Libyan Parliament currently meets.

A parliamentary official told Asharq Al-Awsat that he expects for the situation to escalate in the upcoming hours to regain control over the headquarters of the High Council of State, which is now under the control of militias of former PM Khalifa al-Ghowel’s internationally unrecognized government.

Asswehly threatened to take back the council and granted Ghowel 24 hours to evacuate the office. Yet, the official said that the council is well-secured against any break-in attempts.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that people are scared and anxious and war could erupt at any minute now. He added that militias of the U.N-supported government are deployed in certain areas of Tripoli, but they can’t do anything and the Rixos hotel is under control.

Members of Fayez al-Sarraj government said they had taken over the Rixos in the capital, where part of the U.N.-backed government is supposed to operate. The hotel was already controlled by an armed group loyal to them.

Few hours after the militias’ control, former PM Ghowel said that the presidential council had many opportunities to form a government and failed. He called for the formation of a new government.

“The presidential council was given several chances to form the government, but it fails… and has become an illegal executive authority,” Ghwail said in a statement late on Friday.

Ghwail called for a new administration to be formed by his former Tripoli government and its rival in the east, where hardliners also oppose the U.N.-backed administration. He said all institutions including banks, the judiciary and local authorities were under their jurisdiction.

Media bureau of Sarraj said that the presidential council discussed security situation in the country during its meeting.

The presidential council issued a statement saying that Minister of Interior al-Aref al-Khawaj presented a detailed report on the security situation as well as plans set to deal with violations.

“The seizure of the state council is an attempt to hinder the implementation of political agreement by a group which rejects this deal after it has proved its failure in managing the state,” the presidential council said in a statement.

U.N.-backed government posted images on social media of its presidential council and ministers holding a meeting in the main offices of parliament in a different part of Tripoli.

Thani’s government, loyal to the parliament, welcomed Ghwail’s suggestion for a joint government and called upon the parliament to decide on this request as soon as possible.

U.S. State department expressed its great concern about the developments in Libya, saying: “We are in true support for the U.N.-brokered Government of National Accord, which is the legitimate choice of the Libyans and Libyan political parties.”

Likewise, the European Union and United Nations warned of parallel institutions and ensured their support for the GNA government.

(Source / 17.10.2016)

Written by altahrir

October 17, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

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Gaddaf al-Dam: The West Aims at Occupying Libya by Launching Tripoli Battlefront

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Ahmed Mohmamed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of the late totalitarian leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi,

Ahmed Mohmamed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of the late totalitarian leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi

Cairo- Ahmed Mohmamed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of the late totalitarian leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi, says that reinstating the old regime –the one which rose to power after the 1969 Gaddafi-led coup- is unrealistic and that both he and his supporting group understand that fully, affirming that they only seek the restoration of Libya for the better interest of its people.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Gaddaf al-Dam mentioned a new movement rising in Libya, one which includes both Gaddafi and 17 February Revolution supporters. The movement includes military battalions, to supposedly save Libya the ‘right’ way, referring to a national reform.

However, he did say that the movement will resort to other methods should political negotiations fail to salvage the situation.

The 17 February Revolution, an armed conflict in 2011, was fought between forces loyal to Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. Libya went into civil war and Gaddafi was killed on October 20, 2011, in the Libyan city, Sirte.

To top all that, many Libya leaderships have been frequently paying al-Dam visits at his Cairo residence.

What is more is that the faces seen walking in and out do not necessarily support same political set of ideals—Libyan political figures have started meeting outside the sponsorship of the United Nations.

In his talk, al-Dam warns of looming chaos especially with ISIS still getting supplied with arms and fighters while the international community stands idle. Eventually, he added that Western countries are driven towards opening up a battle front in Libya’s largest city, Tripoli. The front will launch after battles in the southern coastal city of Sirte are done.

All this aims at spreading the chaos, in preparation for Libya’s occupation, al-Dam explained.

When addressing the rumored joint military council between both Libyan bloc’s- led by Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar- al-Dam believes that it would serve as a temporary calming factor, given that chief parties are still kept out.

Al-Dam reiterated deep concerns of the international community overlooking ISIS’ flow into Libya and the arming campaign it has being supported with. Accusing the West of desires to march into Libya, the Libyan leader described the chaos back home.

He also added that any political negotiations casting ‘al-Fateh Revolution’-otherwise known by 1 September Revolution – out is not fair given that it fails to include at least half of the Libyan people’s representatives.

Muammar Gaddafi became the de facto leader of Libya on 1 September 1969 after leading a group of Libyan military officers in a coup d’état against the regime. Winning over the public and driving the King out of the country, the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Gaddafi abolished the monarchy and the old constitution and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic, with the motto “freedom, socialism, and unity”.

But Gaddaf al-Dam broke with Gadhafi in the first few days of a later 2001 rebellion, disagreeing with the government’s harsh repression of the uprising and fled to Cairo. Al-Dam wanted protesters to be dealt with a different way than the one Gaddafi was using.

He said the popular protest movement did not at first amount to a revolution but that NATO’s intervention, which was ill-advised, transformed it into one.

Since Gadhafi’s fall, Libya has splintered. In December, United Nations diplomats and Western leaders announced the creation of a Government of National Accord, but the House of Representatives still hasn’t recognized it.

Al-Dam explained that the West wishes to whitewash the damage it caused Libya’s infrastructure and society, hence resorts to endorsing and promoting political talks and agreements, such as the Skhirat, Morocco deliberations.

Moreover, he reiterated the West’s plans to exploit Libya’s strategic location and ample resources, including uranium and oil.

The cousin to a notorious and highly controversial leader said that the Libya war has its aftermath extending worldwide, whether it be terrorists being imported from their newly found hub to the whole world, or turmoil creeping up borderlines with neighboring countries.

He cited that some of the arms used by extremist attacks in Europe can be traced back to Libya.

After calling the intervention in Libya unconstitutional, al-Dam requested that Libya’s case file be taken out of the United Nations and handed back to the League of Arab States and the African Union.

On 19 March 2011, a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya, ostensibly to implement United Nations Security Council resolutions. The resolution was taken in response to events during the Libyan Civil War.

(Source / 12.09.2016)

Written by altahrir

September 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

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