Three people, including a civilian, were killed in fighting last night in Tripoli’s Gurji district, west of the city centre, between the powerful Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade of Haithem Tajouri and the Nawasi Brigade.
The clashes occurred late last night after Tajouri sent in forces to Gurji’s Massara area to clear it of a Nawasi unit consiting of an extended local family, the Alwad Radiah, said to be in control of it.
Tajouri’s forces are reported to have succeeded.
As well as the civilian killed in the fighting, one on the leaders of the Alwad Radiah was also reported killed. The third person was unidentified.
The fighting was triggered by a move earlier in the evening by Nawasi to take over Tajouri’s headquarters on the corniche (Shara Al-Shatt), just opposite the TV station next to the foreign ministry buildings. There was no serious fighting, just shooting in the air, but Tajouri called in reinforcements and the corniche east of the Mahari Radisson Blu hotel was closed off. His forces were then dispatched to Gurji.
The pro-Islamist Nawasi brigade was at one point linked to Abdul Raouf Kara and his Rada brigades but the link was broken when, with the arrival of the Presidency Council in Tripoli last year, he supported it while the more radical Nawasi continued to support the crumbling Libya Dawn “government” of Khalifa Ghwell. It still does so, although like him, it is said to have now transferred its support to Baset Igtet.
It is claimed that it tried to move against Tajouri yesterday following the rumours that he was going to have discussions with Khalifa Hafter. libyaherald.com
The situation in Libya is so chaotic that the “libyanisation” neologism is currently imposing itself. It has become a fatal combination of balkanisation – the division of a state into autonomous districts – and somalisation – the failing of a government in favour of militia groups.
Currently, the country has three governments. During the last five years, Libya has seen two general elections, an aborted coup d’etat, the arrival of the Islamic State group (IS) and low-intensity ethnic conflicts. The decaying situation is such that more and more Libyans are calling for a return of the Jamahiriya (“state of the masses”), implemented by Muammar Gaddafi.
“We want to liberate the Jamahiriya, which was the victim of a coup d’etat led by NATO”, Franck Pucciarelli told the Middle East Eye. The Frenchman, who lives in Tunisia, is the spokesman for a group of partisans of the Libyan and international revolutionary groups, who act as the transmission belt for the Gaddafi ideology. He explained that members have been working since 2012 from outside the country.
The organisation reportedly has some 20,000 members in Libya and 15,000 to 20,000 exiled former soldiers are prepared to return. “We are able to organise a popular uprising and if Libya falls into chaos, it is thanks to our actions,” states the spokesman.
Ahmed, a former director at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs today living in Tunisia, is more measured. “We have made the most of the instability to return, but are not responsible for anything, he told MEE. The Libyan people and international community have simply realised that Libya can only be governed under the Jamahiriya”.
The three types of Gaddafi loyalists
The two men do, however, agree on the political organisation of the country after regaining power. The idea is to hold a referendum – or rather a plebiscite – on the return of the Jamahiriya with the presence of the international community to supervise the vote. It would be a relatively modernised state of the masses, with a senate representing the tribes, a lower house and above all a constitution –which were lacking under Mouammar Gaddafi.
It is a scenario which causes Rachid Kechana, director of the North African Study Centre on Libya, to smile. He accepts that there is a sustainable renewal of the green ideology (the colour of the Jamahiriya). “The return to grace of the former regime can above all be understood by the failure of the post-revolutionary transition. And the Gaddafi ideologies are based on this failure to return to the forefront of the political scene, and not a genuine popular acceptance. The Gaddafi loyalists will never return to power, but they will have some importance, through strategic alliances in the future Libya.” middleeasteye.net
Note source is Qatari – Pro Muslim Brotherhood/Misrata – applauds the murder of supporters of the Jamahiriya – “The most revolutionary militia in Tripoli (Muslim Brotherhood & al-Qaeda alliance – Libya Dawn) has understood the potential danger of such a rampant nostalgia to develop. In June, they assassinated 12 loyalists in Tripoli from the Jamahiriya who had just completed their prison sentences for crimes committed in 2011.”
Libya ~ Caravan pro-Gaddafi in Benghazi ~ July 6, 2016
In a dramatic turn of events, a handful of members of the former General National Council and the former Tripoli “prime minister” have staged an apparent coup in Tripoli, taking over the the GNC’s old premises next to Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel and declaring themselves in power again.
This evening Ghwell issued a statement from the GNC’s old premises next to Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel, declaring a state of emergency and what he called it an “historical initiative to rescue Libya”.
The Rixos conference centre, which previously served as the GNC’s chamber, and the “Hospitality Palaces” across the road were taken over six months ago by the State Council headed by Abdulrahman Sewehli, but it pulled out a couple of days ago, citing security issues.
Today’s takeover followed a stand-off in the area since early morning between gunmen supporting the former GNC and those linked to Sewehli. It ended with the latter withdrawing. Disgruntled over unpaid salaries, their commitment was already weakened. It is believed they had already threatened to quit and were in contact with Ghwell supporters – which was why the State Council decided to withdraw.
This evening, Ghwell, accompanied by Awad Abdul Saddeq, the GNC’s first deputy president, and the former head of GNC’s own “presidential guard, Ali Ramali, called on Abdullah Al-Thinni, head of the interim government in Beida, to join him and together form a national unity government.
Ghwell also accused the internationally-backed Presidency Council (PC) of undermining national unity and of being the pawn of foreign forces wanting to divide the country.
He ordered all governmental organisations and ministries to stop dealing the PC and to work with him again instead. He also said that all those who had been appointed by the PC were dismissed.
There has been no reaction as yet to what is being seen as a coup, either by Sewehli, or by the Presidency Council which is meeting in Tunis. Also there has been no appearance so far of Nuri Abu Sahmin, the former head of the GNC.
There has been no comment either from Beida although it is known that a couple of weeks ago, proposals were put to the Thinni government that it should join hands with the former Ghwell administration and create a government of national unity to replace the PC.
It is thought that controversial grand mufti Sadek Al-Ghariani was aware of approved Ghwell’s moves. His Tanasah TV station was the only one attending Ghwell’s press conference this evening. libyaherald.com
An outbreak of heavy firing last night near the Mehari Radisson hotel, above the Bu Sitta naval base where the Presidential Council is staying was due to a “misunderstanding” the Rada Security Force explained today.
It said that the fighting had broken out between what it described as the 155 Brigade of the Libyan army and the 6th Brigade under control of Central Security. Rada explained on its social media site that its own members had intervened to stop the shooting. It did not say what the “misunderstanding” might have been.
Other reports suggest that there was a dispute between 155 Brigade members and armed men from the Zawiyat Addahmani district as to who should be carrying out a patrol of the naval base.
In any event, prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj was not at the base. He left yesterday for a private visit to London, where it is understood that he will have no official meetings.
There are no details of any casualties from last night’s exchanges which lasted for about ten minutes and involved firing in the air. libyaherald.com
Protesters supporting the UN unity government in Tripoli:
Protesters in Tripoli’s Martyr’s Square against UN’s rule-breaking installment of
State Council & Abdulrahman Swehli, a Misrata politician tied to Libya Dawn:
– Libya Al Hurra @LibyaAlHurraTV
Pro-HoR, anti-State Council protests in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square libyaherald.com
Pro Gaddafi protests, a show of unity not seen in Tripoli since the leaders assassination:
– NATO’s response was air stikes on media stations, killing at least 3 journalists.
– Followed by the dropping of leaflets saying if you are near your leadership you will be targeted in air strikes.
– The BBC showed a video of Indians claiming it was Libyans celebrating intervention.
Efforts by Libya’s UN-backed unity government to assert its control over the capital were thrown into chaos Wednesday as the head of a rival Tripoli-based authority backed away from ceding power.
Contradicting an earlier announcement that his so-called National Salvation Government was ready to step aside, Tripoli’s unrecognised prime minister Khalifa Ghweil urged his ministers not to stand down.
He threatened to prosecute anyone working with the new government. dailymail.co.uk
Libya Dawn surprisingly appears to of been pushed aside from Tripoli for the time being, something that the Tobruk government & Khalifa Haftar united had so far failed to achieve. The Tobruk government was forced into exile after the militias running a protection racket did not receive annual payments. Many militias operating in Tripoli have no doubt been paid off, to look the other way as the Sarraj government strolled in with little to no resistance.
Before the entrance of the Sarraj government, one thing that the competing sides could agree on, is that they strongly rejected another western military intervention, many having family & friends killed by NATO bombs, only to have NATO claim that their operation resulted in no civilian fatalities, this is also seen as a threat to Libya’s sovereignty.
The Sarraj government needs to regain control of ISIS controlled Sirte, & keep oil production facilities operational, if it wishes to unfreeze the sovereign wealth fund which contains an estimated $67bn, of which will be needed for a continuation of Sarraj government control. If the Sarraj government invites in another western military intervention, it is likely to see stronger opposition from all sides.
The UN Sarraj government expects Haftar’s supporters to flip allegiance in a short space of time, if they don’t, another option is for the Sarraj government to unite with Haftar in the east & open a united attack on Sirte from east & west. But sanctions directed towards those not submitting to the UN imposed government could push Haftar into separatism, seeking to be the government of Cyrenaica dividing Libya into two different countries.
Libya has been completely dependent on foreign aid since NATO destabilized the country to assassinate the head of state, doing so with UN complicity. At this time the UN has provided Libya with only 4 percent of humanitarian relief funds needed in the country, with the $67bn of freezed funds being used partly as a bargaining chip for the acceptance of the UN unity government. Many Libyans may be faced with the dilemma of do you accept the UN imposed government, or do you want your family to go with out their potentially life saving medication? The Sarraj government with its bargaining chip, is the latest hope for asset unfreezing that could ease the humanitarian needs of the country.
The head of the Tripoli-based National Salvation government, Khalifa Ghwell, has voiced strong opposition to any transfer of power, and Council members had to travel to Tripoli by ship after opponents shut down the capital’s airspace.
But a statement posted late on Thursday on the National Salvation government’s website struck a milder tone, saying opposition would be “by peaceful and legal means without use of force or incitement to violence”.
“We will not cling to power,” the statement said. “I demand that the revolutionaries, civil society and the senior clerics be given the opportunity to take the necessary decisions to avoid bloodshed and find a solution to the Libyan crisis.” reuters.com
The Islamist “Libyan Dawn” has been described as “an uneasy coalition” including “former al-Qaeda jihadists” who fought against Qaddafi in the nineties, Berber ethnic militias, members of Libya’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a “network of conservative merchants” from Misrata.
The militia coalition known as Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) seized control of Tripoli after fierce fighting with rival factions, forcing the internationally recognised government and parliament to flee east.
The UN Libya envoy Bernardino Leon has declared that peace talks are in their “final days” and he is right – the failure of his talks process is now just a short time away.
A year of muddle and confusion by the envoy is ending right where it began – with Libya’s warring sides as far away as ever and nothing to show for endless peace conferences he has convened in Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey and Switzerland. Each conference has begun with Leon declaring a deal was close to end the civil war, and each has ended in failure. timesofoman.com
U.S. policies have fed the extraordinary growth of extreme jihadism modeled on al Qaeda and ISIS. The US-led NATO bombing of Libya in 2011 helped turn that country into a breeding ground for ISIS and related jihadist movements. counterpunch.org
Human rights groups have condemned the sentencing of Saif-al Islam Gaddafi, son of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and eight others of the previous regime to death.
The United Nations human rights office said the international body was “deeply disturbed” by the sentence given to the 43-year-old in absentia. He had presented the evidence to a Tripoli court via video link.
The UN said: “We are deeply disturbed at the verdicts and sentences handed down in Tripoli in the trial of former Gaddafi officials, in particular the imposition of the death penalty against a number of them. We had closely monitored the detention and trial and found that international fair trial standards had failed to be met.
“Among the key shortcomings is the failure to establish individual criminal responsibility in relation to specific crimes. There were also serious issues relating to access to lawyers, claims of ill-treatment, and trials conducted in absentia.”
The younger Gaddafi is currently being detained by a rival militia group which has refused to hand him over the Libyan authorities. He was sentenced over the war crimes committed during the 2011 uprising.
With two rival groups running parallel governments, several regions in the North African country have been gripped by lawlessness topped by an intense power struggle of the militias.
Among 37 people who were on trial, including Saif-al Islam, eight former officials were given the life sentence while seven others were jailed for 12 years; four were acquitted and some got shorter jail terms.
It is still unclear whether there would be an appeal against the verdict though Saif-al Islam’s lawyer has promised to challenge the ruling.
Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa programme director at Amnesty International, said in statement: “Instead of helping to establish the truth and ensuring accountability for serious violations during the 2011 armed conflict, this trial exposes the weakness of a criminal justice system which is hanging on by a thread in a war-torn country with no central authority.
“It’s a case that was always going to test the judiciary, but in the end it has shown the difficulties of delivering justice at a time when the rule of the gun overpowers the rule of law.
“The death sentences – the ultimate human rights violation – add further insult to injury, and should be overturned on appeal.” ibtimes.co.uk
Three of 10 Tunisian consular staff kidnapped in Libya last week have been freed and negotiations over the other hostages are continuing, a Libyan official and a Tunisian source said on Tuesday.
Gunmen stormed the Tunisian consulate on Friday in Tripoli, where armed factions have in the past seized diplomats and foreigners to exert pressure on their governments to free Libyan militants held in jails abroad.
Tunisia is one of the few countries to keep a diplomatic presence in Tripoli since an armed faction called Libya Dawn took over the capital last year and forced the internationally recognised government to flee to the east of the country.
No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but Tunisian authorities last month arrested Walid Kalib, a member of Libya Dawn. A Tunisian court refused to release Kalib, who faces kidnapping charges in Tunisia.
“Three diplomats have been freed yesterday after they were kidnapped in the capital Tripoli,” a Libyan diplomatic police official, Faraj Swhili, told Reuters. “The other seven diplomats will be released when the Libyan detainee in Tunis, Walid Kalib, is released by Tunisian authorities.”
A Tunisian government source confirmed the release, but would not give any details about negotiations or conditions set by the captors.
Gunmen have kidnapped Egyptian, Jordanian and Tunisian diplomats and citizens in the past. Most diplomats left the country after Libya Dawn, a loose alliance of former rebel brigades and Islamist-leaning groups, seized power in Tripoli.
Four years after the fall of veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has slowly tumbled into crisis, with former brigades of rebels turning against each in a battle for control. The United Nations is trying to coax the two main factions into a unity government. reuters.com
Libya Dawn militants kidnapped another group of Tunisians last month.