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Is Haftar right in claiming there are terrorists and militias in Tripoli?

11 1 0
25.04.2019

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), has long claimed that terrorists and rogue militias are controlling the capital Tripoli, placing his campaign as part of the international “war on terror”. In launching his attack on 4 April, his spokesperson repeatedly said that “terrorists” are fighting LNA on the outskirts of the capital.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, vehemently denies that any criminals, terrorists, sanctioned individuals or militia leaders are involved in the fight. Claiming full control over forces confronting the LNA.

The situation on the ground stems from when the newly formed GNA was transferred, under Italian protection, to Tripoli three months after the Libyan Political Accord was signed in Skhirat Morocco, on 17 December 2015

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Having neither army nor police force on the ground, the GNA, with the help of the UN, had to rely on the support of dominant militias including the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB), Special Deterrence Force and Nawasi Brigade. Between them they control most of the capital including Mitiga airport.

Libyan National Accord Government troops clash with eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s troops in Wadi al-Rabie area located at south of Tripoli, Libya on 10 April, 2019 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

Libyan National Accord Government troops clash with eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s troops in Wadi al-Rabie area located at south of Tripoli, Libya on 10 April, 2019 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

Once in the capital, the GNA found itself under the mercy of militias. I remember, in April 2016 Hashem Beshr, a TRB leader told me how he spent days negotiating with other militias to allow the GNA to come to Tripoli.

As a result, the GNA has become a political vehicle, enjoying international support, but in reality driven by a coalition of........

© Middle East Monitor