Wednesday 4th of March 2015
By Bjørn Ihler for the Global Alliance for Peace in Libya
Rivalling Libyan forces carry out air strikes against oil installations in Es Sidra and key infrastructure, including the civil airport in Ras Lanuf and Maitiga, the airport in Tripoli.
Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf makes up half of Libya’s oil output during normal operation, but was shut down in December due to the conflict. Libya is currently producing around 400000 barrels of oil daily, this is merely a third of what was produced per day before Gaddafi was toppled.
The strikes towards Maitiga, Tripoli’s airport were carried out in connection with planned strikes against the airport of Misrata, which also has a base for Libya Dawn. According to air force commander Saqir El-Jaroshi these strikes were carried out in order to stop suspected supplies to Istamist militants, and as retaliation for Tripoli forces bombing Zintan, a town loyal to Thinni’s government.
These strikes happened as the United Nations worked to restart talks in Morocco with delegations both from the General National Congress and The House of Representatives as both sides acknowledge the need for a unified front and more robust Libyan state to “confront the growing threat of terrorism in Libya.”.
In a statement made on the 3rd of March The House of Representatives made it clear they only would return to talks if they were recognised as the sole government. The talks are however set to continue this week. According to UNSMIL the talks will commence later this week in Morocco. The parties underscored the need to urgently resume the dialogue process as the only viable means of finding a peaceful solution to Libya’s political crisis and bringing a durable end to the military conflict.
The talks broke sown last week after the House of Representatives decided to quit after a double suicide bombing attack which killed 45 people, and what was said to be Western pressure to include Islamists in a future government. The bombings took place in the eastern town of al-Qoba, claimed by ISIL. All parties expresses their unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attack, and outrage at the senseless loss of innocent lives. The parties underscored the need for a united Libyan front and empowered Libyan state to confront the growing threat of terrorism.
In addition to the current air-raids, and previous challenges to the talks, the appointment of Major General Khalifa Belgacem Haftar as commander-in-chief of the army poses a threat to improved relations between the two parliaments as well as numerous groupings and militias.
Haftar is a former general who helped Gaddafi come to power only to fall out with him in the 1980s. Since then Haftar has become one of the most divisive figures in post-revolution Libya. He joined the 2011 rebellion against Gaddafi and reemerged last year as he began a self-declared war against militias in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Libyan groups, as well as western countries do not share Haftar’s views and believe “he is putting moderate Islamists and extremist ones in the same bag”, according to a Western diplomat. Haftar’s appointment is also seen in Tripoli as a sign that the old guard is guard is regaining strength. According to GNC spkesman Omar Hmaidan “Khalifa Haftar is a war criminal, this measure will add to the escalation and complicate things”.
Wednesday morning headlines from UNSMIL:
- UN says Libyan talks to be held in Morocco this week (AP)
- UN to resume peace talks on libya this week in Morocco (Reuters)
- Libyan peace talks set to resume (Xinhua)
- UN-Mediated Libya Talks to Resume in Morocco Later This Week (Sputnik)
- UNSMIL: Three Meetings within the Libyan Dialogue Next Week (Bawabat Alwasat)
- UN: Libyan Dialogue Resumes this Week in Morocco (Bawabat Alwasat)
- UNSMIL Announces Resumption of Dialogue and Parties Agree to Form National Unity Government (Altadamon)
- Salvation Government: Attack on Meitiga Airport Threatens to Cause Failure of the Dialogue (Altadamon)
- Sawwan: We Value the Decision of GNC and Tobruk’s Parliament to Participate in Dialogue (Altadamon)
- Militants take over Libya’s Bahi, Mabrouk Oilfields – Security Official (Reuters)
- Rival Libyan forces carry out air strikes, militants storm oilfield (Reuters)
- Airstrike on Qardabiyah Airbase in Sirte (Bawabat Alwasat)
- Ten migrants die in Mediterranean, hundreds rescued (Reuters)
- Director of Defence Minister’s Office in Southern Region Released (Bawabat Alwasat)
- Secret Meeting in Algeria brings together Militia Leaders (EREM)
- Italian President Calls for Supporting Leon to Resume the National Libyan Dialogue (Bawabat Alwasat)
- Tunisian Consul Resumes Duties Officially in Tripoli (Libya Al-Mostakbal)
- EU Expresses Readiness to Resolve Libya Crisis (Altadamon)
- Foreign Ministry hopes for successful Libya talks in Morocco (Times of Malta)
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