Monday, July 10, 2017

Militia loyal to former Liyban "Salvation" government clash with forces loyal to UN-brokered unity government

Reuters reports that  militia opposed to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) were attempting to approach the capital Tripoli from the east. The clashes took place in Garabulli about 50 km ( 30 miles) to the east of the capital on the coastal road. Most of the group's support comes from the city of Misrata. The militia were driven out of Tripoli in May and have been attempting to regroup. Libya Observer claims the group are the National Guard of the Salvation Government(SG) associated with the General National Congress (GNC) led by Khalifa al-Ghweil. The Observer speaks of the clashes as in the Gwiya district of Castelverde town, 70 km to the east of Tripoli. A tweet claims that members of the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) are also involved against the GNA forces.Some of the many militia groups in Tripoli are nominally loyal to the GNA but often have their own agendas.The GNA has yet to form a national army and disband militias.

The forces loyal to the GNA involved in the clashes include the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, the Al-Daman Brigade of Tajura, as well as the Central Security Force of Abu Salim and other forces as well according to the Libya Observer. Sources told the Observer that it was the Pro-GNA forces that started the clash when the accused the National Guard forces of trying to enter Tripoli. There have been movements of military vehicles coming towards Tripoli lately. There could be an attempt to enter Tripoli from different directions threatening the GNA government of Faiez Serraj head of the Presidential Council.

The commander of the SG, Mahmoud al-Zegil said that the forces east of Tripoli are opposed to the policies of the GNA's Presidential Council (PC) saying: "The Presidential Council helped strengthen the position of Khalifa Haftar instead of complaining to the UN about his violations and military escalation." The opposition troops may not be strong enough to enter Tripoli. The SG and other opponents of the GNA are also very much anti-Haftar. Haftar no doubt is quite happy to watch the group fight with those supporting the GNA as it shows division within groups against him and will further weaken the position of those opposed to him within the GNA.

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