Libyan militias fight over Turkish military equipment

Jim Hanson

2 months ago

June 03, 2019

Several militias associated with the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli have ben fighting each other over the military equipment that recently was delivered by Turkey.

The militia fighting broke out Friday night after Sharkas seized one of the new Turkish vehicles, sparking a clash with rival militants, said witnesses. The fighting culminated in his death and the death of his cousin.

The shipment that was delivered a month ago violated the UN arms embargo although no action has yet been taken against Turkey or the GNA for this breach. It is especially troubling for a US NATO ally to be supplying military equipment that likely has American-made components without the proper permission from the US.

GNA spokesman Mohanad Younes told reporters in May that Turkey and other countries would be delivering military and humanitarian assistance.

The GNA, led by Fayez Serraj, has been making large withdrawals from the Libyan Central Bank to pay its extremist militia allies including al Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia which were responsible for the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens. It is a dangerous situation for Islamist militias to be receiving large amounts of cash and access to high quality military equipment.

A member of the Benghazi Shura Council wanted for taking part in killing Ambassador Stevens was killed while fighting for the GNA.

The extremists and terrorist militias the GNA government has employed maintain an effective veto over the policies of the GNA and render it useless as a negotiating partner for a way forward. There is no way they will agree to any deal that stops their access to the oil revenues the Serraj government uses to pay them.

Calls for a cease fire in Libya between the forces of Marshal Haftar leader os the Libyan National Army and the GNA are ineffectual because the GNA can not deliver any control over its militias and therefore a cease fire would be applicable to only one side.

After the most recent talks between Haftar and Serraj in Abu Dhabi and agreement to hold national elections and share power was announced.

The two men agreed “on the need to end the transitional stages in Libya through holding general elections,” the U.N. Libya mission (UNSMIL) said in a Tweet.

“They also agreed on ways to maintain stability in the country and unify its institutions.”

But after leaving the meeting Serraj returned to Tripoli and conferred with his Muslim Brotherhood partners. Then the deal which had been agreed to by both parties was overruled by the Islamist forces in the GNA.

According to Libyan press reports, the Libyan chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood held a meeting in Qatar attended by the former mufti Al-Ghariani, Ali Al-Salabi and other Islamist leaders in order to discuss the situation back home and to finalise a proposal to be put to the National Conference. The proposal, recently announced by the Halbous Brigade in the western city of Misrata, a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, contains 10 points, the most important of which provides that the resolutions adopted by the National Conference must override decisions made by the currently existing authorities. This implicitly means that the conference will supersede and disregard parliament.

Until the extremist militias are removed and disarmed there is no way negotiations can lead to stability, elections or peace in Libya. That should be a condition for any talks about a path that leads to a safer secure Libya.

About the Author

Jim Hanson

Jim served in US Army Special Forces and conducted Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Insurgency as well as Diplomatic, Intelligence and Humanitarian operations in more than a dozen countries. He is the author of Cut Down the Black Flag – A Plan to Defeat the Islamic State, and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, C-Span, and numerous national radio shows.