Saturday, June 7, 2014

War Watch ( June 7 -8 , 2014 ) -- Libya political instability continues as power struggles between Islamists and the Militia forces of Hafter intensify ........ Iraq Death dealing continues - Islamists attempt to take Mosul ....... Rice: US Offers ‘Lethal and Non-Lethal’ Aid to Syrian Rebels US Ramping Up Involvement in Civil War

Libya .......

Libya's spy chief resigns amid power struggle

Salem al-Hassi submits resignation to parliament as violence intensifies in the country's east.

Last updated: 06 Jun 2014 09:29
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At least 10 rockets were reportedly fired on a Benghazi district, setting fire to warehouses [Al Jazeera]
Libya's intelligence chief has resigned amid an intensifying power struggle between the Islamist-dominated parliament and a rival interim government.

Spy chief Salem al-Hassi on Thursday submitted his resignation to parliament, Mohammed al-Arisha, an MP, told the Associated Press news agency without elaborating.

Al-Wasat news portal said al-Hassi resigned because he was frustrated with parliament's insistence on appointing a new prime minister, a move that has intensified the political crisis.

The resignation came as Libya's Supreme Constitutional Court convened to decide on the legality of the election of Islamist-backed Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteg. The court said it would issue its ruling on July 9.
Maiteg was elected last month by the Islamist-led parliament in a contested vote, which prompted incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to refuse to hand over the post until the judiciary decides on the matter.
Maiteg's appointment adds to Libya's political and security woes at a time when renegade General Khalifa Hifter is waging an offensive against fighters who he calls "extremists".

The general has also warned he would detain Islamist lawmakers, accusing them of financing the militias, which he blames for much of Libya's problems.

Raging violence

Hifter, who has managed to build support among army units, tribes, and a large section of Libyans fed up with violence and lawlessness, survived an assassination attempt on Wednesday.

Libya has sunk into chaos since the ousting and killing of longtime ruler Mouammar Gaddafi in 2011.

With no strong army or police force, militias quickly filled the security vacuum and successive governments relied on them to restore order. They then mushroomed in number and power, posing a challenge to any democratic transition.

In recent weeks, forces allied with Hifter bombed his opponents' camps, and they responded by attacking his forces.

On Thursday, a security official said at least 10 Grad rockets were fired into a district of the city of Benghazi, setting fire to several warehouses there.

Rockets were also fired at the outskirts of Darnah in eastern Libya, a stronghold of the Ansar al-Shariah armed group, which is one of the organisations Hifter opposes. 

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said there were no reports of casualties.

Libya Herald...

The state should be fighting terrorism – Maetig

By Sami Zaptia.
The two contenders for the post of Prime Minister, Ahmed Maetig (left) and Abdullah Thinni, await the ruling of the court tomorrow.
The two contenders for the post of Prime Minister, Ahmed Maetig (left) and Abdullah Thinni, await the ruling of the court tomorrow.
Tripoli, 8 June 2014:
Speaking at a press conference held late last night at the Prime Minister’s office, Ahmed Maetig, one of the two contenders with Abdullah Thinni for the post of Prime Minister subject to a court ruling tomorrow , said that the state should be the entity concerned with fighting terror.
Maetig admitted that terrorism is the biggest threat to Libya’s security and assured that he will work to fight terrorism in Libya, but that this effort should be carried out by the police, army and intelligence services – and not through the bombing of cities.
Maetig was directing his implied criticism regarding the bombing of cities to Khalifa Hafter and his “Dignity/Karama” campaign in Benghazi against terrorists. The campaign is not backed by the official Libyan state.
Maetig also said that he would clear Libya’s cities of arms in an effort to improve security and increase government control on the security situation.
He also called upon the international community to continue in its support for Libya and condemned the kidnappings and attacks on diplomats and international representatives.
The contester for the post of Prime Minister said that he has put forward numerous initiatives for strong government and a national salvation government. He stressed his support for the 25 June House of Representatives elections which will replace the current GNC and said that the handover of power from Abdullah Thinni and his government was ongoing, adding that there were no personal differences between the two.
Caretaker Thinni in a statement Thursday said that preparations for the handover were continuing but that no Ministries had officially handed over yet – pending the court ruling on Monday.

Tebu brigade joins Hafter

By Jamal Adel.
The  25th Brigade (Photo: the brigade's Facebook page)
Members of the 25th Brigade (Photo: the brigade’s Facebook page)
Tripoli, 8 June 2014:
The largely Tebu Brigade No. 25 based at the Sarir oil field yesterday joined retired General Khalifa Hafter’s “Operation Dignity”. The unit, also known as Ahmed Al-Shareef Brigade, combines both Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) and border guards.
“We declare that the 25th Brigade of both PFG and border guards has now joined the Dignity Operation and we put our selves under the direct command of the Libyan army,” the the brigade’s chief commander, Major Ali Seeda, told the Libya Herald.
The brigade is in charge of security at the Sarir and Messla oilfield as well as at the Shula oil compound 450 kilometres north of Kufra.
“We have always kept away from political issues and regional divisions. We’re regular army members and officers,” said Seeda. “We’ve joined the Operation Dignity because Libyan army members are being attacked and murdered. It’s our duty to protect ourselves and enforce law in our country.”
The brigade liberated Sarir oilfield and Al-Shula oil compound, Messla oilfield, 59 oilfield andthe Sarir northern farm project from Qaddafi forces at the beginning of April 2011 and have been based there ever since.

Maetig’s Tripoli hotel attacked: spokesman

By Jamal Adel.
Tripoli, 7 June 2014:
The Tobacts hotel in Tripoli’s Shara Omar Mukhtar, owned by Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Maetig, was attacked this morning.
Armed men attacked the Tobacts hotel at dawn,” Maetig’s spokesman, Nidal Armeda told the Libya Herald.  The unknown attackers were thought to have used grenades, he said.
“The attack resulted in minor damage to the building but there were no casualties,” he said, adding that   residents had been terrified.
It is thought that the attack was politically-motivated and carried out specifically because of Maetig’s appointment as Prime Minister by th General National Congress.  No other hotel in Tripoli has been attacked until now.
Meanwhile, Armeda also denied reports that a second Maetig cabinet member – Economy Minister Fathi Amar Wanis – had resigned.
“I refute these allegations,” he said. “The Minister of Economy hasn’t resigned. Wanis is still carrying out his duties.”

Thinni reaffirms commitment to court ruling, denies any ministerial handovers

By Libya Herald staff.
Caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni (right) promised to handover to newly elected Ahmed Maetig (left) if the courts rule that his election was legal
Caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni (right) promised to handover to newly elected Ahmed Maetig (left) if the courts rule that his election was legal
Tripoli, 7 June 2014:
Caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni reaffirmed his commitment to implementing the judgment of the court currently adjudicating into the legality of his designated successor Ahmed Maetig to the post of Prime Minister.
In a statement posted yesterday on the Interim Government’s official website and Facebook page, both of which incidentally seem to still be under the control of Caretaker Prime Minister Thinni, Thinni denied emphatically that any official handovers had taken place.
Thinni was reacting to claims by Maetig on Wednesday and Thursday that a number of Ministries, including the Justice Ministry had already officially handed over to his newly elected government.
The Thinni statement went on to say that all that has happened is that the sitting caretaker government had started preparations for a hand over upon the pronouncement of the court.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court failed to come up with a final decision on the matter of who is Libya’s legal Prime Minister, postponing its final ruling until Monday 9 June.
It will be recalled that on 4 June, in a second General National Congress (GNC) session presided over by Second Deputy President Saleh Al-Makhzoum, Maetig was elected by 121 votes. In the first session, presided over by First Deputy President Ezziddin Al-Awami, he gained 113 votes, a majority but seven short of the 120 needed to be appointed.  Awami then said that Makhzoum’s session was illegal.
However, President of Congress Nuri Abu Sahmain validated the second session and its vote.
The Ministry of Justice then asked the Supreme Court to rule on the issue.

ICRC suspending operations but “not abandoning Libya”

By Libya Herald staff.
The ICRC in Libya has worked closely with the Red Crescent
The ICRC in Libya has worked closely with the Red Crescent
Tripoli, 7 June 2014:
The International Committee of the Red Cross has announced the suspension of its operations and movements in Libya after Wednesday’s murder of its Misrata chief on a visit to Sirte.
The widely-leaked move follows the deadly shooting of  42 year-old Swiss national Michael Greub. 
However the ICRC’s acting deputy director of operations, Magne Barth, insisted yesterday that the organisation pledged not to abandon Libya.
Interviewed in Geneva, he said that time was needed to review the security situation. But he explained  that the ICRC was not pulling out of Libya and would continue to support the victims of violence and conflict in the country.
“It was a shocking attack” said Barth, “we are [in Libya] for no other reason than to support the victims who need us there.” The attack was devastating in terms of the possible consequences for the beneficiaries of the ICRC’s work.
“We will have to think thoroughly on what comes next now. There are a number of things that we don’t know at all. We don’t know who was behind the attack. Nobody has claimed it. We can speculate but we don’t know”.
He said that it was not clear if the attack was specifically targeting the ICRC. “But the fact is that one of our staff members being part of a team was directly attacked and killed … but we cannot at this stage say it was an attack on the ICRC as an institution”.
Repeating that the Red Cross was not leaving Libya, Barth warned however that the way in which it operated had to be reassessed. For the moment, the organisation’s first priority was to support the five people and their families directly involved in Wednesday’s attack.
Flags at the ICRC’s Geneva HQ have been flying at half-mast as a tribute to Greuber. He had been working in Libya for two years, having previously been stationed in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Gaza.
The ICRC ,which has been highly active in Libya since the early in the Revolution, has been targeted before, apparently in part because of the assumption that it is a Christian organisation.  In August  2012 a series of five attacks culminated in the firing of RPGs at the ICRC building in Misrata. The five staff were unhurt but were withdrawn to Tripoli for some months. At that time, similar incidents also caused the evacuation of the Red Cross premises in Benghazi.
The ICRC has been involved in many areas including support for prisoners and refugees, tracing missing people, providing medical training, particularly in the treatment of battlefield wounds. It has also held seminars on human rights and sponsored exhibitions. For many programmes, it has worked closely with the Red Crescent which is  now expected to take over some, at least, of it activities.

Hafter supporters and opponents clash in Martyrs’ Square

By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Fighting Hafter anti-HAfter
Hafter opponents and supporters fight in Martyrs’ Square
Tripoli, 7 June 2014:
There were clashes in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square early yesterday evening between supporters and opponents of Khalifa Hafter which left a number of people injured.
The fighting occurred when supporters of Hafter’s “Operation Dignity” and of the General National Congress and the government of Ahmed Maetig held demonstrations in the same venue.
There have been pro-Hafter demonstrations in the square for the past two Fridays and last Friday there was also an anti-Hafter protest in nearby Algeria Square. Yesterday, according to the police, permission was given for an anti-Hafter demonstration in Martyrs’ Square.
Despite initial police efforts to keep them apart, the presence of pro- and anti-Hafter supporters in the same place inevitably led to shouting between the two sides which developed into hand-to-hand fighting. Individuals on both sides then began using sticks and empty bottles. Shots were then fired, for which both sides blame each other, although it is thought that the firing may have done by the police as a warning to the protestors. No one was injured in the shooting.
Many protestors left at that point as, reportedly, did several of the police.

Supreme Court sees Maetig appointment as illegal but postpones final decision until 9 June

By Moutaz Ali and Ashraf Abdul-Wahab 
PMs 2
Prime Minister-elect Ahmed Maetig and Caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni
Tripoli, 6 June 2014:
The Supreme Court yesterday failed to come up with a decisive ruling on the election of Ahmed Maetiq by Congress last month as prime minister, indicating instead that while it thought that he had been illegally appointed, there were appeals against that view and they had to be heard.
It is to make a final ruling on 9 June.
Libyans were hoping for a firm decision one way or another.
On 4 June, in a second Congress session presided over by Second Deputy President Saleh Al-Makhzoum, Maetig was elected by 121 votes. In the first session, presided over by First Deputy President Ezziddin Al-Awami, he gained 113 votes, a majority but seven short of the 120 needed to be appointed.  Awami then said that Makhzoum’s session was illegal. However, President of Congress Nuri Abu Sahmain validated the second session and its vote.
The Ministry of Justice asked the Supreme Court to rule on the issue.
Yesterday, no official announcement was made but according to court sources and lawyers, the court was advised by the Prosecution Cassation Office that the appointment was invalid under Congress’ own rules because the second session presided over by Makhzoum  was illegal and Abu Sahmain’s  endorsement of it was of no consequence because he was not involved in the proceedings.
It is extremely rare for the Supreme Court to disagree with the Cassation Office’s advice but it is reported that there are as many as 14 appeals against dismissing Maetig’s appointment.
The majority of Congress members are hopeful that on Monday the Court will come down in their favour.
“We believe that the Supreme Court will approve Maetig’s legality,” Congressman Taher Gouri from Murzuk told the Libya Herald.
A more detached view came from Benghazi Congressman Ahmed Langhi: “You never know what the judges will decide but we have to obey their decision whatever it is.”
Nidal Armida, the head of the Maetig government’s media office, said he could not comment.


Carnage Across Iraq Leaves 184 Killed, 183 Wounded
by , June 07, 2014
Militants continued their siege of Mosul today and also attack a university in Ramadi. Later in the day, Baghdad suffered from a series of bombings. Overall, at least 184 people were killed and 183 were wounded.
In Ramadi, militants attempted a takeover of the University of Anbar. The attack began when militants killed three police guards and then took hostage a number of students in a dormitory. Some of the students were removed from their rooms, but their fate is unclear. After a few hours, the militants simply left the campus. At leastone student was killedas were nine militants.
According to professors, the insurgents encouraged everyone to leave the campus. However, a few students were reported still on campus after the rest fled. One guardsuggested the real goal was to take control of an area behind campus called Humaira. Occupying Humaira would allow for supply lines to be set up between Ramadi and Falluja.
suicide bomber drover into a bridge near Ramadikilling two soldiers and wounded five more.
Shelling left seven dead and 17 wounded in Falluja.
In Mosul, continued fighting left 41 police and 27 militants dead. Over sixty more security members were wounded. Morgue officials said many bodies are still lying in the streets. At least eight more civilians were killed since fighting began yesterday, and15 civilians were wounded. Of the dead policemen, it appears that 21 of them were captured and executed.
Large numbers of residents are fleeing the city; however, ISIS/DAASH controls most of the routes in the areas. Many are instead taking shelter at schools. The provincial council called on the Kurdistan Regional Government to reinforce Peshmerga troops already stationed in Nineva province. The Iraqi Army has launched air strikes.
In Baghdad, a bomb killed 23 people and wounded at least eight more at a billiards hall in the Bayaa district. Two people were killed and six more were wounded by a bomb in western Baghdad. A bomb near a cinema in Baghdad al-Jadida killed three and wounded 14 moreThree people were killed and 11 more were wounded in a blast in Amil. In Ur, a bomb killed two people and wounded six moreFour people were killed and 15 were wounded in a blast at the Babylon Hotel in Karrada. A bomb in Shurta IV killed two people and wounded nine more. At least seven other bombs killed 27 people and wounded 5 more.
Two roadside bombs near Baiji killed four soldiers and wounded five more.
Four suicide bombers were killed in Baquba, where two car bombs were disarmed. Last night, a car bomb killed one security member and wounded five more. Authoritiesbelieve that recent attacks in the city were meant to help free prominent ISIS/DAASH members from incarceration.
In Abu Rqaibatwo militants were killed.

Diyala police: yesterday's attacks were aimed at the release of prominent leaders in the ISIS organization
07/06/2014 19:04:00
Baquba / NINA / Police chief in Diyala Maj. Gen. Jamil al-Shammari announced on Saturday that the armed attacks that targeted security headquarters in Baquba yesterday was designed to release the prominent leaders in the ISIS organization.

He said in a press statement that the armed attacks that targeted the anti-terrorism headquarters Diyala last night was aimed at the release of prominent leaders in the ISIS organization, representing the second row in the organization of the elements who are close to the leader of the terrorist organization known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi." Noting that they were arrested in pre-emptive operations took place in different parts of Diyala in recent times and detained at the anti-terrorism headquarters for the purpose of investigation.

He explained that "the leadership of the police and through intelligence information prepared a plan, during which succeeded to kill four suicide bombers in less than half an hour, adding that "the size of the casualties in the ranks of the security services was very limited and could have had greater if there were not seriously preparations. / End

166 Killed, 101 Wounded Across Iraq As Militants 

Attack Mosul

by , June 06, 2014
Insurgents attempted to take over Mosul from the west, but the government was able to take back most of the city. At least 166 people were killed and 101 more were wounded there and across Iraq. There were foreign nationals among the dead insurgents.
Security forces killed several militants in Falluja. Selling left three dead and 11 wounded.
In Mosul, dozens of people were killed when insurgents attempted to take over the city. Among them, six riot policemen were killed and 23 more were wounded in clashes. Five suicide bombers killed 11 soldiers at an arms depot in a southern neighborhood. A mortar shell killed at least one civilian. At least 14 more security personnel were injured in the south. Provincial authorities said 105 militants were killed in clashes and that the attack was an attempt to split Iraqi forces and relieve pressure on Anbar province to the south.
Two suicide bombs exploded in the Shabak village of Tahrawa, near Mosul, killing 25 people and wounding 35 more.
In Baquba, militants tried to take over an anti-terrorist offices, leaving two people dead. At least four were wounded.
civilian was shot dead in Basra.
In Baghdad, shelling wounded seven people.
A car bomb in Kirkuk wounded three people.
Two bombs in Qadisiya wounded at least one policeman and his brother.
Gunmen wounded a captain in Hawija.


Rice: US Offers ‘Lethal and Non-Lethal’ Aid to Syrian Rebels

US Ramping Up Involvement in Civil War

by Jason Ditz, June 06, 2014
It’s not exactly a secret, with rebels putting up videos showing themselves wielding US-made weapons, but the Obama Administration seems to finally be admitting to its arming of the Syrian rebellion.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice confirmed today on CNN that the US is “providing lethal and non-lethal support” to the “moderate vetted opposition” in Syria.
Rice insisted the she was “heartbroken” about the civil war, and that this was why the US had “ramped up” its involvement in the ongoing conflict. Recently, US weapons, particularly anti-tank rockets, have been showing up across the rebellion.
Other administration officials were still refusing to detail the extent of the US armament of rebels, so it’s not clear if Rice’s comment reflects increasingly overt involvement in the war, or simply a one-off interview while they continue on with relative secrecy.