Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Libya on fire ( literally true in places ) August 7 , 2014 ---- ISIS like tactics in Benghazi by Militants - is Hifter's Brigade cornered at the Benina Airport ? Brega Depot fire under control – NOC ...... Political situation in focus !

Insecurity items ...... reminds me of ISIS methodolgy as far as acquiring serious war gear , becoming more like an Army !

Libya's Extremists Tighten Grip Over Benghazi

An umbrella group for eastern Libya's extremist militias announced Wednesday that it had overrun three more army bases in the eastern city of Benghazi and seized large amounts of heavy weapons, including armored vehicles, as they tightened their grip on the country's second city.
The Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council, composed of extremist militias like Ansar al-Shariah, posted pictures of its leaders posing in front of tanks, multiple rocket launchers, and artillery they claimed to have seized from the bases they overran.
The pictures could not be independently verified but in the past weeks the militants have seized several other bases belonging to the remnants of the Libyan army. An official in the city confirmed the militias' recent victories and said they were now shelling the army's remaining strongholds on the outskirts of the city.
Ansar al-Shariah is branded a terrorist organization by Washington and is accused of orchestrating the deadly assault on US mission in Benghazi in 2012 killing four Americans including US Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The Islamist militias launched a counteroffensive after units loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter, attempted to dislodge them from the city months earlier.
Despite support from several army units, including the elite special forces, Hifter's troops have largely been driven out of the city and are now cornered in the Benina airport outside the city.
The security official said that the militias have been pounding the airport with grad rockets. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Hifter's campaign announced in May has upset the delicate balance of power in Libya where militias formed to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 hold most of the weapons.
The militias have chosen different sides in the conflict and are now squaring off against each other across the country. Tripoli's airport has been severely damaged after the Islamist-allied militia from the city of Misrata attacked the militia from the mountain town of Zintan holding it.
Lacking an effective army and police force after Gadhafi's overthrow, Libya's transitional leadership put all militias on the government payroll granting them all a degree of legitimacy and impunity.
The fighting in Tripoli started last month and has prompted diplomats, foreigners and Libyans to flee for the Tunisian border.
More than 230 people killed and nearly 1000 injured in the ongoing battles in Tripoli and Benghazi. Meanwhile Libya's newly elected parliament, dominated by non-Islamist independents, convened in far eastern city of Tobruk in defiance to calls by Islamists to hold opening session in Tripoli.

Libya Herald items......

Operation Dignity claims 70 Ansar supporters killed outside Benghazi

By Noura Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 7 August 2014:
Operation Dignity forces claim to have killed 70 members last night of Ansar Al-Sharia and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shoura Council who were trying to move toward the city’s Benina Airbase by a back road. They are said to have been killed in bombing raids on Magzaha, south east of the city.
Benina has been the main base for the Saiqa Special Forces since they were forced to withdraw from their Buatni headquarters nine days ago. Ansar and their allies are now targeting the airbase in an attempt to take it over and destroy Saiqa.
Air Force Brigadier-General Saqr Adam Geroushi, the commander of Operation Dignity’s air forces, confirmed to the Libya Herald that his planes last night had bombed Ansar forces in Magzaha as they were heading to Benina. He added that 17 other members of Ansar and the Revolutionaries Shoura Council, the umbrella body for Islamist forces in the city, had been captured and were being held by local people in Magzaha. The locals, he said, were gathering the bodies of the dead for burial.
Ansar were also reported to have taken some of its wounded to nearby Gemenis hospital which it reportedly now controls.
In Benghazi, Ansar have been tightening their grip on the Airport Road ahead of an expected assault on Benina. It has set up checkpoints on the road in addition to those in other areas in the city, including Buatni, Budaima, Hay Dollar, Hawari and Gwarsha, which it now effectively controls. Families living in the Hay Dollar have evacuated their homes in expectation of a fresh battle.
Meanwhile, the Red Crescent in Benghazi says that it has discovered another five bodies in Buatni and is now making a major search for others. The dead are presumed to have been killed in the shelling of the area by Ansar before Saiqa quit Buatni.

Nine million litres of petrol arrive at Tripoli Port

By Libya Herald staff.
London, 7 August 2014:
Nine million litres of petrol arrived in Tripoli by ship to address crippling fuel shortages that have paralysed the capital for a month.
The vessel, the Libyan-flagged Anwaar Libya, arrived in the capital at midday on Tuesday, according to marine trafficking information. It had left Misrata on Sunday.
Tripoli’s crisis committee has said that in the face of ongoing clashes in the vicinity of the airport road any further resupplying of petrol will have to be done by sea, the Libyan News Angency LANA reported.
Clashes on the airport and coastal roads that set ablaze one depot and blocked access to another have caused unprecedented fuel shortages in Tripoli which pushed the black-market into overdrive. Fuel is now being sold in excess of ten times its usual price. Many drivers are choosing to bear the cost instead of travelling as far away as Misrata for long waits at petrol stations.

Brega Depot fire under control – NOC

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 7 August 2014:
The NOC announced today that firefighters have been able to bring the fire under control in the four fuel tanks at the Brega Fuel Depot in Tripoli’s Airport Road. It further said that it expects that the small fires at the other four tanks would be completely put out by the end of the day.
The NOC went on to say that, if conditions remain the same and there is no further gunfire (by the warring militias) within the immediate vicinity of the gas and fuel tanks and firefighters are able to continue their work, it considered that the very dangerous stage it warned of previously would have been avoided.
It will be recalled that the NOC had warned of a possible catastrophe if the tanks holding gas were to explode – affecting an area of 6 km radius.
Nevertheless, the NOC warned that there will always be he danger as long as shells continue to fall intermittently and indiscriminately in the vicinity.
The NOC paid tribute to the Health and Safety and Firefighting personnel who had been taking part in controlling the fire at the Fuel Depot and especially their efforts to keep the gas tanks cool and avoid their explosion.

Brega’s Zawia depot to operate 24 hours, petrol tanker arrives in Tripoli – to alleviate crises

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 6 August 2014:
Tripoli Municipal Council has confirmed that the Libyan oil tanker Anwar Libya arrived at Tripoli port yesterday carrying more than 9 million litres of petrol. Preparations are being made to distribute its cargo to petrol stations across the capital, the council said.
It is hoped that the arrival of the tanker will help alleviate the petrol crises in the greater Tripoli area. The capital has not had any large supplies of fuel or cooking gas delivered since the fighting started three weeks ago between the two blocs of warring militias which led to the destruction of Brega’s fuel depot located on Airport Road.  The price of fuel has since rocketed.
It is worth noting that petrol can be found in Misrata, about three hours drive away, and in Zawia, about 45 minutes away. Both Misrata and Zawia have their own fuel depots, but do not have enough supply to satisfy the demand of Tripoli, Libya’s largest urban concentration.
Meanwhile, Brega’s Zawia depot has announced that it is making preparations to announce a “state of emergency” so as to be able operate on a 24-hour basis.
Operating around the clock would enable the plant to be at its maximum productive capacity, the statement explained so as to be able to supply consumers with fuel and propane cooking gas.
Based on this, the statement said that it anticipates that the current petrol, diesel and cooking gas crises would end “within a week”.
Tripoli Municipal Council’s Crisis Committee meanwhile has been discussing the various options to distribute new supplies of fuel. It is worth noting that most petrol stations are closed in Tripoli. Some of these have made the decision to close after suffering damage, coercion and personal attacks by unarmed and armed frustrated customers.
Others have shut down because they cannot operate whenever there is a power cut, which has been occurring regularly – and do not own a generator to operate the petrol pumps. However, there are some petrol station operators/owners that have been accused of closing down for no real good reason, and have been accused of being partisan and playing politics by closing down.
So as to circumvent the problem of closed petrol stations and all the crowding and problems around them, the Tripoli Council is looking at the possibility of a widespread distribution of mobile petrol trucks with a fuel pump and meter attached. It will also be looking to help those petrol stations wishing to open by helping provide electric generators to operate their pumps.
However, the biggest demand by petrol stations has been the provision of security for both their property and personnel from troublemakers and petrol racketeers.
There is also talk of Brega Marketing, the NOC arm concerned with fuel, oils and cooking gas distribution, taking legal action against petrol stations that are accused of sympathising with clashing militias. This could lead to the withdrawal by Brega Marketing of operating licences to petrol operators of leased petrol stations and to owners of private petrol stations and re-offering these stations to new operators.
There is also a plan to help repair existing petrol stations that have been intentionally or unintentionally damaged during current petrol crises, as well as hastening the licensing process of many new petrol stations awaiting the slow licencing process.
With regards to domestic propane gas, the plan is to work at filling gas cylinders on a 24-hour bases at the Zawia Brega plant.
There are also plans to import large quantities of gas cylinders and implement a policy of widespread sales of these cylinders – at official prices. Prior to the fighting in Tripoli, new cylinders could only be obtained from Brega at the official price of LD 40 through connections (wasta).
The black market price for buying new gas cylinders has been at above LD 100 for a few years now. After the fighting erupted the price of exchanging an existing empty gas cylinder for a full one reached as high as LD 150, instead of the normal LD 5.


Why I did not attend the first session of House of Rep Tobruk meeting – Abushagur

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 7 August 2014:
Former Deputy Prime Minister to Abdulraheem Al-Kib, Prime Minister designate and currently House of Representatives member for Sug Il Juma, with the largest majority in the country, Mustafa Abushagur, did not attend the first meetings of the House of Representatives in Tobruk on the 4 or 6 of August.
Critics have of course branded Abushagur as a member of the Islamist Brotherhood, an accusation he has regularly and vigorously denied. His decision not to join the 158 House of Representatives members in the Tobruk meeting has increased his critic's suspicion of . . .

House of Reps orders unconditional ceasefire in Tripoli and Benghazi

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 7 August 2014:
The House of Representatives has issued in its first resolution from Tobruk an order for an unconditional ceasefire by all the warring militias in both Tripoli and Benghazi, within 24 hours.
The resolution, passed by 131 members, says that the ceasefire would be monitored by the UN and that the House would take further action against any party that failed to obey the ceasefire.

Former Misrata Congressman calls for a new revolution in the city

By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 6 August 2014:
Hassan Al-Amin, one of the first members of the former General National Congress to resign over what he said were its political divisions and schemings, has called on young people in his home city of Misrata to carry out a “corrective revolution” there.
Making the call in the online Arabic newspaper Libya Al-Mostakbal, he declared that the move was needed to save the city from its current leaders who, he alleged, had abducted it and were dragging it towards disaster.
Misrata needed to mend fences with it neighbours and other paces in Libya, he said. He mentioned in particular that it should allow the people of Tawergha to return home – currently not a popular idea in Misrata.  In another pointed accusation, he claimed that the violations of human rights and suppression of dissent that existed under Qaddafi were happening there again today.
His call may fall on deaf ears.
Yesterday, there was a major demonstration in the city against the new parliament which is meeting in Tobruk and in support of Operation Libya Dawn in Tripoli which started just over three weeks ago.  Protestors claimed that Tripoli operation was itself a necessary correction to the 17 February Revolution in order to remove elements of the Qaddafi regime still in power.
Misrata is also the only place in Libya that has set its face totally against the new parliament. All of its elected members are refusing to go to Tobruk.
Meanwhile yesterday, the new municipal council took over the running of the city from the old local council.  At the handover ceremony, the old council was thanked for the work it had done by Misrata’s new mayor, Mohamed Ishtewi. He pledged that he and the new councillors would do their best to serve the city.

Abu Sahmain and Grand Mufti claim new parliament is illegal

By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 5 August 2014:
The president of the former General National Congress Nuri Abu Sahmain and the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani have said that the new House of Representatives, elected in June and which held its inaugural meeting yesterday in Tobruk, is unconstitutional.
Sahmain maintains that because there was no formal Tripoli handover by the GNC  to the new legislature, it is not therefore legally constituted.
The Grand Mufti also weighed in against the new parliament, congratulating the 30 members who did not attend its first meeting.
He called the new assembly as a coup against democracy, a move that was void and lacked legitimacy and was contrary to the constitution.
Ghariani delivered his views in a phone call from London where he has been for nearly three months apparently for medical treatment. Speaking to a TV reporter he also said that those members of the Misrata-led Operation Libya Dawn forces who died  in the battle for Tripoli would go to heaven while those who opposed them would burn in hell.
The political department of the Justice and Construction Party has likewise said in a statement that because it had not received power at a ceremony organised to occur yesterday in the capital, the House of Representatives did not have the authority to operate.
As it was, the last meeting of the GNC, at which the handover was due to be made, never really took place. Arranged only on Sunday evening, no more than 30 members of the new parliament turned up along with some other 70 guests. However Sahmain did not appear and the formal ceremony was abandoned.
Another senior voice  joined the protest today against the new parliament when Abdurrahman Sewehli, who is one of Misrata’s newly-elected Representatives, also declared the House of Representatives a coup against democracy. Sewehli floated the possibility that the legitimacy of the new body could be challenged in the Constitutional Court.
With the legitimacy of the new House internationally and nationally accepted, the arguments advanced by Abu Sahmain and Ghariani are not seen as carrying much weight in the country and may well undermine their own credibility.
The House’s legitimacy was further strengthened this evening when four more members arrived in Tobruk, leaving the rump of 26 in Tripoli powerless and looking increasingly irrelevant.
Of the four who flew to Tobruk the most important was the former Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur (Suq Al-Juma).  The others were Salem Ignan (Nalut), Ali Al-Tikali (Ain Zara), and Salah Zibaik (Gharyan).

Parliament elects deputy presidents

By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 5 August 2014:
The new House of Representatives, in its second business session meeting held today in Tobruk’s Dar Es Salaam Hotel, elected Imhemed Shaib from Zawia as its First Deputy Vice President and in a second session this evening Ahmed Huma as its Second Deputy President.
Shaib won 88 votes in a runoff contest with Ali Al-Qaedi from Wadi Shatti.  Huma, from Timsa, won 102 votes in a runoff with Mohamed Leynu from Murzuk.
Yesterday, the House elected Ageela Salah Issa Gwaider as its President.