Sunday, August 24, 2014

Libya Updates ( August 24 , 2014 ) -- Basically , we have two competing Governments .......Unidentified jets attack targets in Tripoli Airstrikes on Libyan capital come after rebels seize main airport from rivals while Egypt denies taking part in attacks....... Libya airport takeover widens political split Armed fighters have backed the return of Libya's previous parliament, as the country's political crisis deepens......... Additional items of note !

US Furious After Source Of "Mystery" Libya Bombing Raids Revealed

Tyler Durden's picture

Over the past week a new geopolitical mystery emerged: an "unknown" party was launching airstrikes against Libya, which is already reeling in its latest political crisis where headlines such as this have become the norm:
The strikes puzzled all media outlets, including Reuters which just over the weekend reported that "Unidentified war planes attacked positions of an armed faction in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Saturday, residents and local media said. Local channel al-Nabaa said the planes had attacked four positions of the Operation Dawn, an umbrella of Islamist-leaning forces from Misrata which has been trying to expel brigades from Zintan, also located in western Libya." This follows a similar report when on Monday, the government said unknown fighter jets had bombed positions from armed factions in Tripoli, an attack claimed by a renegade general in Benghazi.
Turns out the renegade general was lying, and merely trying to take credit for another party's intervention. That party, or rather, parties has been revealed as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which as the NYT reports, "have secretly teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation between the supporters and opponents of political Islam."
But what is surprising is not the intervention: after all, hardly a day passes now when there isn't some small to medium political invasion taking place somewhere, in a world in which newsflow no longer affects anything. It is that both countries decided to roundly ignore advising the one country which previously had made it quite clear it has explicit national interests in Libya: the United States.
The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines.
It gets worse: Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to American diplomats, the officials said. It is almost as if the theme of ignoring and/or mocking US superpower status exhibited mostrecently by both China and Russia, is gradually spreading to even the more "banana" republics around the world. Because while one can debate the pros and cons of any previous administration, it is very much improbably that any regime, especially ones as close to the US as the UAE, and to a lesser extent Egypt, would have conducted such military missions without pre-clearing with the Pentagon first.
So now that the "mysterious" owners of the punitive bombing raids has been revealed, the next question is: why? The answer is simple - to keep Islamists in check. And since the US can no longer be relied on to do the bidding of formerly key petrodollar allies, the UAE decided to take the law into its own hands.
The strikes are another high-risk and destabilizing salvo unleashed in a struggle for power that has broken out across the region in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolts, pitting old-line Arab autocrats against Islamists. Since the military ouster of the Islamist president in Egypt one year ago, the new Egyptian government, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc exerting influence in countries around the region to rollback what they see as a competing threat from Islamists.Arrayed against them are the Islamist movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, backed by friendly governments in Turkey and Qatar, that sprang forward amid the Arab spring revolts.

Tweets .....

Arab strikes in Libya show impatience with US (from )

, accused of airstrikes in by US officials:

BREAKING| Militants that captured 's International Airport in Tripoli have set it on fire:

's Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies that Egypt's Air-force has struck targets in .

Libya airport takeover widens political split

Armed fighters have backed the return of Libya's previous parliament, as the country's political crisis deepens.

Last updated: 24 Aug 2014 10:45

Islamist-led fighters captured Tripoli airport after clashes between rival Libyan armed groups [Reuters]

Tripoli, Libya - Islamist-led armed groups have announced the reinstatement of Libya's previous parliament after taking control of the international airport in Tripoli, effectively splitting Libya's polarised political system into two separate bodies.

The General National Congress (GNC) - the predecessor to Libya's newly-elected House of Representatives - announced in a televised statement that it would retake control of parliament and assume its duties as of Sunday.

The elected parliament, meanwhile, designated several Islamist armed groups, the Libya Dawn forces - an alliance of Islamist-led militias from Misrata and Tripoli - Ansar al-Sharia, and the Benghazi Shura Council, as "terrorist organisations".

Based in the city of Tobruk, in Libya's northeast, the parliament said that it supported the Libyan national army in its fight against the armed groups.

The deepened political split came after forces from Libya Dawn, under the command of GNC member Salah Badi, from the port city of Misrata, took control of Tripoli's international airport on Saturday.

The airport had been under the control of anti-Islamist fighters from the town of Zintan, southwest of the capital, since the fall of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Zintan force is allied with renegade general Khalifa Haftar.

Tripoli's airport road has also been the site of five weeks of fighting between the rival armed groups, and is now under Libya Dawn's control.

"The airport is a strategic asset and gives great power, leverage, and control over Tripoli and the western region," said Sami Zaptia, a journalist in Tripoli. The airport, he said, "enables the entry of arms and personnel" without official state controls.

The GNC will host its first session on Sunday in Tripoli, while the House of Representatives will meet in Tobruk. "The governor of the Central Bank of Libya is key; who does he recognise as legitimate?" Zaptia asked.

According to Hafed al-Ghwell, a Tripoli-based analyst, the GNC will likely struggle to garner legitimacy. "The GNC is no longer really recognised as the legitimate voice of Libya after the last elections, which were supported by the international community, including the UN, Arab League, [and] the African Union," he said.

"Without official local and international recognition, I don’t think they will be able to utilise the airport effectively," Ghwell added.

The capture of the airport came after unidentified military aircraft bombed bases under the control of Misrata armed groups, resulting in a major setback.

The latter of the two raids took place in the early hours of Saturday, and killed 10 fighters in an munitions bunker in addition to two sons of the head of Misrata's military council, according to members of the council.

Libya Dawn has accused the United Arab Emirates and Egypt of involvement in the Friday night air raid, a charge that Egypt denied on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Misrata's Libya Shield - the largest single armed group in Libya - also reportedly attacked the Tripoli bases of Zintan's two main militias, Qaqaa and as-Sawaik, but has not seized control, according to Misrata military council member, Anwar Suwan.

Unidentified jets attack targets in Tripoli

Airstrikes on Libyan capital come after rebels seize main airport from rivals while Egypt denies taking part in attacks.

Last updated: 24 Aug 2014 11:23
Unidentified war planes have attacked targets in Libyan capital hours after fighters from the city of Misrata said they had seized the main airport.

Reuters news agency reported that Tripoli residents heard jets followed by explosions at dawn but no more details were immediately available.

Meanwhile, Egypt has denied taking any part in airstrikes on Libyan fighter positions in Tripoli after an armed group accused the country's involvement in the recent attacks.

"Egypt categorically denies press reports that Egyptian warplanes bombarded positions held by armed Islamist militias in the Libyan capital," a foreign ministry said in a statement.

Libyan fighters have charged that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were behind a raid around Tripoli airport on Friday night that reportedly killed 13 people.

Libya Herald.....

Assema TV studios attacked, again

By Sami Zaptia.
Al-Assema TV studios in Tripoli were ransacked again allegedly by Islamist militias (Photo: Al-Assema TV).
The Al-Assema TV studios in Tripoli were ransacked again allegedly by Islamist militias (Photo: Al-Assema TV).
Tripoli, 25 August 2014:
The studios of the privately owned Al-Assema TV station in the Gurji Road in west Tripoli were attacked and ransacked yesterday for the fourth time since the channel was founded in 2011.
The station, which has been a supporter of the political positions taken by the National Forces Alliance during the era of the GNC and now supports the House of Representatives (HoR), has accused the pro-Islamist bloc of responsibility for all of the attacks on it.
The latest attack  comes as part of a continuing and wider battle by the opposing political streams in Libya to control the media and the flow of information.
Last week, the Libyan government requested that the Cairo based Nilesat authority terminate the broadcasts of its two state-owned Al-Rasmiya and Al-Wataniya channels which had been forcibly taken over by Islamist militias.
The channels had adopted an anti-HoR position and had refrained from broadcasting the opening session of the HoR or any of its sessions. The channels also started supporting the Libya Dawn operation in Tripoli and opposed the Dignity Operation in eastern Libya.
Almost immediately after Nilesat stopped rebroadcasting both stations, a missile was launched at  the Al-Assema studios. Yesterday’s attack was far more devastating.
Unconfirmed reports Sunday said that the house of the owner of Al-Assema TV, Juma Al-Usta, was also ransacked.

Libya Dawn accuses Egypt and the UAE of Tripoli airstrikes

By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 24 August 2014:
Egypt and the Emirates were responsible for bombings on Islamist positions in Tripoli the Misratan-led Operation Libya Dawn has claimed.
Libya Dawn said the airstrikes, carried out both yesterday and on Monday, were orchestrated by the two nations. It called for Libya’s international partners, including the UN and the Arab League, to begin legal proceedings against Egypt and the UAE for violating Libyan sovereignty.
The operation also accused the House of Representatives for colluding with the foreign countries, reiterating its claim that the Tobruk-based legislature had no legitimacy.
Fifteen people were killed and 30 wounded in yesterday’s attack.
Egypt has firmly denied any involvement in the raids.  “There are no Egyptian troops or planes in Libya and no Egyptian military action ion Libyan territory”, Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi said this afternoon. Earlier the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called the reports of Egyptian action “baseless allegations”.
The Egyptians, along with the Algerians, had already denied responsibility for Monday’s raid, as had the Italians, British, French and Americans. It is the first time that the Emirates have been implicated in the bombings.
A member of the Misratan Military Council claimed yesterday that the Egyptian Air Force had carried out the Airport Road attack, claiming that a plane was spotted on the radar accompanied by an air fuel tanker.
In a statement last week the leader of the armed forces, Major General Abdussalam Obeidi, said no Libyan-based force had the technology or the capacity to carry out attacks of the type mounted in the past seven days.
Obeidi said the missiles used, one of which is said to have been identified as a US made Mark 83 general purpose bomb, could only have been dropped using in-flight targeting technology, unavailable to the Libyan air force. He added that the weapons had been used with extreme precision.

New Chief of Staff appointed by parliament but Obeidi refuses to go

By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 24 August 2014:
The House of Representatives today appointed new Chief of Staff. Colonel Abdul Razzaq Nazuri replaces Major-General Abdussalam Jadallah Obeidi who was summonsed for questioning by HoR members last week over allegations that he had backed Operation Libya Dawn in the capital . . .

Zintan “ordered” to withdraw from Tripoli by HoR

By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 24 August 2014:
It is being claimed that Zintani forces withdrew from Tripoli International airport and other bases that they held in Tripoli on specific orders from the House of Representatives meeting in Tobruk . . .

Tajoura mayor resigns; opposition to Tripoli clashes believed to be prime reason

By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 24 August 2014:
The mayor of the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura has become the first of Libya’s new municipal council leaders to resign. Hussein Al-Zaroog submitted his resignation both as mayor and as a member of the seven-member council municipal council on Wednesday but it has not yet been accepted either by the rest of the council or the Ministry of Local Government.
In his letter of resignation, he said that since being elected three months ago, he found that he was not up to the job and for that reason, and personal reasons, he was resigning.
The Libya Herald has been told, however, that he was deeply unhappy with the conflict in Tripoli which has involved some forces from Tajoura, and did not wish to be associated with it.
According to the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections, there is no established process as yet for dealing with resignations, either of mayors or council members.  It is not known, therefore, if there will be a by-election to replace Zaroog or if he will be replaced by the man who came sixth in the general list of candidates, Ramadan Gabgub.
The latter process, rather than by-elections, was used to replace members of the General National Congress who resigned during its term of office, even though it meant that some people became members who had won very few votes and had little public support.

Militias cannot dictate to Libyan people, debate is solution – Thinni

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 24 August 2014:
Caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni said that it was an "illusion" if one group thought that one political stream can rule Libya.
Speaking yesterday from Tobruk on Al-Assema TV's The Parliament programme, Thinni said that this is "illusory". No one view could impose itself on Libya. This would be back to Qaddafi and back to dictatorship, he explained.
With regards to whether the government has control over the Mitiga civilian airport . . .

Water supply to Tripoli cut, yet again

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 24 August 2014:
Residents in Tripoli woke up yesterday to find that their water supply has been cut yet again – the third in as many years.
The Ministry of Water Resources reported yesterday that the water cut was due to power cuts on Friday at the water wells of the Man-made River in the Hassauna area.
The Ministry said that work was being undertaken to return water supplies, which should start to return to Tripoli on Sunday.

Brand-new turbine breaks down at Sirte’s power station

By Libya Herald staff.
Sirte's Gulf Power Station, still a work in progress
Sirte's Gulf Power Station, still a work in progress
Tripoli, 23 August 2014:
The commissioning of Sirte’s Gulf Power Station was dealt a further blow today as the plant’s first new turbine broke down . . .

Operation Dignity denies loss of Benina and Air Defence base

By Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 23 August 2014:
Rumours circulating in Benghazi that Ansar Al-Sharia and its allies have taken control of Benina Airport and a nearby Air Defence Forces’ camp have been denied.
Head of Saiqa Special Forces Investigations Unit Fadel Al-Hassi told the Libya Herald that members of Operation Dignity remained in defensive positions in both locations and had retained them despite heavy fighting nearby.
Hassi said at least four members of Operation Dignity had been killed during clashes today and said he believed Ansar Al-Sharia had also sustained casualties.
Fighting has been reported in Benghazi in the Islamist held districts of Sidi Faraj, Guwarsha and Hawari but with, as has become usual in recent weeks, the worst of the fighting taking place in Buatni and on the approach to Benina Airport.
Hassi said that, away from the fighting,  Dignity forces were still the subject of assassinations. He said that today Saiqa Special Forces officer Misbah Al-Maghrebi had been shot and killed by unknown assailants in the city.

BREAKING NEWS: Dawn takes control of Tripoli airport

By Libya Herald Reporters.
Tripoli, 23 August 2014:
There are reliable reports that late this afternoon Dawn militias succeeded in wresting control of Tripoli International Airport from Zintani forces. Fires are burning in what remains of some of the buildings and already damaged aircraft.
The Red Crescent is saying that there have been heavy casualties on both sides. The fighting is continuing beyond the airport.