Libya’s rival factions dig in for long conflict


Cairo/Benghazi, Libya(Reuters)-Libyan fighters ready for long-term conflict, as foreign arms flood, the Eastern factions near the oil port and the rival Union, the quarrel over the income from Africa’s largest oil reserves.

Security forces guard during the celebration of the 9th anniversary of the revolution against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Martyrs Square in Tripoli, Libya on 17 December 2020. Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

The move signals deepening of hostility in a war may exacerbate regional instability and expansion of the flow of migrants from the Middle East and Africa almost ten years after Muammar Gaddafi’s fall in 2011.

From his Villa in Eastern Libya, tribal leaders Sanoussi al-Zwai see more trouble before the huge country, for many years disputed by two rival authorities in the East and the West.

He is an ally of the commander Khalifa Haftar and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army(LNA)has also supported Egypt, the United Arab Emirates(UAE), Jordan and the Russian mercenaries as it tries to capture the capital Tripoli.

Zwai tribe back to the oil port blockade, a boycott of the appeal to the United States and the United Nations to restart the flow, Libya was an important source of income, which is controlled by Haftar’s enemies, the internationally recognized government of national agreement(Global Needs Assessment).

Zwai price to unlock the port is to the global needs assessment the basis of 1000 km(620 miles)in Tripoli, the more income for others. If the global needs assessment to resist, he suggests that there may be worse.

“We are not happy with what is happening now, but we have methods to improve if the international community does not listen to us,”said Zwai, the leadership of a tribe living in the vicinity of the Eastern oil facilities.

“There will be a major upgrade. We have other things(means)the use of time. If it comes to it, the whole world knows what the upgrade is,”he told Reuters in the main Eastern city of Benghazi, without saying what any of the upgrade will involve.

Racing re-armed

The confrontation of oil just a few of the factors that may be extended almost a year-long conflict in the capital, where the global needs assessment last month of a fixed military support for Turkey, including the Turkish support for combatants from Syria.

Combatants are racing to re-armed, to receive the goods before and after the foreign supporters agreed to a ceasefire at the summit in Germany in January. The inflow of advanced artillery and combatants and advisers to a violation of the pledges made in Berlin to respect the arms embargo, diplomats say.

On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council called for a ceasefire, but Russia, Haftar’s supporters abstained from voting. Diplomats took this as a sign that Moscow is perhaps not committed to a United Nations-led political mediation.

Haftar’s troops and their foreign supporters to stop the fighter attacks of the funds. But Western diplomats and experts say, this is not due to a real desire for peace, but because of the better air defense system provided by Turkey.

Until the Turkish intervention in Tripoli, officials have started to panic that they might lose the capital, the diplomats said.

On the contrary, the Syrian fighter plane sent by Turkey have been helping to reverse the small LNA gains, the recovery of the first line roughly where they were settled, just after the LNA the attack began in April 2019.

Estimated from diplomat in Turkey about the number of Syrian fighters vary from 1,500 to 3 000 people, while the number of Turkish troops is considered in between 200 to 500, including special forces, conventional forces, and unmanned aircraft operators.

“Both sides are preparing for the next battle,”the Western diplomat.

Diplomatic duplicate of the founder in mutual suspicion.

“Every time we have any kind of Protocol, we always see the same pattern,”says Taher el-Sonni, the global needs assessment mission to the United Nations”this is more like to gain time, and then(Haftar decision)only the use of force.”

Turkey has been sending heavy trucks through the sea, and the Emirates fly 89 transport a total of 4,680 metric tons between Jan 12 to May 16, according to flight data, tracking and security of sources. The UAE also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Control of oil wealth

New op big guns have been making their presence felt, as the shelling from long-range artillery attributed to the LNA attacks on the city centre for the first time this week.

Away from the fighting in Tripoli, which has displaced at least 150 000 people, the conflict has been transferred to the control of the oil wealth. Forces allied to Haftar have to keep ports closed for a month, resulting in losses of some 14 billion dollars.

Blockade of the echoes of the complaints of neglect back to Gaddafi, he punished the East of the objection, in his long rule.

National Oil Company(NOC), which says it is neutral, the process with the conflicting parties, accusing the LNA is directly ordered to close.

Pressure from international powers and the United Nations have so far failed to convince Haftar re-open the border crossing and the southern El Sharara oilfield, Libya’s largest. The senior commander has even won some new awareness, from the Western countries, the oil revenues need to equitable distribution.

A senior U.S. diplomat said, it is important that oil revenues the distribution of the same things that he said should be discussed at the United Nations leadership within Libya, the economic part of the negotiations to mediation to overcome differences.

Both discloses how much to spend in the conflict.

Libyan people celebrate the 9 anniversary of the revolution in Martyrs ‘ Square in Tripoli, Libya on 17 December 2020. Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Diplomats said that the Tripoli government is less dependent on oil than before, as the budget of a third is covering the cost, which is levied on all private transactions involving hard currency. Some Syrian fighter jets sent by Turkey is directly paid by the Tripoli, diplomats say.

A deadlock is a concern. On Friday, Haftar hopes of a ceasefire agreement, saying there will be no peace until the”militia”held in Tripoli, had been defeated. For its part, Tripoli require LNA to pull back to 1000 km(620 miles)to the East, something Haftar denied.

“We do not expect to reach a ceasefire, unless those forces(LNA)to go back where they came from, said:”the global needs assessment, the Minister of the interior Fathi Bashagha.

Additional reporting by Dominic Evans; Writing by Ulf Laessing, Editing by William Maclean

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