13-19 September: Ghariani and Ghwell side with Igtet over anti-GNA protests planned for 25 September

Sep 20, 2017 | Other Jihadi Actors

The demonstrations planned by presidential hopeful Basit Igtet in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square on September 25, come in a context of increased tensions in the capital city. Islamist ‘hardliners’ have been quick to back Igtet, including the Grand Mufti Sadeq al-Ghariani and Khalifa al-Ghwell, prime minister of the defunct General National Congress (GNC). Ghariani threw his support behind Igtet on 15 September; the next day Ghwell announced that he will hand over ‘power’ to the Swiss magnate.

The commander of the powerful GNA-aligned Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB) Haithem Tajouri along with Hashem Bishr, the GNA’s security consultant and TRB power broker, both denounced the planned demonstrations. On 17 September, the two labeled the protest as a destabilization attempt designed to empower ‘spoiler’ factions which had previously been stamped out. They threatened to suppress the protest and framed it as an attempt to retake control of Tripoli and spoil rapprochement attempts with Haftar in the east of the country. Igtet published a handwritten note on his Facebook page on 18 September, challenging the Tripoli security actors and promising to continue on with the demonstration.