27 Sept – 4 Oct: US strikes ISIS again; first LPA amendments agreed

Oct 4, 2017 | International actors

On 26 September, US Africa Command (Africom) conducted ‘two precision airstrikes’ against ISIS fighters some 160 kilometres southeast of Sirte, killing an unspecified number of ISIS fighters. In a press release, Africom said the attacks were carried out in coordination with the Government of National Accord (GNA). This is the second round of airstrikes this month, following six strikes by unmanned drones in a similar area on 22 September, which reportedly killed 17 ISIS fighters.

On 30 September, the Joint Drafting Committee declared it had reached the first set of agreements on amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) after several days of meetings in Tunis last week. The Joint Drafting Committee was set up by UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, as part of his new Libya roadmap. It comprises the dialogue committees of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the High Council of State (HCS).

They have agreed in principle to reduce the Presidential Council (PC) from nine members to three, with the prime minister being a separate appointment (currently the president of the PC is also the prime minister of the government). Abdualslam Nasia, head of the HoR’s dialogue committee, stressed that no names had been discussed for these positions, only the mechanisms by which they would be nominated. The two delegations will now discuss the amendments with their respective bodies. When the drafting committee reconvenes, they hope to agree on more contentious amendments.

On 26 September, Khalifa Haftar visited Italy where he was received with full military honours. He met with the with Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, Interior Minister Marco Minniti, Chief of Defence General Claudio Graziano and the head of intelligence.

In an interview with Italian national daily Corriere della Sera published on 29 September, Haftar said that the visit signalled a new chapter in his relationship with Italy and that they shared similar priorities on migration and terrorism. He said that his Libyan National Army (LNA) forces could help prevent migrants crossing Libya’s southern borders, provided he is given the military equipment necessary. He called once more for the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargo against Libya. He added that force must remain an option for imposing order in the country.

On 28 September, Haftar then travelled to France where he had meetings with officials from Jean-Yves Le Drian’s foreign ministry. Local sources say that other militia leaders from Tripoli were also secretly in France to meet with Haftar.