The battle to liberate Sirte from IS was long seen by supporters of the UN deal as the national unity project gelling the rival actors into an internationally supported, locally led anti-ISIS coalition.
However current realities appear to paint a different picture. Over the last week, political divisions are shaping the battle as a competitive rather than a cooperative effort, between the (increasingly perceived as illegitimate) UN mediated Presidency Council (and its affiliated (mainly) Misratan militias) on the one hand, and the Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA) on the other. These dynamics described below are shaping (or misshaping) the anti-ISIS coalition as follows:
1- Clashes between rivals dash hopes for a unified command
2- PC attempts to unify rivals undermined by strong-arming and empty lip-service
3- LNA snubs PC, continues unilateral mobilisation of the ‘Battle for Greater Sirte’
4- LNA moves against Ibrahim Jadhran in Libya’s Oil Crescent
5- LNA actions in Derna and extrajudicial measures fuel tensions with local allies in Eastern Libya