Other – 1 September 2014

Sep 1, 2014 | Other Jihadi Actors

Operation Libya Dawn forces have announced the creation of a Greater Tripoli Revolutionaries Shura Council which is clearly meant to serve as a counterpart to the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, the umbrella group for Islamist militants fighting against Haftar in Benghazi.

Misratan forces who are part of Operation Libya Dawn and who are still insisting that they are part of the legitimate state were initially reluctant to sanction the creation of this council. This is presumably because they feared it would be taken as evidence that like the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council they were hostile to the formal political process. Indeed, the Misratans have been clear that they still support the handover of power from the Congress to the HoR, but only providing it is done under their supervision and control and providing elements linked to the former regime are expelled.

Despite these difference of opinion between the Misratans and their Islamist allies, the Misratans have since come round and Operation Libya Dawn announced this week that the Greater Tripoli Revolutionaries Shura Council is “the only legitimate representative of the revolutionaries in Tripoli.”

So far this new council is being circumspect about its intentions, employing a discourse that claims to be against terrorism and that supports the rule of law. However, it is likely that this is a veneer and that the Islamist brigades have been only moderately reined in by the Misratans. The creation of a Sebha Revolutionaries Shura Council this week, which stated that its aim was to establish the rule of Allah and his Prophet, certainly suggests what the real intentions of the new Tripoli council are — establishing Islamic governance which is to be expanded to all of Libya.

The officially defunct General National Congress (GNC) is still insisting that it is Libya’s only legitimate legislative power and has been pressing ahead with its efforts to establish a parallel ruling structure to the House of Representatives (HoR). In its first reconvened session on 25 August that was reportedly attended by just 45 members, it voted to appoint Omar Al-Hassi as Prime Minister. Al-Hassi is a hard line Islamist and the former head of the Integrity Commission, the first body that was set up to weed out those with links to the former regime.