Other — 15 August 2016

Aug 15, 2016 | Other Jihadi Actors

In Tripoli, local pro-GNA militias are recoiling at the perceived rise in Islamist and Misratan power.  This tension signals imminent conflict in the capital, and potentially the collapse of the GNA’s political arrangements in western Libya. On 14 August, posters appeared in Tripoli denouncing Grand Mufti Sadeq Al-Ghariyani and the Muslim Brotherhood.  The situation escalated after the Grand Mufti criticized the pro-GNA militias for cracking down on jihadists in the capital linked to ISIS. Further complicating things, the head of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood admitted in a television interview that the group was attempting to mount a new offensive against the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Benghazi by using the GNA as ‘legitimate’ international cover. This was a reference to the actions of the controversial Benghazi Defense Brigade, which was repelled by the LNA two weeks ago, and defined as terrorist force by the GNA defense minister.

In Derna, a new agreement was reportedly signed on 13 August by local residents, members of the municipal council and the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) in an effort to circumvent wider conflict and transition power to neutral actors. However, prospects for this agreement look as slim as previous attempts throughout the previous two months, which achieved a temporary ceasefire, but no lasting agreement.  On the same day, LNA aircraft conducted more airstrikes on DMSC positions in Al Dahr Al Hamar, south of Derna. Meanwhile, on 14 August, members of the DMSC announced their full support for Grand Mufti Ghariyani, eroding more confidence in the group’s agreement with other local factions.

Benghazi witnessed a lull in fighting last week as the LNA reorganized its forces and consolidating its control, however clashes with ISIS and Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council militants continue to take place intermittently in Benghazi’s central districts near the port.