Other — 15 March 2016

Mar 15, 2016 | Other Jihadi Actors

Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) continues to publish videos, including UAV video footage of 120mm mortar fire on the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the Hawari area of southern Benghazi, and a sniper using a .50-caliber rifle to target LNA soldiers.

The Benghazi-based coalition of jihadists is showing increasing signs of breakdown. Recently, the coalition had mutually agreed to drop ‘political’ labels and affiliations that divided them in order to encourage unity and to boost morale. The Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC) term ‘revolutionaries’, and the ISIS term ‘caliphate soldiers’ were abandoned in favour of a single term: ‘Benghazi Mujahedeen’. However, following recent losses at the hands of the LNA, a BRSC commander appealed to ‘revolutionaries’ in Libya in a video released on 10 March. This action has reportedly reignited tensions within the coalition.

Hostility within the coalition peaked in January 2016 after ISIS labeled Libya Dawn affiliates in Tripoli ‘apostates’, calling into question AAS and BRSC loyalties to the radical Islamist cause. Since the recent ISIS incursion into Sabratha, and the revelation of the ISIS-BRSC alliance in Benghazi, the western region has become increasingly disenchanted with hardline Libya Dawn militias affiliated with Islamist leaders in Tripoli. This includes pillars of the Libya Dawn alliance such as Misrata militias and the Berbers of Nafusa.