Western — 11 July 2016

Jul 11, 2016 | International actors

On 8 July, a widely publicized leak shed light on active Western military support for Khalifa Haftar and the LNA. Air traffic recordings, reportedly obtained from inside the LNA’s Benina Air Force Base suggest that Haftar is receiving support from French, British and US forces, despite his opposition to the UN-Mediated and Internationally supported Government of National Accord (GNA). The tapes feature pilots and air traffic controllers speaking in Arabic and English, with separate British, American, French and Italian accents being heard.

The leak has caused disarray in the GNA camp, especially within the ranks of Islamists.  This new information is seen as evidence of a Western betrayal of the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement that produced the GNA. This development is likely to fuel further suspicion within the GNA’s coalition, and could possibly facilitate some reunions between Misratans and Islamist hardliners .  Their alliance was previously split during the political dialogue, in favor of rapprochement between ‘moderate’ Misratan forces with those of the eastern Federalists.

Speaking at a House of Lords Committee hearing on 7 July, Britain’s Ambassador to Libya Peter Millett said that he that he had visited Tripoli five times since the arrival of the GNA, and that he had stayed overnight on his last visit. He said that the British Embassy’s presence was currently only in Tripoli, and that one or two British Embassy representatives would be in Tripoli “every week” from now on.  Millet did not provide a date for the formal reopening of the embassy.  On ISIS, Millett said there has been “rapid progress” that has forced ISIS into a “very small area of Sirte.”  He said it was not clear if the lower numbers of ISIS in Sirte were because ISIS had “dispersed” within Libya during the battle, and noted that if this was the case, ISIS in Libya would now “pose a different type of threat,” implying ISIS is returning to its roots as an insurgent rather than a state builder.