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The different face of conflict in Benghazi


By: Senussi Bsaikri*

Part of what I had formerly discussed regarding adopting the

Senussi Bsaikri
Senussi Bsaikri

federalist system in 2012, is that it would have a negative effect in the light of the current political and social environment in Cyrenaica province. It will create competition and maybe even conflict over power in Libya between cities and tribes, and judge by what we are witnessing today from struggles fueled by tribal issues, these negative effects, which we have pointed out many times before are clear for everyone to see.

The statement of one of the figures of Al-Awageer tribe is an affirmation of what was previously mentioned, he clearly stated that Al-Magharba tribe have been affected by the oil situation, pointing out that Ibrahim Jadhran and his men are in possession of various oil fields near the Magharba area, and that Al-Bra’asa tribe have control over government as well as Al-Obeidat tribe who are in control of the House of Representatives (HoR), leaving his tribe with nothing but death, especially with the ongoing situation in Benghazi. These statements are a reflection of how some of his clan members feel.

Trustworthy sources mentioned on “Facebook”, that another Al-Awageer personality spoke out on a different occasion, expressing that his tribe has been used and taken advantage of by other tribes, starting from the Ottoman period, to King Idris all the way to Gaddafi time, and here they are again about to fall into the same trap. Maybe what he intends by his speech, is of his tribe to be vigilant of the retired General Khalifa Haftar. Actions and statements from Mahdi Al-Barghathi and Faraj Egeim support this theory.

What could be understood from the recent developments and dangerous accusations, is that the dispute is not over being neglected and overlooked. The assassination which Egeim discussed didn’t occur in the past few days or a couple of months ago, and many of the tribes are aware of them. However, they have never been a point of dispute. The real dispute is over power and influence in Benghazi; Al-Awageer wishes to be acknowledged as a stern independent military authority without any opposition, an authority which Haftar is firmly against and considers it a great danger to his operation, an operation that is built on a military foundation, disregarding any tribal or regional political influence.

A number of Al-Awageer’s respected figures and elders have pledged their allegiance to Haftar, which reflects an inner conflict within the tribe. Some are very cautious and afraid to fight against Haftar due to the repercussions and fears of such actions; they do not want the Benghazi conflict to turn into Al-Awageer conflict, and will eventually find themselves to be under threat from several Cyrenaica tribes who have made it clear which side they are on.

Divisions and separations are expected and have been discussed before the Operation Dignity was underway, it is an indication of a different kind of conflict, one which if not contained could aggravate the situation in Benghazi. Reorganizing priorities and loyalties might seem like the solution to this ordeal, but it is not, the dispute as I have mentioned before is regarding power and influence between Benghazi’s tribes. Therefore, the real solution is not through tribalism that will only lead to more chaos, but through reconciliation and developing a clear and specific strategy for the city’s future.

*A Libyan Writer

Translated By LIBYAPROSPECT: Source