LIBYAPROSPECT – Heba Mahmoud
The situation inside the capital Tripoli is heading to further escalation, especially after the announcement made by the head of the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, that he is not going to wait much longer. And he will soon stop what he described “the nonsense of the Salvation Government” that headed by Khalifa Al-Guwel, in the wake of military movements and political statements that push towards more aggravation.
A report by Al-Araby Al-Jaded website (translated here by LIBYAPROSPECT) pointed to a state of uncertainty surrounding the fate of Tripoli, that hosts two governments, in the last two weeks each denies the legitimacy of the other.
Al-Sarraj said, in a televised interview, that “till now we leave it to the wise, to peacefully solve the matter, but at a certain moment there could be confrontations to end this tampering,” about the possibility of a military intervention to evacuate the headquarters. Al-Sarraj statements implied, for the first time, a reference to a relation between the General Khalifa Haftar and Al-Guwel’s presence inside Tripoli. He surprisingly asked “how will Al-Guwel form a unity government along with Abdulla Al-Thinny after two years of war and incitement,” adding that “I wonder how yesterday’s enemies turned to close friends.”
The report mentioned the storming of the State Council headquarters, on 14th October, with the help of members of the Presidential Security. The head of the Interim Government, Abdulla Al-Thinny, called for the formation of a new national government based on the Libyan – Libyan dialogue, parallel to the United Nations-backed political talks that produced Skhirat agreement last December.
Al-Guwel’s call hadn’t waited for long, Al-Thinny immediately welcomed the notion, announcing he is “waiting for the approval of the House of Representatives (HoR) to form working committees. At the same time, the spokesperson of Al-Thinny’s government, Abdul-Hakim Matoq, said that “the PC failure to lead the country forced them to consider Al-Guwel’s call.”
The report added that there wasn’t any official statement coming out from the HoR, until its president, Aqeela Saleh, announced, in a ceremony to honor Magharba tribe sheik, Saleh Lataiwesh, the new ally who enabled Haftar to control the Oil Crescent region, that the HoR won’t grant confidence to any government. And that talks are being held to consider the possibility of forming a national cabinet without Al-Sarraj”, which is a stark reflection on a covert movement to decide on Al-Guwel’s call.
Besides, the current calm dominating fighting axis in Benghazi between Haftar forces, affiliated to the HoR, and Benghazi Shura Council forces, affiliated to the General National Congress (GNC), might be affected by Al-Guwel’s announcement that the first agreement resulting from talks with the HoR will be the end of war inside Benghazi”.
In the wake of the current increasing political tensions, Tripoli is witnessing a state of alert, militarily, amidst dominant uncertainty concerning the loyalty of militias inside the capital, as after the presidential security defected from the PC. The Supreme Council for Libya rebels, formed mostly from Islamic militias in Tripoli, Zawya, Gherian, and Misrata, announced its support to Al-Guwel’s government, describing it as “legitimate.”
Following the refusal of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous command, assigned to liberate Sirte from Daesh grip, to allow the GNC government to enter Tripoli, other commanders announced their refusal to the announcement, such rejection turned into military rally around the palaces, Al-Marsa and 315 brigades from Misrata announced their readiness to protect the GNC government.
In step risking further escalation, the GNA defense minister, El-Mahdi El-Barghathi, participated in a military parade at the Third Brigade headquarter in Ean-Zara in Tripoli. He announced the formation of Tripoli security and protection chamber from former military officers and various militias from Tripoli that rallied in hundreds of armed vehicles and fighters holding the PC slogans, with fighter helicopter roaring over the skies.