As we approach the New Year, there is renewed hope of prosperity in Libya. The Libyan National Army has ended its operations in Sidi Khreibesch. The Presidency Council has announced that the long awaited return of Tawerghans to their homes will start on 1st February. Ports and airports are re-opening and public pressure is increasing on the official bodies to move the political process forward.
However, with a terror attack reported on the oil pipeline network this week and food prices increasing, pressure on the Libyan economy remains tight. See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for the reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution.
East-West tension is increasing between Haftar’s Libyan National Army and Serraj’s UN backed Presidency Council. The Libyan National Army has for weeks being indicating that it considered 17th December as a watershed date and that if no House of Representatives approved government were operating by then, it would move to save Libya.
Is the assassination of Mohamed Eshtewi, the moderate mayor of Libya’s third largest city, the start of this move? Although several groups will profit from his removal, it is likely that the assailants who dumped his body outside the Safwa Hospital in Misrata were local hard-liners, but what was their motive and are they linked to the LNA?
See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for the background to the East-West tension and the pivotal role of Misrata and its neighbouring towns of Tawergha and Bani Walid in the revolution.
Faiez Serraj and Salim Omeish met for talks this weekend as dozens of exiled Tawerghans demonstrated about their squalid living conditions pleading for the Presidency Council and the international community to organise their return home.
However, their safety and security depends totally on the Misratans. They still have not forgiven the crimes committed by Tawerghan mercenaries during the 2011 civil war, with many hundreds of families grieving their martyrs and unaccounted-for sons and husbands.
See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for the background to this shameful sore which needs the healing balm of a true peacemaker.
Tawergha in April 2012
The Great Man Made Water system in Libya that brings 6,500,000,000 litres of water from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifers below the Sahara to the northern cities has been cut by militants. As a result, over two million Libyans in Tripoli have been left without running water.
The dispute is over the arrest and imprisonment of Mabrouk Ahnish by Rada at Mitiga air base. These security forces are linked to the head of the Presidency Council, Faiez Serraj, who has been in Washington this week opening the new Libyan Embassy. Earlier this year, Rada detained the father of the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi.
The increased risks of water borne diseases has increased and added to the suffering of children according to UNICEF special representative Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, who has instigated a full investigation.
See Chapter 6 of Belfast to Benghazi for the strategic importance of Mitiga and the security challenges of Libyan militias in 2011 and 2012.