SNE Weekly Security Update 12 August 2014

Tripoli had experienced around three days of relative calm until Sunday 10 August when heavy shelling and exchanges of gunfire resumed, mainly focused in and around the area of Abu Salim on the airport road heading out of the city. The renewed fighting comes despite an attempt by a delegation from the United Nations arriving in the city on Friday 08 August to broker a ceasefire between the Misratian and Zintani led militia groups. Clashes have continued in the western districts and suburbs of Tripoli, as well as spreading further west into Zawiya with the taking of Camp 27 by the Zintani militia with assistance and support by Washafana.  The acute shortages of running water and fuel at the gas stations has improved over the past few days with shipments of fuel reaching Tripoli by sea tankers and queues down to around two hours at the local filling stations. Power cuts have all eased with mains electric becoming for more reliable then it was before. The battle for Tripoli’s main airport had expanded across the city with numerous clashes being reported between the Misrata backed pro-Islamic group and the incumbent Tripoli airport Zintan militia backed by General Hiftars Free Libyan Army. Clashes intensified in central Tripoli last week during the power cuts while forces from Zintan and Warsehfana have reportedly consolidated their hold over bases to the west of Tripoli, with some sources suggesting that they intend to continue their charge west towards Zawiya. In Benghazi reports coming out that Ansar al Sharia had declared an “Islamic Emirate” were denied, and while the Islamist militia and its allies undoubtedly made advances over the past week, forces loyal to General Khalifa Hifter have continued to launch air strikes against Islamist bases in the southern districts.  Reports seem to indicate that the conflict in Benghazi has reached a near stalemate with either side having the capability to defeat the other to any certain degree of success. General Hifter`s forces have solid base in and around Benina Airport with Anasar Al Sharia still strong within Benghazi city itself even though the local residents are mostly against their presence within Benghazi. Despite a claim by the official spokesperson of “Operation Dignity” that Benghazi Port had been taken over and shut down by forces loyal to General Hifter, the head of National Security for Benghazi Port, General Ali Amamy, stated on 09 August that the ports continue to operate normally. Meetings of the House of Representatives have continued in the eastern city of Tobruk over the weekend and during a session on 10 August, Libya’s Chief of Staff Abdulati al Obeidi, admitted that his control over the country’s army is virtually non-existent and that the armed forces are on the “verge of total collapse”.  Meanwhile, the parliament is expected to decide soon over whether the president of Libya will be directly elected or selected by the House of Representatives. The majority of diplomatic missions / embassies within Libya have now suspended their activities within Libya and numerous governments have given the order and/or supported the evacuation of their citizens from Tripoli and Benghazi as the fighting has spread within the cities and to other areas of the country.



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