Πραξικόπημα διαρκείας κατά του Σάρατζ στην Δυτική Λιβύη
source: EastMed Strategic Studies Institute, Athens
29 Αυγούστου 2020
Σύνοψη δημοσιευμάτων αναφορικά με την διαμάχη φατριών στην κυβέρνηση του Δυτικού τμήματος της Λιβύης που διατηρεί στενοτατες σχέσεις με την Αγκυρα.
Σύμφωνα με την άποψη του Ινστιτούτου μας, η κυβέρνηση Σάρατζ πνέει τα λοίσθια χάρις στις προσωπικές έριδες των μελών της. Η κύρια αντιπαράθεση είναι μεταξύ Σάρατζ και Μασαγκα, αλλά υπάρχουν και άλλες που υποβόσκουν, μιάς και η Τουρκική εμπλοκή (Ο Μασάγκα είναι δεδηλωμένο μέλος της ΜΙΤ) προκαλεί τεράστιες ζήλιες ανάμεσα στην άρχουσα κάστα, αφού οι Τούρκοι συνοδεύουν την όποια θέση ευθύνης με χρηματικά ποσά τα οποία οι υπόλοιποι εποφθαλμιούν, όμως τα Τούρκικα χρήματα δεν ρέουν όπως παλαιότερα, ούτε επίσης οι πωλήσεις από το πετρέλαιο, τα δε χρήματα της Δυτικής Λιβύης παραμένουν παγωμένα σε Τούρκικες τράπεζες.
Πέρα από αυτό όμως υπάρχει τεράστια αντίδραση του απλού κόσμου που κουράστηκε από την διαρκή αντιπαράθεση που οι αδελφοί μουσουλμάνοι επέβαλαν με την αποπομπή Καντάφι και απαιτούν πλέον πολύ δυναμικά την έξοδο από το πολιτικό σκηνικό του Σάρατζ, αλλά και όλων των συνεργατών του.
Πέρα από αυτό, οι μισθοφόροι είναι απλήρωτοι, η Τουρκία στέλνει ελάχιστα χρήματα για την μισθοδοσία τους λόγω οικονομικής ανέχειας, κλέβουν για να φάνε και αυτό τους φέρνει σε μεγάλη αντιπαράθεση με τον τοπικό πληθυσμό.
Την στιγμή αυτή που γράφουμε το άρθρο αυτό είναι ασαφές αν ο Μασάγκα έχει φυλακιστεί, όμως είναι σίγουρο ότι αποπέμφθηκε από τα καθήκοντα του “υπουργού”, έχει αναλάβει ο “υφυπουργός” αντιστράτηγος Μαζέν, το τοπίο εντός της “κυβέρνησης” Σάρατζ, είναι επιεικώς εκρηκτικό….
Υποθέτουμε μιά επίθεση από τον LNA και μιά κίνηση από όμορες χώρες θα τον αποτελείωνε οριστικά. Ομως δεν γνωρίζουμε άν σήμερα ο LNA είναι σε θέση να ανταποκριθεί και είμαστε σίγουροι ότι τουλάχιστον μία όμορη χώρα με την Λιβύη που βρίσκεται υπό Γερμανική ιδιότυπη κατοχή από το 2013 δεν θα πράξει απολύτως τίποτα, μιάς και οι εξελίξεις στην Λιβύη, αλλά και η Τουρκική επιθετικότητα είναι στους στρατηγικούς στόχους του 4ου Ράιχ.
Αναμένονται ταχύτατα εξελίξεις.
1) Spectre of Bashagha coup haunts Sarraj amid protest
Written ByJemai Guesmi
source: The Arab Weekly
TUNIS – The popular movement rejecting the Libyan Presidency Council, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, continues to expand to include most cities in western Libya. The movement threatens to evolve into a widespread social explosion amid a sharp escalation of the internal conflicts between the pillars of the Sarraj government, as the GNA’s prime minister is reportedly wary of an approaching coup by his rival, Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.
Most Libyans question Sarraj’s ability to overcome the obstacles of the new impasse he’s facing, as he lacks the necessary tools to deal with this exceptional period, a period that presupposes his internal readiness to ward off the potential repercussions of his unpredictable conflict with Bashagha.
Even though Sarraj is no longer hiding his fear that his rival Bashagha might turn against him with the support of Misrata militias and Turkish intelligence, he is nevertheless pushing to turn the eventual outcome of this conflict in his favour. Thus, he has multiplied his moves and movements to ward off the ghost of a probable coup.
Libyan media sources revealed that Sarraj decided to cancel his visit to Istanbul to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was scheduled for Thursday. They linked this to his fear of a coup, which was evident in his televised speech about the protests in Tripoli.
“I fear that some will enter into a political dialogue and new presidential formation to disrupt the issue of the elections,” Sarraj said, in a clear reference to his rival Bashagha, who was in Turkey at the time.
This fear clearly manifested itself when Sarraj met with a number of military and security officers loyal to the GNA, including the head of the intelligence service, commanding officers of the military regions, the commander of the counterterrorism force, the deputy head of the internal security apparatus, the head of the public security apparatus, the commander of the security division in the Joint Forces and the security director of Tripoli.
The media office of the Presidential Council stated that the meeting, which was held on Wednesday, focused on “the riots that occurred in the capital, Tripoli, and the need to know all of their dimensions, and to implement security measures and ensure the safety of citizens.”
Libyan media sources, however, linked this meeting to Sarraj’s fear of a coup against him, especially since it came one day after his meeting with the Undersecretary of the Interior Minister Brigadier General Khaled Mazen, without waiting for Bashagha to return to Libya.
Online Libyan publication “Alsaaa24” quoted “official” sources as saying that Sarraj was looking to appoint a new interior minister, on the condition that the candidate meets with the approval of the Misrata field leaders, to recruit other people from the armed groups and to dismantle the armed forces loyal to Bashagha in Tripoli.
Bashagha’s response to these developments is unknown. The newspaper reported that he was supposed to have arrived in Libya on Thursday, coming from Ankara where he had been on a ten-day official visit meeting with a number of top level security officials.
The paper also quoted a security source as saying that after his arrival from Turkey, Bashagha will be holding meetings with a number of leaders of the armed brigades in Tripoli, in connection with the protests in Tripoli and several other Libyan cities.
Bashagha preceded his return to Libya by responding to Sarraj’s moves through a statement by the interior ministry, in which he sought to evade responsibility for the violence used against the protesters participating in the popular movement and absolve himself of the violations committed, after activists demanded an international investigation and trial for those involved in the crimes that have been repeated during the past days.
In the ministry’s statement, Bashagha said, “The Ministry of the Interior confirms that it has identified the armed groups that fired on the demonstrators, their members and the official bodies overseeing them,” hinting that they are loyal to Sarraj.
He even went so far as to threaten to use force against these groups at a time when voices condemning the growing conflict between Sarraj and Bashagha have grown.
“It has become inadmissible to continue with the farce of the rebellion of the Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashagha, driven by his ambition,” Ashraf al-Shah, a former advisor to the State Consultative Council, wrote on Twitter. “Sarraj and his presidential council must re-adjust the administration of the state.”
“Undoubtedly, Sarraj bears responsibility for the failures and poor performance, which caused widespread popular resentment … and this failure allowed some ‘infiltrators’ to exploit these protests to reach political goals (of their own),” he added.
Over the past two days, the protests in most Libyan cities have expanded, calling for the departure of Sarraj and his government, as demonstrations continued in the streets and squares of Tripoli and the cities of western Libya.
The demonstrators approached the headquarters of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, and the home of Sarraj in the Nawfalain area, as the wave of popular anger intensified following the intentional use of live ammunition against the protesters by militias loyal to the Sarraj government.
2) GNA’s Presidential Council Suspends Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha
On Friday, the Presidential Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) decided to suspend the Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashagha, from his duties and ordered an investigation on him to be conducted within the next 3 days.
In a statement, the Presidential Council decided to investigate Bashagha over his handling of demonstrations and his failure to protect protesters from a violent crackdown. The investigation will look into Bashagha’s provision of permits and protection to demonstrators, and assess the statements he issued regarding the demonstrations that took place over the past days in Tripoli and other cities.
The Council assigned the Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry, Brigadier Khaled Ahmed Al-Tijani Mazen, to take over the ministry’s duties. He has been granted with all the sovereign and administrative powers as well as competencies of a minister.
Last Sunday protesters rallied in the streets of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to demonstrate against deteriorating living conditions and corruption. The protesters demanded that the Government of National Accord (GNA) be replaced over the country’s poor situation which they called a “slow death” due to collapsing public services, corruption and economic pressures. On their way to central Tripoli’s Martyrs Square, the protesters were scattered by gunfire.
On Monday, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the excessive use of force made by the security personnel in Tripoli.
3) GNA crackdown on Libya protests belies rhetoric
By resorting to violence to suppress peaceful protests over low-level basic services and rampant corruption, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) can no longer boast of defending democracy and the civilian state. Experts see the GNA as simply exploiting slogans to consolidate its authority while accusing its opponents, especially the Libya National Army (LNA), of seeking to militarise the state and carry out a coup against the principles of the February 17 uprising.
On Sunday evening, hundreds of Libyans demonstrated in Tripoli to express their anger at deteriorating living conditions and widespread corruption in the country that has been experiencing armed conflicts for years now.
“We broke up the demonstration in Martyrs Square when we heard shots being fired in the air to disperse the demonstrators,” said 20-year-old demonstrator Ayman al-Wafi.
Videos and pictures circulated on social media showed men in military uniforms pointing their weapons at the demonstrators in a street in the capital.
Before the start of the demonstration, Mohamed al-Breiki, one of the activists organising the demonstration, posted on the “Hirak 23/8” Facebook page instructions for the participants in the demonstration at Martyrs Square, including specifying the gathering points.
Breiki called on the youth participating in the demonstration to wear white clothes to symbolise peace, and to take preventive measures, especially wearing face masks.
The Tripoli demonstrations came in the wake of similar turmoil that had gripped the western region for days. Indeed, several demonstrations broke out in Sabratha, Zawiya, Surman and other towns in protest against deteriorating living conditions, high prices, lack of cash and lack of job opportunities, in addition to rejecting the finance ministry’s latest measure of knocking 25 percent off the salaries of public sector employees as part of the austerity measures decided to deal with the financial crisis brought about by the suspension of oil exports.
Oil exports had been suspended to prevent oil revenues from going to finance the war and pay the wages of the Syrian mercenaries.
It has been reported on social media that the Al-Nawasi militia of the GNA’s interior ministry has been conducting a crackdown that included the arrest of a number of protesters. Some social media pages have even reported that the GNA used the Syrian mercenaries brought by Turkey to suppress the protest.
“The onset of the arrests campaign in Tripoli is a dangerous sign which means that Bashagha has opted for an approach based on escalation and systematic repression,” Ali Ouhaida, a social media activist, wrote on his Twitter page.
Fathi Bashagha, the GNA’s interior minister, however, wrote on Twitter that “those who looked like security men were in fact an outlaw group who fired shots.”
On Sunday evening, the interior ministry confirmed in a statement that it had secured and protected the demonstration, noting that it had spotted “infiltrated persons who have been identified and will be arrested, and they are not members of the police forces and do not belong to the Ministry of the Interior.”
The statement was met with mockery on social media sites. Users pointed out that Bashagha, who likes to present himself as the guardian of the February 17 Revolution and protector of the civil state, was using the same methods and arguments previously used by the regime of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at the beginning of the uprising that toppled him in early 2011.
Bashagha, known for his aggressive and violent bent, had for over a year been accusing the LNA of committing crimes against humanity without providing any evidence.
At the end of last May, a young Libyan man named Rajab Rahil Abdel-Fadil Al-Megrahi accused Bashagha of “gouging out his eye” with a “spoon” while being held “in inhuman conditions” inside the prison in 2019.
Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime, the Libyan capital has become a battleground for fighting between militias, resulting in hundreds of civilians being killed.
This is not the first time that Islamists and their allies have violently suppressed protests in Tripoli. People there still remember the events known locally as the Gharghour Massacre perpetrated by the militias, which killed 48 people and wounded over 500 more. The aim of those protests was to pressure the Tripoli authorities to implement decision No. 27 of the General Conference (Parliament). The decision called for removing all armed formations from the Libyan capital.
Bashagha, who never misses an opportunity to accuse the LNA of seeking to overturn democracy and install a military dictatorship, is accused of being one of the most prominent architects of the Libya Dawn coup, carried out by the militias against the results of the 2014 parliamentary elections that removed the Islamists from power. These same Islamists were brought back to power by the Skhirat Agreement with the support of the international community.
On Monday, the United Nations called on the GNA to conduct “an immediate and comprehensive investigation” into the incidents of Sunday’s demonstration in Tripoli, which led to people being injured, according to a statement issued by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
“UNSMIL calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into the excessive use of force by pro-GNA security personnel in Tripoli yesterday which resulted in the injury of a number of protesters,” the statement read, without specifying the number of casualties.
The United Nations mission said that “these demonstrations were motivated by frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity and water and a lack of service provision throughout the country.”
“It is past time for Libyan leaders to put aside their differences and engage in a fully inclusive political dialogue,” it added.