Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Unidentified planes bomb IS-controlled Libyan city of Sirte

On October 29th, unidentified planes attacked areas controlled by the Islamic State in the city of Sirte, Libya. A witness said that planes were heard around midnight and then massive explosions
Neither the forces of the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) government nor those of the rival General National Congress(GNC) claimed responsibility so far for the attacks. In the past, Egypt and the UAE are believed to have bombed Tripoli on behalf of Khalifa Haftar in an attempt to defeat the militia Libya Dawn, who eventually prevailed and took control of Tripoli. They are the main armed forces of the rival General National Congress(GNC) government. Haftar had claimed responsibility for those attacks with the help of international partners. The present attacks, however, are in an area controlled by the rival GNC government. Haftar probably has no desire to help the rival GNC regain lost territory. If the GNC forces had been responsible for the bombing there is no reason for them not to claim it. In June, the GNChad bombed IS positions in Sirte.
A witness said that warplanes were heard around midnight Thursday and afterwards huge explosions. This is the second attack on the IS in Sirte this month. The IS lost its control over its main base in HoR-controlled eastern Libya, Derna, to rival militants a while ago, but they have extended their control in the Sirte area and also seem to have a foothold in the city of Benghazi. Since none of the two rival governments have accepted responsibility for the attacks, there is speculation that the planes are not from Libya.
The planes could be from Egypt, but it is not too likely that the Egyptians, who support Haftar, are anxious to help out the GNC government. More likely the planes are from some European nation, as several are planning a joint intervention:A group of Western nations are planning to send ground troops into Libya to train local authorities and launch attacks against a branch of the Islamic State group, military sources have told The Times of London. The UK, U.S., Italy, France, Spain, and Germany will work with the UN and the EU to "rebuild organs of the state and train security forces" according to the report in The Times.The UK has also its own plans for defeating the IS in Libya. The joint intervention is planned subsequent to the formation of a unity government brokered by the UN Special Envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon. Neither of the two rival governments has approved the agreement as yet. Talks were supposed to be held again this Tuesday. There are still no word on talks except for a report from Sputnik: The formation of a national unity government will be "announced any moment now," according to Arish Saeed, the chairman of the government’s International Information Authority.The report is from Tunis so perhaps the talks are there. Even if there is an agreement, both parliaments will insist on a chance again to approve or vote it down. The head of the HoR armed forces, Khalifa Haftar, rejects the agreement as do his opponents Libya Dawn although some militia groups do accept it. Without a parallel military agreement any political agreement is unenforceable.


No comments: