Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Eastern Libya commander Haftar threatens to attack capital Tripoli

(December 16) The head of the Libyan National Army(LNA), Field Marshal Khaifa Haftar called on his forces to be prepared for an offensive to free the capital Tripoli. Haftar is head of the armed forces(LNA) of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) government.

The HoR government is a rival to the UN-brokered Government of National Accord(GNA) based in Tripoli the capital. A top LNA official confirmed the call to the Libya Herald after Haftar made it during a talk to members of the LNA. There are reports that he has been in contact with some forces in the capital. The Herald claims that many believe that if Hafter were to try and take Tripoli it would unify Tripoli's divided militias against him.
A report in the Libya Observer also cites the spokesperson for Haftar's Dignity Operation, Ahmed Al-Mismari as calling for the liberation of Tripoli. Al-Mismari said: "All military personnel in Tripoli must be ready. Girls have been abducted and raped on daily basis during the past three months in Tripoli." A video of a rape of a woman by a Tripoli area militia group has been widely circulated. Al-Mesmari also claimed that he would reveal the location of 30 Islamic State camps in Tripoli. The Observer claims that within Tripoli itself there are no groups loyal to the Dignity Operation. The LNA would need to depend on Zintani miliita and some militia in Wirshiffana both of whom have their own agendas.
An article in AlAraby says that the offensive against Tripoli is motivated by recent reports of gang-rape in the capital and as spokesperson for Haftar Mismari put it the offensive was a duty to "preserve the dignity of the Libyan citizen." The article reports:Last week a video emerged purportedly showing members of the al-Awashr Brigade taking turns to rape a woman as she pleads for mercy in front of her young daughter, sparking outrage. A rival militia, the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, who uploaded the video, said that the clip was found on the phone of an al-Awashr commander. Outrage over the video led to protests in Tripoli on Friday December 9 and during the weekend.The GNA has promised that it will makes those responsible for the rape, accountable.
The Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press (LCFP) has condemned calls for violence that it claims are being made by the TV presenter, Mohammed Emtalel who works for Libya News Channel. The LCFP claims the channel is a mouthpiece for Khalifa Haftar and his Operation Dignity. The LCFP claimed that Emtalel had targeted seven journalists from the city of Derna which is under siege by Haftar. The journalists were accused of being members of terrorist groups. The LCFP said: “We hold the channel’s administration and owners responsible for the safety of the journalists, whose names were mentioned by the presenter, and we condemn its systematic advocating of violence and threats live on TV.” The LCFP noted that Emtalel's statements had led to the arrest and torture of journalists and activists in 2014 in Egypt. Emtalel has received much attention at times on social media:The notorious journalist’s political analysis is sometimes noticed for his naive sarcastic conclusions, which have gone for the most time viral on social media, such as the time when he said that the distinguished characteristics of Muslim Brotherhood members include wearing jeans, medical glasses, watch football and support Argentina, Brazil and Manchester United teams.
Clashes in Tripoli today appear to have nothing to do with Haftar. Libya Herald reports on the clashes. There are often clashes in Tripoli between rival militia. An appended video is from early December.

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