Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Libyan coastguard threatens Spanish NGO ships as tensions rise in Mediterranean – Telegraph.co.uk

Libyas coastguard threatened to target a Spanish humanitarian ship rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean this week as tensions continue to grow between NGOs and the Libyan government.

A ship run by the group Proactiva Open Arms was intercepted by a Libyan coastguard vessel on Tuesday and ordered to sail towards Tripoli or risk being fired upon.

You have to sail now towards Tripoli port. You are under custody, sir. If you dont follow the orders we will target you, the Libyan captain warned the Spanish crew by radio.

I have already warned you before, Libyan government has warned you before but you dont listen. Its your problem.

The Spanish ship was eventually allowed to sail away into the Mediterranean but the confrontation is the most serious since Libyas coastguard adopted a newly assertive policy several weeks ago.

Three major humanitarian groups – Save the Children, Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF), and Germany’s Sea Eye – have all halted their operations because of the Libyan threats and warned that more people will drown as a result.

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News Roundup – Wed, Aug 16, 2017 – The Libya Observer

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The head of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanallah, visited Tobruk on Tuesday evening to attend the 7th conference on oil refineries in Libya. Sources close to Sanallah stated that the visit is to begin work on activating oil investments in the city and researching plans to build an oil refinery in Tobruk estimated to add 300 thousand barrels per day for the Libyan economy.

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The spokesman for the Libyan Navy, Brigadier Ayoub Qasem, accused NGOs working to rescue illegal immigrants of infiltrating the sovereignty of the Libyan state. Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and CA have suspended their operations to rescue migrants off the coast of Libya, following the decision of the Libyan authorities to establish a search and rescue area in Libyan territorial waters. This action will prevent foreign ships from carrying out missions to save migrants, with the exception of being at the request of the Libyan authorities.

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The State Property Department called on the Municipal Guard to intervene and put a stop to the activities of some municipalities in collecting public funds, especially through collection of rents from markets, shops, tourist facilities and other state-owned properties. This illegal collection is in violation of the laws and regulations governing the law of the state’s public funds.

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The head of the Presidential Council of the UN proposed government, Fayez Sarraj met yesterday at the headquarters of the council in Tripoli with a delegation from the city of Derna headed by the head of the Local Council Awad Airaj. Sarraj stated that he issued immediate instructions to provide all needs to the desalination plant in Derna and all the urgent requirements of the service facilities of the city. Sarraj also stated that he put in place a direct line of communication between the Local Council of Derna and the ministries of his government. According to the media office of the UN proposed government, Sarraj expressed deep sorrow for the suffering of the residents of the city of Derna stressing his government’s efforts to lift the siege on the city and talked about the need to separate the provision of services to citizens from any conflict pointing out the need to open safe corridors for the delivery of medical equipment, medicines and food to the population.

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The Municipal Council of Tarhuna reported that the electric power station known as Thirty was out of service on Tuesday morning as a result of the station’s feeder cables burning out due to an overload. The director of Distribution Department of the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) appealed to the city’s residents to rationalize electricity consumption during the next two days until the station begins operating again.

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Approximately 210 illegal immigrants from the Kingdom of Morocco, including 30 women, have been on hunger strike for two days in a Tripoli housing center in protest against the Moroccan authorities’ failure to cooperate with the illegal immigration Control Agency in Libya on deportation procedures that would return them to Morocco. Moroccan authorities sent a committee four months ago to take the fingerprints of the migrants and promised to return them to their country but there has been no correspondence since then.

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The Minister of Education in the UN proposed government Othman AbdelJalil, withdrew licenses of 107 private schools, preventing them from engaging in any educational activities. AbdelJalil also referred the schools officials to the Attorney General to be investigated, and prohibited any agencies of the ministry from dealing with these schools. AbdelJalil also said that a committee is formed that will submit a detailed report on this matter within a maximum period of fifteen days, in preparation for taking the necessary legal measures against any school breaking the law. This decision comes against the backdrop of manipulation of some of the schools that are being investigated being involved in the public examinations scandal.

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Ahli Tripoli is to play their match against toile Sportive du Sahel at the Tayyib Muhairi Stadium in Sfax instead of the Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria. Ahli Tripoli will face their Tunisian counterpart in the quarter-finals of the African Champions League on September 15th after the Egyptian authorities refused to allow fans to enter the Burj Al Arab stadium. The Ahli administration in Tripoli is counting on the strong attendance of their fans to support their team in this important match.

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Eastern government bans Italian companies for alleged hostility towards Libya – The Libya Observer

The Ministry of Economy of the Interim Government, a parallel body in east Libya, has issued a resolution to ban the Italian companies from working in Libya or establishing any joint Libyan-Italian firms.

The resolution referred for the prohibition of opening or extending branches of Italian companies in Libya until further notice.

Minister Munir Asar told his governments news agency that the decision was taken due to “Italy’s outspoken hostility towards Libyan people”.

Our friends who stood with us in our crisis are more entitled for economic partnership, especially that the technology is not monopolized by the Italians, he said.

The resolution only applies to the eastern region where the government has control.

Relations between Italy and east Libya authorities are tense. In June, the Defense and National Security Committee of House of Representatives Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Perrone persona non grata for a meme tweet mocking the Committees terror list.

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Qatar and Arab powers are already at warin Libya – Washington Examiner

Among the many civil wars ravaging the Arab world in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt the one Westerners hear the least about may prove the most dangerous: Libya. The civil war that has been raging in Libya since 2011 is, in many ways, a proxy war pitting Qatar and its Muslim Brotherhood allies against the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The Qatari-Emirati rivalry, which became front-page news last week when Saudi Arabia and its allies severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, has been the significant factor in the continuation of the current Libyan Civil War, much more so than nationalistic or Islamist ideologies.

Qatar and the UAE both punch above their weight in the conflict because unlike in Yemen or Syria, the role of the United States and other major powers is somewhat muted.

At stake for both Gulf monarchies is influence in post-war Libya as well as economic opportunity. The country is home to some of the last significant underexplored oil and gas basins in the Middle East. Outside the oil sector, Qatar has financial deals with Libya that date to the Ghaddafi era. The UAE, as an early investor in Libya, has also sought controlling positions in the Libyan financial sector.

After disputed elections in 2014, Libya has once again descended into chaos, with numerous factions warring against one another. These include Berber militias, ISIS terrorists, repentant former members of Ghaddafi’s military, and many other factions. Over the last three years, however, Libyan politics have been defined by three large coalitions, each claiming to be Libya’s legitimate government.

The General National Congress is largely Muslim Brotherhood-influenced and is supported by Qatar. Conversely, the UAE along with Saudi Arabia now support General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA). The LNA claims to represent Libya’s House of Representatives, a rival government based in Tobruk.

Both of the above factions give lip service to the Government of National Accord, the body recognized by the United Nations as Libya’s legitimate government.

Both sides also have other allies, of course. Egypt also supports Haftar, and in the past the General National Congress has received support from Turkey.

Qatar has long been involved in Libyan politics and had ties to the Islamist opposition since the Ghaddaffi era. When the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 began, it supported the Muslim Brotherhood, which was the best organized political force in several Arab states.

Qatar was the first country to recognize the Libyan rebels and had begun sending them arms early in 2011 as they fought to topple Ghaddaffi. Media reports also suggest that Qatari special forces were deployed to Libya and at least some Libyan rebels received military training in Qatar.

The Emirates also sent weapons to rebel groups early in the conflict but failed to build lasting ties. Instead the Emirates turned to General Haftar, a supposed former CIA asset who was living in exile in Northern Virginia as recently as 2011.

In May 2014, Haftar launched a military movement to create a unified Libyan National Army (LNA) and to eliminate Islamic extremists. (Haftar’s definition of extremists includes many whom others would consider moderates.) This moment set in stone the Qatar-UAE rivalry. When each nation officially backed opposing sides in the Libyan armed conflict, Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia pulled their ambassadors from Qatar’s capital, Doha. The diplomats did not return for eight months.

The septuagenarian Haftar is perhaps the ablest military commander Libya has ever produced. He also makes little secret of his Neo-Ghaddaffi ambition to rule the country. Personality traits aside, his rapid rise has been accelerated by Egyptian and Emirati airstrikes in support of the LNA.

At first, those two countries kept their role secret due to U.S. disapproval. But following a massacre of Coptic Christians in February 2015, Egypt publicly launched airstrikes against Islamist militants in Libya. The Qatari-backed New General National Congress called Egypt’s airstrikes a “horrible assault.” Al-Jazeera coverage highlighted the civilian casualties of the strike.

The continuous airstrikes increasingly suggest an escalation of the conflict in a conventional sense. A once semi-secret activity is now being conducted in the open.

Qatar did not respond militarily to support its clients. Even if it wanted to, Libya is beyond the operational range of Qatari aircraft. Even the 24 longer-ranged Dassault Rafale fighter jets Qatar has ordered from France could not attack Libya without access to access to friendly airbases or mid-air refueling.

In any case, diplomatic relations soon returned to normal in the GCC, and on the surface Gulf politics seemed calm, with Qatar even joining the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

However, in Libya, tensions between the two countries continued unabated with the Emirates and Egypt increasing their military support to Haftar in recent months.

This was apparent in the most recent Egyptian bombing campaign in Libya. Though it used the May 26 attack on Coptic Christians as a pretext, the Egyptian government acknowledged its new bombing campaign was not aimed at the perpetrators of that attack per se. Instead, the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council, an Islamist group, bore the brunt of the campaign. The group was an impediment to Haftar’s efforts to consolidate control of the country. According to Arab press reports, the group has received support from Qatar.

Still isolated and left with few options, Qatar may choose Libya as the place where it strikes back at the UAE. If so, the long and wrongly ignored war in Libya is likely to be even longer.

Joseph Hammond, a former Cairo correspondent for Radio Free Europe, is a senior contributor with the American Media Institute. Suhaib Kebhaj is a Research Assistant at the International Monetary Fund and has worked extensively in his native Libya. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.

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Libya’s Biggest Oil Field Is Reopening For Business – Bloomberg

El-Sharara, Libya, in 2004.

Libyas biggest oil field, Sharara, is increasing production and the Zueitina port is again allowing tankers to load, paving the way for the OPEC nations crude output to rebound.

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Production at Sharara increased to 230,000 barrels a day Tuesday from 200,000 barrels on Sunday, according to a person familiar with the matter. Workers who had been kept from some areas because of security threats were provided with additional protection, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. Also Tuesday, the Zueitina port resumed loading operations, Merhi Abridan, head of the Zueitina Workers Union, said by phone.

Libya wants to boost crude production as much as possible because its still exempt from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreement to cut supplies through March. Output climbed to a three-year high of 1.02 million barrels a day in July, the third consecutive monthly gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The supply gains from Libya have contributed to restraining crude prices in 2017, with Brent oil futures in London down about 10 percent since the start of the year.

Aframax Atlas Voyager, which was set to complete loading 370,000 barrels of crude from Zueitina after loading from Ras Lanuf port, will be allowed to finish its cargo, Abridan said by phone on Tuesday. Workers were promised their demands will be met, he said. They include getting 20 months of back pay, health insurance, annual leave, overtime and more port maintenance.

Security breaches at Sharara were an individual action and the field is secure, Libyas state-run National Oil Corp. said in a statement Sunday. The field has experienced several brief shutdowns in recent months, including a two-day closure in June due to a protest by workers. Pumping was interrupted for hours last week after armed protesters shut some facilities.

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The Latest: Libyan coastguard threatens Spanish ship – Miami Herald


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The Latest: Libyan coastguard threatens Spanish ship
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The latest on Europe's response to the large numbers of refugees and economic migrants hoping to reach and establish new lives on the continent (all times local):. 8:15 p.m.. A Spanish aid group dedicated to saving migrants crossing the Mediterranean

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Where is the AU in Libya’s peace process? – Libya | ReliefWeb – ReliefWeb

At the 29th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa last month, the AU decided to accelerate its efforts to help negotiate a peace deal in Libya. This came as the AU was being sidelined by other international actors such as France. To implement its decision to convene a national dialogue of all role players, the AU has to speedily establish technical and analytical support teams, as well as raise the funds to cope with the rigours of brokering peace in Libyas complex politics.

France last month mediated a ceasefire between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (who is backed by the United Nations [UN]) and eastern commander General Khalifa Haftar that was signed on 25 July 2017. The Paris deal followed similar efforts by Italy and Egypt to strengthen the failing Libyan Political Agreement, mediated by the UN in December 2015.

Meanwhile, the AU is yet to deliver on its July 2016 resolve to initiate a national dialogue on reconciliation for Libya.

As during the 2011 conflict and the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, the AU again seems to be sidelined in the mediation efforts. While poor coordination and limited influence on the ground affect the AUs ability to lead Libyas peace process, its neutral stance in the ongoing war does make it a reliable mediator in this crisis.

Poor record of inclusivity in Libya

In Paris, al-Sarraj and Haftar agreed to observe a ceasefire and hold elections as soon as possible. The deal is an achievement for newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, who had pledged to make Libya a priority during his election campaign. A peaceful Libya is key to addressing the migration and terror threats from the region.

However, the countrys bitterly contested politics will test the viability of the deal. While the peace deal is expected to be part of a broader peace process led by Ghassan Salame, the UN Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission for Libya, it failed to consult and include other powerful local actors who can make or mar its implementation.

Notably, the self-declared government of Khalifa Ghwell in Tripoli, the Tobruk Parliament and other key warring leaders were not part of the deal. This criticism also holds true for the mediation efforts that led to the signing of the political agreement of December 2015.

Most Libyan stakeholders agree that the political agreement facilitated by the former UN Special Representative for Libya, Martin Kobler, was hastily done, at the expense of its sustainability. This became clear during extensive consultations by the AU High-Level Committee on Libya led by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo. In a summary of the discussions, seen by the PSC Report, the Libyan stakeholders condemned the haste with which Mr Martin Kobler managed the negotiation process and the signing of the political agreement, in disregard of the deadline requested in order to render this text more inclusive.

Absence of tribal and religious leaders from the formal negotiations

The Libyan peace process is reminiscent of the situation in Somalia in the early 1990s, when many local actors such as community and religious leaders were left out of peace talks.

The major focus of international actors in Libya has been the contested political leadership. Yet the overall process marginalises the tribal leaders who provide some form of governance to about 70% of Libya. Some of these tribal and religious leaders have united under the National Movement for Libya (NML) to advance reconciliation and facilitate ceasefires among militia groups.

In April this year about 60 tribal leaders from southern Libya signed a deal in Rome to cease hostilities and combat illegal migrant smugglers. These local leaders, as well as civil society, have a key role to play in the overall political peace process in Libya.

What is certain among Libyan stakeholders is the consensus that the political agreement of 2015 needs urgent revision to broaden the spectrum of Libyan actors.

Can the AU lead the peace process?

At the 29th AU summit the AU Assembly reaffirmed its intention to convene a Libyan national reconciliation dialogue in Addis Ababa, at a date yet to be determined. Since the July 2016 summit in Kigali, the AU has conveyed its interest in initiating such a dialogue, but it has not been able to do so. A number of other talks have meanwhile taken place, including the recent mediations led by Italy and France.

Questions are now being asked over the AUs ability and political clout to intervene in Libya.

Firstly, some Libyan stakeholders, including Sarraj, regret the fact that the various AU initiatives in Libya are incoherent. The efforts of the High-Level Committee, the High Representative for Libya, former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete and current AU Chairperson Guinean President Alpha Conde are criticised for their lack of coordination and their inability to initiate or convene a national dialogue. At the 29th summit the AU recognised this challenge and said it would establish a coordinating mechanism to address it.

Secondly, even if AU activities are harmonised, the continental body arguably cannot influence the warring factions in Libya because it is not a prominent actor in either the realpolitik or the war in Libya. Although the AUs non-involvement in Libyas ongoing civil war counts in its favour, experience shows that the actors that manage to get Libyan stakeholders to the table are those that support either one or the other side of the Libyan divide. This includes the UN, the ultimate legitimising authority with considerable capacity to influence the situation in Libya.

Indeed, many Libyan actors are willing to be consulted by the AU, which can help to legitimise their political interests and get these out into the public domain. But they are also cognisant of the continental bodys limited influence on the ground, especially in terms of providing the necessary carrots and sticks to spur actors to action.

Opportunities for AU mediation

Despite these limitations, the AU should maximise its advantage as a neutral body a reputation it still holds even though some of its member states (such as Egypt) have taken sides in the conflict. The AU can do this by mobilising powerful role players, including the UN, to support its efforts to mediate between the Libyan actors.

The AU belongs to a Quartet on Libya, which was established on 18 March to coordinate international efforts to promote the political process in Libya. The other members of the Quartet are the European Union, the League of Arab States and the UN. The Quartet seems to have replaced the International Contact Group for Libya (ICG-L) that was established by the AU Peace and Security Council on 23 September 2014. The ICG-Ls last meeting was in January 2016.

At the Quartets second meeting on 23 May, its members acknowledged the AUs important consultations with stakeholders earlier this year. The AU has to build on this to gain the support of the Quartet to mediate between the various Libyan factions.

The AUs consultations give the continental body an edge in terms of better understanding the Libyan crisis and the interests of the various stakeholders. For instance, the High-Level Committee consultation revealed al-Sarrajs willingness to abdicate power if the political process requires it. Aguila Saleh, the President of the Tobruk Parliament, wants a reduction in the number of Presidential Council members, from nine to three. Haftar, on the other hand, wants the Presidential Council of nine to be replaced with a Council of State consisting of three members, namely the current president, the speaker of the Tobruk Parliament and the armys general commander. This would entail a Council of State consisting of al-Sarraj, Aguila and himself.

While these interests may not be solutions to the Libyan crisis, they are starting points for inclusive negotiations.

More capacity needed

At the 29th AU summit the AU had decided to expand its representation at the Quartet to include the representatives of the High-Level Committee and the High Representative for Libya, which is currently Kikwete. This should ensure the AUs coordinated response in pushing for a mediatory role and for sustainable solutions.

To realise its ambition of enabling national reconciliation in Libya, the AU has to speedily establish technical and analytical support teams and ample resources to cope with the rigours of brokering such a complex peace.

It should also coordinate the efforts of Libyas neighbours including Egypt, Algeria and Morocco which have thus far played significant but disparate roles in the conflict.

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The Case Against Elections in Libya | Foreign Affairs – Foreign Affairs

Normally, a call for elections is a sign of a vibrant democracy. In Libya, however, the current rush to hold a vote within a few months from nowa proposal that has been advanced by everyone from United Arab Emirates-backed warlords to the United Nationswill condemn the Libyan people to a future of apartheid and instability. The danger is enshrined in the way Libya holds elections: the current law absurdly gives minority voters more power over the majority, effectively disenfranchising large swaths of the Libyan population and permitting extremist elements and those loyal to the unpopular former regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi to win a disproportionate share of Parliament.

Despite these serious defects, partisan groups from within and outside of Libya have called for elections as a way of escaping the UN-sponsored dialoguewhich has failed to provide security, stability, and a legitimate governmentand hope to take advantage of the status quo in order to see their own influence increase. Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the failing internationally-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), has called for elections to take place in March of next year, while Aref Nayed, an oligarch who is running for president and is heavily backed by the UAE, has called for elections to occur within a few months. Non-Libyans are eager for elections as well. The UNs Mission in Libya has been in secret talks with major Libyan players, including politicians in the coastal city of Misrata, while newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting last month between Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar and Sarraj, issuing a statement that called for speedy elections. In a country where factions cannot even agree on how to keep the lights on for their citizens, it seems doubtful that elections will bring peace and stability.

The reason for this rush to hold elections is simple. The current political elites wish to maintain their advantage over other candidates, which is best done while they are incumbents. The political machines of

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Moscow backs peace efforts by Libya rivals – News24

Moscow – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday backed the efforts of Libya’s military strongman Khalifa Haftar and his rival UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to reach a peace agreement in the conflict-ridden country.

“We actively support the emerging trend to step up the process of political resolution, towards a full restoration of statehood in your country,” Lavrov told Haftar in remarks released by the foreign ministry after the two men met in Moscow.

“We know about your efforts, together with Sarraj, aimed at achieving a generally accepted agreement on optimal ways to execute the Skhirat political agreement that would be acceptable for everyone,” Lavrov said.

The UN-backed Skhirat Agreement was reached in 2015 as the basis for a political process in Libya, but it had been rejected by Haftar and other factions.

“We support your intent on achieving some progress,” Lavrov said.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also met Haftar in Moscow and talks “devoted particular attention to the development of the situation in north Africa, with the stress on the situation in Libya,” Interfax news agency reported, citing a defence ministry statement.

Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

Sarraj, who was appointed last year to lead the new government of national accord, has been unable to assert his authority outside Tripoli. Haftar’s rival administration is based in Libya’s east.

The two rivals agreed a ceasefire at talks in France last month and committed to holding elections, a plan which was endorsed by the UN Security Council.

On Monday, Lavrov emphasised the UN’s role in the peace process, adding that the new UN special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, who started work this month, was also due in Moscow.

“Unfortunately, the situation in your country continues to be complicated. The threat of extremism has not been overcome, though we know about the actions being taken to eradicate it,” Lavrov said.

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Libyan coastguard threatens Spanish NGO ships as tensions rise in Mediterranean – Telegraph.co.uk

Libyas coastguard threatened to target a Spanish humanitarian ship rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean this week as tensions continue to grow between NGOs and the Libyan government. A ship run by the group Proactiva Open Arms was intercepted by a Libyan coastguard vessel on Tuesday and ordered to sail towards Tripoli or risk being fired upon. You have to sail now towards Tripoli port. You are under custody, sir. If you dont follow the orders we will target you, the Libyan captain warned the Spanish crew by radio. I have already warned you before, Libyan government has warned you before but you dont listen. Its your problem. The Spanish ship was eventually allowed to sail away into the Mediterranean but the confrontation is the most serious since Libyas coastguard adopted a newly assertive policy several weeks ago. Three major humanitarian groups – Save the Children, Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF), and Germany’s Sea Eye – have all halted their operations because of the Libyan threats and warned that more people will drown as a result.

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News Roundup – Wed, Aug 16, 2017 – The Libya Observer

—————————————— —————————————— —————————————— The head of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanallah, visited Tobruk on Tuesday evening to attend the 7th conference on oil refineries in Libya. Sources close to Sanallah stated that the visit is to begin work on activating oil investments in the city and researching plans to build an oil refinery in Tobruk estimated to add 300 thousand barrels per day for the Libyan economy. —————————————— The spokesman for the Libyan Navy, Brigadier Ayoub Qasem, accused NGOs working to rescue illegal immigrants of infiltrating the sovereignty of the Libyan state. Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and CA have suspended their operations to rescue migrants off the coast of Libya, following the decision of the Libyan authorities to establish a search and rescue area in Libyan territorial waters. This action will prevent foreign ships from carrying out missions to save migrants, with the exception of being at the request of the Libyan authorities. —————————————— The State Property Department called on the Municipal Guard to intervene and put a stop to the activities of some municipalities in collecting public funds, especially through collection of rents from markets, shops, tourist facilities and other state-owned properties. This illegal collection is in violation of the laws and regulations governing the law of the state’s public funds. —————————————— The head of the Presidential Council of the UN proposed government, Fayez Sarraj met yesterday at the headquarters of the council in Tripoli with a delegation from the city of Derna headed by the head of the Local Council Awad Airaj. Sarraj stated that he issued immediate instructions to provide all needs to the desalination plant in Derna and all the urgent requirements of the service facilities of the city. Sarraj also stated that he put in place a direct line of communication between the Local Council of Derna and the ministries of his government. According to the media office of the UN proposed government, Sarraj expressed deep sorrow for the suffering of the residents of the city of Derna stressing his government’s efforts to lift the siege on the city and talked about the need to separate the provision of services to citizens from any conflict pointing out the need to open safe corridors for the delivery of medical equipment, medicines and food to the population. —————————————— The Municipal Council of Tarhuna reported that the electric power station known as Thirty was out of service on Tuesday morning as a result of the station’s feeder cables burning out due to an overload. The director of Distribution Department of the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) appealed to the city’s residents to rationalize electricity consumption during the next two days until the station begins operating again. —————————————— Approximately 210 illegal immigrants from the Kingdom of Morocco, including 30 women, have been on hunger strike for two days in a Tripoli housing center in protest against the Moroccan authorities’ failure to cooperate with the illegal immigration Control Agency in Libya on deportation procedures that would return them to Morocco. Moroccan authorities sent a committee four months ago to take the fingerprints of the migrants and promised to return them to their country but there has been no correspondence since then. —————————————— The Minister of Education in the UN proposed government Othman AbdelJalil, withdrew licenses of 107 private schools, preventing them from engaging in any educational activities. AbdelJalil also referred the schools officials to the Attorney General to be investigated, and prohibited any agencies of the ministry from dealing with these schools. AbdelJalil also said that a committee is formed that will submit a detailed report on this matter within a maximum period of fifteen days, in preparation for taking the necessary legal measures against any school breaking the law. This decision comes against the backdrop of manipulation of some of the schools that are being investigated being involved in the public examinations scandal. —————————————— Ahli Tripoli is to play their match against toile Sportive du Sahel at the Tayyib Muhairi Stadium in Sfax instead of the Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria. Ahli Tripoli will face their Tunisian counterpart in the quarter-finals of the African Champions League on September 15th after the Egyptian authorities refused to allow fans to enter the Burj Al Arab stadium. The Ahli administration in Tripoli is counting on the strong attendance of their fans to support their team in this important match.

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Eastern government bans Italian companies for alleged hostility towards Libya – The Libya Observer

The Ministry of Economy of the Interim Government, a parallel body in east Libya, has issued a resolution to ban the Italian companies from working in Libya or establishing any joint Libyan-Italian firms. The resolution referred for the prohibition of opening or extending branches of Italian companies in Libya until further notice. Minister Munir Asar told his governments news agency that the decision was taken due to “Italy’s outspoken hostility towards Libyan people”. Our friends who stood with us in our crisis are more entitled for economic partnership, especially that the technology is not monopolized by the Italians, he said. The resolution only applies to the eastern region where the government has control. Relations between Italy and east Libya authorities are tense. In June, the Defense and National Security Committee of House of Representatives Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Perrone persona non grata for a meme tweet mocking the Committees terror list.

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Qatar and Arab powers are already at warin Libya – Washington Examiner

Among the many civil wars ravaging the Arab world in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt the one Westerners hear the least about may prove the most dangerous: Libya. The civil war that has been raging in Libya since 2011 is, in many ways, a proxy war pitting Qatar and its Muslim Brotherhood allies against the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Qatari-Emirati rivalry, which became front-page news last week when Saudi Arabia and its allies severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, has been the significant factor in the continuation of the current Libyan Civil War, much more so than nationalistic or Islamist ideologies. Qatar and the UAE both punch above their weight in the conflict because unlike in Yemen or Syria, the role of the United States and other major powers is somewhat muted. At stake for both Gulf monarchies is influence in post-war Libya as well as economic opportunity. The country is home to some of the last significant underexplored oil and gas basins in the Middle East. Outside the oil sector, Qatar has financial deals with Libya that date to the Ghaddafi era. The UAE, as an early investor in Libya, has also sought controlling positions in the Libyan financial sector. After disputed elections in 2014, Libya has once again descended into chaos, with numerous factions warring against one another. These include Berber militias, ISIS terrorists, repentant former members of Ghaddafi’s military, and many other factions. Over the last three years, however, Libyan politics have been defined by three large coalitions, each claiming to be Libya’s legitimate government. The General National Congress is largely Muslim Brotherhood-influenced and is supported by Qatar. Conversely, the UAE along with Saudi Arabia now support General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA). The LNA claims to represent Libya’s House of Representatives, a rival government based in Tobruk. Both of the above factions give lip service to the Government of National Accord, the body recognized by the United Nations as Libya’s legitimate government. Both sides also have other allies, of course. Egypt also supports Haftar, and in the past the General National Congress has received support from Turkey. Qatar has long been involved in Libyan politics and had ties to the Islamist opposition since the Ghaddaffi era. When the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 began, it supported the Muslim Brotherhood, which was the best organized political force in several Arab states. Qatar was the first country to recognize the Libyan rebels and had begun sending them arms early in 2011 as they fought to topple Ghaddaffi. Media reports also suggest that Qatari special forces were deployed to Libya and at least some Libyan rebels received military training in Qatar. The Emirates also sent weapons to rebel groups early in the conflict but failed to build lasting ties. Instead the Emirates turned to General Haftar, a supposed former CIA asset who was living in exile in Northern Virginia as recently as 2011. In May 2014, Haftar launched a military movement to create a unified Libyan National Army (LNA) and to eliminate Islamic extremists. (Haftar’s definition of extremists includes many whom others would consider moderates.) This moment set in stone the Qatar-UAE rivalry. When each nation officially backed opposing sides in the Libyan armed conflict, Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia pulled their ambassadors from Qatar’s capital, Doha. The diplomats did not return for eight months. The septuagenarian Haftar is perhaps the ablest military commander Libya has ever produced. He also makes little secret of his Neo-Ghaddaffi ambition to rule the country. Personality traits aside, his rapid rise has been accelerated by Egyptian and Emirati airstrikes in support of the LNA. At first, those two countries kept their role secret due to U.S. disapproval. But following a massacre of Coptic Christians in February 2015, Egypt publicly launched airstrikes against Islamist militants in Libya. The Qatari-backed New General National Congress called Egypt’s airstrikes a “horrible assault.” Al-Jazeera coverage highlighted the civilian casualties of the strike. The continuous airstrikes increasingly suggest an escalation of the conflict in a conventional sense. A once semi-secret activity is now being conducted in the open. Qatar did not respond militarily to support its clients. Even if it wanted to, Libya is beyond the operational range of Qatari aircraft. Even the 24 longer-ranged Dassault Rafale fighter jets Qatar has ordered from France could not attack Libya without access to access to friendly airbases or mid-air refueling. In any case, diplomatic relations soon returned to normal in the GCC, and on the surface Gulf politics seemed calm, with Qatar even joining the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. However, in Libya, tensions between the two countries continued unabated with the Emirates and Egypt increasing their military support to Haftar in recent months. This was apparent in the most recent Egyptian bombing campaign in Libya. Though it used the May 26 attack on Coptic Christians as a pretext, the Egyptian government acknowledged its new bombing campaign was not aimed at the perpetrators of that attack per se. Instead, the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council, an Islamist group, bore the brunt of the campaign. The group was an impediment to Haftar’s efforts to consolidate control of the country. According to Arab press reports, the group has received support from Qatar. Still isolated and left with few options, Qatar may choose Libya as the place where it strikes back at the UAE. If so, the long and wrongly ignored war in Libya is likely to be even longer. Joseph Hammond, a former Cairo correspondent for Radio Free Europe, is a senior contributor with the American Media Institute. Suhaib Kebhaj is a Research Assistant at the International Monetary Fund and has worked extensively in his native Libya. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of his employer. If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions.

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August 16, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya’s Biggest Oil Field Is Reopening For Business – Bloomberg

El-Sharara, Libya, in 2004. Libyas biggest oil field, Sharara, is increasing production and the Zueitina port is again allowing tankers to load, paving the way for the OPEC nations crude output to rebound. The most important market news of the day. Get our markets daily newsletter. Production at Sharara increased to 230,000 barrels a day Tuesday from 200,000 barrels on Sunday, according to a person familiar with the matter. Workers who had been kept from some areas because of security threats were provided with additional protection, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. Also Tuesday, the Zueitina port resumed loading operations, Merhi Abridan, head of the Zueitina Workers Union, said by phone. Libya wants to boost crude production as much as possible because its still exempt from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreement to cut supplies through March. Output climbed to a three-year high of 1.02 million barrels a day in July, the third consecutive monthly gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The supply gains from Libya have contributed to restraining crude prices in 2017, with Brent oil futures in London down about 10 percent since the start of the year. Aframax Atlas Voyager, which was set to complete loading 370,000 barrels of crude from Zueitina after loading from Ras Lanuf port, will be allowed to finish its cargo, Abridan said by phone on Tuesday. Workers were promised their demands will be met, he said. They include getting 20 months of back pay, health insurance, annual leave, overtime and more port maintenance. Security breaches at Sharara were an individual action and the field is secure, Libyas state-run National Oil Corp. said in a statement Sunday. The field has experienced several brief shutdowns in recent months, including a two-day closure in June due to a protest by workers. Pumping was interrupted for hours last week after armed protesters shut some facilities.

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The Latest: Libyan coastguard threatens Spanish ship – Miami Herald

Miami Herald The Latest: Libyan coastguard threatens Spanish ship Miami Herald The latest on Europe's response to the large numbers of refugees and economic migrants hoping to reach and establish new lives on the continent (all times local):. 8:15 p.m.. A Spanish aid group dedicated to saving migrants crossing the Mediterranean … and more »

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August 15, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Where is the AU in Libya’s peace process? – Libya | ReliefWeb – ReliefWeb

At the 29th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa last month, the AU decided to accelerate its efforts to help negotiate a peace deal in Libya. This came as the AU was being sidelined by other international actors such as France. To implement its decision to convene a national dialogue of all role players, the AU has to speedily establish technical and analytical support teams, as well as raise the funds to cope with the rigours of brokering peace in Libyas complex politics. France last month mediated a ceasefire between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (who is backed by the United Nations [UN]) and eastern commander General Khalifa Haftar that was signed on 25 July 2017. The Paris deal followed similar efforts by Italy and Egypt to strengthen the failing Libyan Political Agreement, mediated by the UN in December 2015. Meanwhile, the AU is yet to deliver on its July 2016 resolve to initiate a national dialogue on reconciliation for Libya. As during the 2011 conflict and the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, the AU again seems to be sidelined in the mediation efforts. While poor coordination and limited influence on the ground affect the AUs ability to lead Libyas peace process, its neutral stance in the ongoing war does make it a reliable mediator in this crisis. Poor record of inclusivity in Libya In Paris, al-Sarraj and Haftar agreed to observe a ceasefire and hold elections as soon as possible. The deal is an achievement for newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, who had pledged to make Libya a priority during his election campaign. A peaceful Libya is key to addressing the migration and terror threats from the region. However, the countrys bitterly contested politics will test the viability of the deal. While the peace deal is expected to be part of a broader peace process led by Ghassan Salame, the UN Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission for Libya, it failed to consult and include other powerful local actors who can make or mar its implementation. Notably, the self-declared government of Khalifa Ghwell in Tripoli, the Tobruk Parliament and other key warring leaders were not part of the deal. This criticism also holds true for the mediation efforts that led to the signing of the political agreement of December 2015. Most Libyan stakeholders agree that the political agreement facilitated by the former UN Special Representative for Libya, Martin Kobler, was hastily done, at the expense of its sustainability. This became clear during extensive consultations by the AU High-Level Committee on Libya led by President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo. In a summary of the discussions, seen by the PSC Report, the Libyan stakeholders condemned the haste with which Mr Martin Kobler managed the negotiation process and the signing of the political agreement, in disregard of the deadline requested in order to render this text more inclusive. Absence of tribal and religious leaders from the formal negotiations The Libyan peace process is reminiscent of the situation in Somalia in the early 1990s, when many local actors such as community and religious leaders were left out of peace talks. The major focus of international actors in Libya has been the contested political leadership. Yet the overall process marginalises the tribal leaders who provide some form of governance to about 70% of Libya. Some of these tribal and religious leaders have united under the National Movement for Libya (NML) to advance reconciliation and facilitate ceasefires among militia groups. In April this year about 60 tribal leaders from southern Libya signed a deal in Rome to cease hostilities and combat illegal migrant smugglers. These local leaders, as well as civil society, have a key role to play in the overall political peace process in Libya. What is certain among Libyan stakeholders is the consensus that the political agreement of 2015 needs urgent revision to broaden the spectrum of Libyan actors. Can the AU lead the peace process? At the 29th AU summit the AU Assembly reaffirmed its intention to convene a Libyan national reconciliation dialogue in Addis Ababa, at a date yet to be determined. Since the July 2016 summit in Kigali, the AU has conveyed its interest in initiating such a dialogue, but it has not been able to do so. A number of other talks have meanwhile taken place, including the recent mediations led by Italy and France. Questions are now being asked over the AUs ability and political clout to intervene in Libya. Firstly, some Libyan stakeholders, including Sarraj, regret the fact that the various AU initiatives in Libya are incoherent. The efforts of the High-Level Committee, the High Representative for Libya, former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete and current AU Chairperson Guinean President Alpha Conde are criticised for their lack of coordination and their inability to initiate or convene a national dialogue. At the 29th summit the AU recognised this challenge and said it would establish a coordinating mechanism to address it. Secondly, even if AU activities are harmonised, the continental body arguably cannot influence the warring factions in Libya because it is not a prominent actor in either the realpolitik or the war in Libya. Although the AUs non-involvement in Libyas ongoing civil war counts in its favour, experience shows that the actors that manage to get Libyan stakeholders to the table are those that support either one or the other side of the Libyan divide. This includes the UN, the ultimate legitimising authority with considerable capacity to influence the situation in Libya. Indeed, many Libyan actors are willing to be consulted by the AU, which can help to legitimise their political interests and get these out into the public domain. But they are also cognisant of the continental bodys limited influence on the ground, especially in terms of providing the necessary carrots and sticks to spur actors to action. Opportunities for AU mediation Despite these limitations, the AU should maximise its advantage as a neutral body a reputation it still holds even though some of its member states (such as Egypt) have taken sides in the conflict. The AU can do this by mobilising powerful role players, including the UN, to support its efforts to mediate between the Libyan actors. The AU belongs to a Quartet on Libya, which was established on 18 March to coordinate international efforts to promote the political process in Libya. The other members of the Quartet are the European Union, the League of Arab States and the UN. The Quartet seems to have replaced the International Contact Group for Libya (ICG-L) that was established by the AU Peace and Security Council on 23 September 2014. The ICG-Ls last meeting was in January 2016. At the Quartets second meeting on 23 May, its members acknowledged the AUs important consultations with stakeholders earlier this year. The AU has to build on this to gain the support of the Quartet to mediate between the various Libyan factions. The AUs consultations give the continental body an edge in terms of better understanding the Libyan crisis and the interests of the various stakeholders. For instance, the High-Level Committee consultation revealed al-Sarrajs willingness to abdicate power if the political process requires it. Aguila Saleh, the President of the Tobruk Parliament, wants a reduction in the number of Presidential Council members, from nine to three. Haftar, on the other hand, wants the Presidential Council of nine to be replaced with a Council of State consisting of three members, namely the current president, the speaker of the Tobruk Parliament and the armys general commander. This would entail a Council of State consisting of al-Sarraj, Aguila and himself. While these interests may not be solutions to the Libyan crisis, they are starting points for inclusive negotiations. More capacity needed At the 29th AU summit the AU had decided to expand its representation at the Quartet to include the representatives of the High-Level Committee and the High Representative for Libya, which is currently Kikwete. This should ensure the AUs coordinated response in pushing for a mediatory role and for sustainable solutions. To realise its ambition of enabling national reconciliation in Libya, the AU has to speedily establish technical and analytical support teams and ample resources to cope with the rigours of brokering such a complex peace. It should also coordinate the efforts of Libyas neighbours including Egypt, Algeria and Morocco which have thus far played significant but disparate roles in the conflict.

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The Case Against Elections in Libya | Foreign Affairs – Foreign Affairs

Normally, a call for elections is a sign of a vibrant democracy. In Libya, however, the current rush to hold a vote within a few months from nowa proposal that has been advanced by everyone from United Arab Emirates-backed warlords to the United Nationswill condemn the Libyan people to a future of apartheid and instability. The danger is enshrined in the way Libya holds elections: the current law absurdly gives minority voters more power over the majority, effectively disenfranchising large swaths of the Libyan population and permitting extremist elements and those loyal to the unpopular former regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi to win a disproportionate share of Parliament. Despite these serious defects, partisan groups from within and outside of Libya have called for elections as a way of escaping the UN-sponsored dialoguewhich has failed to provide security, stability, and a legitimate governmentand hope to take advantage of the status quo in order to see their own influence increase. Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the failing internationally-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), has called for elections to take place in March of next year, while Aref Nayed, an oligarch who is running for president and is heavily backed by the UAE, has called for elections to occur within a few months. Non-Libyans are eager for elections as well. The UNs Mission in Libya has been in secret talks with major Libyan players, including politicians in the coastal city of Misrata, while newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting last month between Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar and Sarraj, issuing a statement that called for speedy elections. In a country where factions cannot even agree on how to keep the lights on for their citizens, it seems doubtful that elections will bring peace and stability. The reason for this rush to hold elections is simple. The current political elites wish to maintain their advantage over other candidates, which is best done while they are incumbents. The political machines of

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Moscow backs peace efforts by Libya rivals – News24

Moscow – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday backed the efforts of Libya’s military strongman Khalifa Haftar and his rival UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to reach a peace agreement in the conflict-ridden country. “We actively support the emerging trend to step up the process of political resolution, towards a full restoration of statehood in your country,” Lavrov told Haftar in remarks released by the foreign ministry after the two men met in Moscow. “We know about your efforts, together with Sarraj, aimed at achieving a generally accepted agreement on optimal ways to execute the Skhirat political agreement that would be acceptable for everyone,” Lavrov said. The UN-backed Skhirat Agreement was reached in 2015 as the basis for a political process in Libya, but it had been rejected by Haftar and other factions. “We support your intent on achieving some progress,” Lavrov said. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also met Haftar in Moscow and talks “devoted particular attention to the development of the situation in north Africa, with the stress on the situation in Libya,” Interfax news agency reported, citing a defence ministry statement. Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Sarraj, who was appointed last year to lead the new government of national accord, has been unable to assert his authority outside Tripoli. Haftar’s rival administration is based in Libya’s east. The two rivals agreed a ceasefire at talks in France last month and committed to holding elections, a plan which was endorsed by the UN Security Council. On Monday, Lavrov emphasised the UN’s role in the peace process, adding that the new UN special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, who started work this month, was also due in Moscow. “Unfortunately, the situation in your country continues to be complicated. The threat of extremism has not been overcome, though we know about the actions being taken to eradicate it,” Lavrov said. 24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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