Libyan National Army, Zintan, Wershefana Consolidating Alliances

Negotiations Continue to Resolve Crisis and Reopen the Coastal Road
The Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes Condemn Attacks on Rishvana, Address the Reason for the Closure of the Coastal Road

Zintan and Janzour in talks on reconciliation and return of the displaced

By Ajnadin Mustafa
Tripoli 24 August 2016

The mayor and officials from the far west Tripoli suburb of Janzour have had talks in Zintan with its mayor and officials in a bid to normalise relations between the two communities.

The return to Janzour of those who left because of the political crisis and who are now living in Zintan was one of the issues addressed. The closure of the coast road between Tripoli and Zawia and other issues of contention between the two were also discussed.

Janzour’s relations with the neighbouring Wirshefana are also believed to have been a major point of discussion. Zintan and its Wirshefani allies are the main element in the pro-Libyan National Army (LNA) and pro-House of Representatives (HoR) bloc west of Tripoli. In addition, a significant proportion of Janzour residents are Wirshefanis although they are hardly represented on the municipal council which previously supported the former Libya Dawn alliance, opposed to the Wirshefana, Zintan, the LNA and the HoR.

Any bid by those in control of Janzour to reach an accommodation with the Wirshefana will be eased by improved relations with Zintan.

Meanwhile, in a follow-up to last Saturday’s mediation efforts in the Wirshefana town of Zahra to secure the reopening of the coastal road between Zawia and Tripoli, mayors from a number of Jebel Nafusa and west coast towns were in Zawia yesterday to continue to try and find a solution to the issue.

Editorial Comment:

Major-General Abdul Razzaq Al-Nazhouri’s took action the same day that Libya’s tribal leaders affirmed their support for the Libyan National Army as it prepares to secure the oil crescent. In their statement they declared allegiance to the House of Representatives in Tobruk and called upon their “children” to abandon Ibrahim Jadhran and the oil installation guards that serve Tripoli’s Government of Accord and their army, the LIFG national guard.

Jamahiriya News Agency

Nazhuri sacks Salem Jadhran as mayor of Ajdabiya in new municipal militarisation move

Benghazi, 23 August 2016

In the latest move by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to take over the country’s municipalities, Major-General Abdul Razzaq Al-Nazhouri, the HoR’s military governor for all northern Cyrenaica, has ordered the mayor of Ajdabiya, Salem Jadhran be removed. In his place, he has appointed a retired colonel, Embarek Otman Mohamed Al-Mnafi, as its military commander.

The move was expected. When Nazhuri started the military takeover earlier this month, sacking the mayor of Benghazi and replacing him with a colonel, it was predicted that Ajdabiya would be the next target.

In Benghazi, the political gridlock within the council which prevented it from any effective services was used as the reason for the takeover. In Ajdabiya too there are political divisions which have enabled Nazhuri to act.

Two months ago, three of the town’s councillors demanded that mayor Jadhran, brother of Petroleum Facilities’ Guard leader Ibrahim Jadhran, be sacked, accusing him of using the post for personal gain. It was reported at the time that the demand had the support of not just the Zwai tribe but also a large section of the Magharba tribe, to which the Jadhran family belong.

However, the latest move also needs to be seen within the context of the power struggle between Khalifa Hafter and the LNA on one side and Ibrahim Jadhran and the PFG on the other to control Ajdabiya, the one area in the east not that does not support the LNA, as well as the oilfields and terminals.

Two days ago, in what was clearly a preparatory move, elders from the Magharba tribe issued a statement supporting Hafter and calling on PFG members to join the LNA.

It is far from certain, however, whether the LNA has the military muscle to enact the decision. At the nearby Zueitina oil terminal, the LNA now control the small nearby town, but the PFG still control the terminal itself. In the case of Ajdabiya, Salem Jadhran still has enough support to retain control over certain areas of the town.

The town was quiet but tense today, a member of the PFG there told the Libya Herald, but the expectation was that there would be fighting in the next few days. The LNA, he said, was intent on crushing the PFG.

Yesterday in another move against the country’s mayors, Nazhuri banned them from meeting in the far eastern town of Musaid.

Major-General Abdul Razzaq Al-Nahuri’s Visit to Zintan

By Ajnadin Mustafa
Tripoli, 22 August 2016

The chief of staff, Major-General Abdul Razzaq Al-Nahuri, flew to Zintan today to meet with local military and municipal figures both from Zintan itself and other areas in the west that support the Libyan National Army (LNA).

He was reportedly accompanied by LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari.

According to a official in Zintan, the visit was designed to show support for the Zintanis, the Wirshefana and other LNA-linked forces and at time when there is growing concern of renewed clashes in the Wirshefana area with militants based in Zawia.