Dawn of Libya forces impose control on Tripoli

Although the forces of Gen. Khalifa Hifter withstood the attacks of tribal fighters in Tripoli, it has lost control of several sites and institutions in the Libyan capital.

al-monitor A general view is seen of the passenger terminal of Tripoli International Airport, Aug. 24, 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Aimen Elsahli.

Topics covered

tripoli, libyan civil war, libya, benghazi, abdel fattah al-sisi

Aug 25, 2014

Libya is witnessing radical changes after the fall of Tripoli International Airport, and the loss of Zintan Brigades to the Dawn of Libya forces, even though the former withstood the attacks of the tribal alliance for weeks. The Libyan House of Representatives rushed into explicitly supporting the forces of Khalifa Hifter, labeling the Dawn of Libya and Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries as terrorist groups, and dismissing Chief of Staff Abdulsalam Jad Allah al-Salheen al-Obaidi. Despite this, the General National Conference, whose mandate expired, pulled the rug from under the new parliament and announced its dissolution and the resumption of its sessions.

The Dawn of Libya forces imposed its control over the majority of camps and vital institutions in Tripoli, which were controlled by the Qaaqaa, Sawaq and Muhammad al-Madani Brigades, affiliated with the Zintan tribe. The latest of these camps to fall under the grip of the Dawn of Libya forces was the headquarters of the Islamic Dawa, which was controlled by the Tripoli Revolutionaries and the Khums Revolutionaries brigades. This was done after the Dawn of Libya forces, led by Libyan Military Intelligence head Salah Badi, stormed two days ago [Aug. 23] into Tripoli International Airport and al-Naqkiya camp, one of the largest camps of Zintan Brigades in Tripoli. The clashes resulted in scores of dead and wounded from both parties.

After the imposition of control over Tripoli and Benghazi, the forces of Hifter have lost the majority of their sites in the two most important strategic cities of Libya. Their presence is currently limited to Tobruk, Bayda, Zintan and some small desert villages southwest of Libya, in addition to some resistance zones in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Despite this, Hifter still has cards in hand. The House of Representatives, which represents the new legitimacy and the only institution elected in Libya, announced in a statement issued with no official seal its unwavering support for Hifter. It also gave him the priority in air operations, whereby aircraft bombarded Benghazi yesterday [Aug. 24], and the Dawn of Libya forces in Tripoli two days ago [Aug. 23]. Fingers were pointed at Egypt and the UAE, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi denied the accusations.

The Libyan parliament also assigned Abdul Razzaq Nazuri as chief of staff as a replacement to Obaidi, who's affiliated with the Dawn of Libya forces, even though the latter called on the Libya Shield forces to cease fire and take a neutral stand. Obaidi is also supported by the army revolutionaries, who warned the parliament a few days ago against taking decisions related to the army leaderships, which might further increase the split in the already brittle Libyan army.

The Libyan parliament sent a parliamentary delegation to Egypt to meet with the Egyptian foreign affairs minister in an attempt to encourage the country to support the Libya Operation Dignity led by Hifter and intervene militarily to settle the conflict.

At the same time, the General National Congress led by Nouri Abusahmain announced the resumption of its sessions, taking advantage of the constitutional mistake the parliament made when it did not respect the constitutional decision to receive power from the General National Congress in Tripoli and hold its sessions in Benghazi. This means that the Congress will be inclined toward forming a new government and Libya will be torn between two governments. The Dawn of Libya forces and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries seem to be militarily settling the conflict in their favor, unless the Egyptian army exerts efforts to impose Hifter as a leader.

The brigades and tribes allied with Libya Operation Dignity:

  • Air Forces and Air Defense: Located in Benina and Benghazi airports, as well as in Tubrok airport, adjacent to Egyptian borders.
  • Saiqa Forces in Benghazi: Comprising 3,000 fighters. They lost all their main camps in Benghazi and are led by Wanis Abu Khamada. Their actual leader, however, is Salem al-Naili, known as “Afarit.”
  • Libyan Police: The different divisions of the Libyan police announced joining Operation Dignity, but took on no prominent fighting roles.
  • Barqa (Cyrenaica) Region Brigades: Comprising the oil port guards in east of Libya and a number of tribal fighters in east of Libya, which support federalism.
  • Zintan Brigades: Comprising Qaaqaa, Sawaq and al-Madani brigades, in addition to the airport guards and the guards of the western borders with Algeria. They are deployed in the cities Zintan and Tripoli, and southwest of Libya.

The Dawn of Libya forces include the following:

Continue reading this article by registering at no cost and get unlimited access to:
  • Al-Monitor Archives
  • The Week in Review
  • Exclusive Events
  • Invitation-only Briefings

More from  Mustafa Daleh