Libya: ISIL Terrorizes Rivals Into A Peace Deal

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March 28, 2015: The UN sponsored peace talks between the Tripoli and Tobruk governments have resulted in general agreement on many items but there is not yet a final deal. It is unclear how long it will take to get an agreement both sides will sign and implement. The UN believes they are close, if only because both sides admit that this is not just an effort to bring back peace and prosperity but also a matter of survival. With that in mind the negotiations continue. Meanwhile growing shortages of food and much else is creating more popular unrest and that puts more pressure on the two governments to make a deal and prevent a total collapse of the economy.

The two governments have sort-of cooperated to get oil production up to 622,000 barrels a day (a third of this is equivalent amounts of natural gas). All the attacks on oil facilities production had caused production to drop from 800,000 barrels a day in early December to about 350,000 barrels in early January and about 250,000 by early February. This decline in exports has not had any noticeable impact world oil prices, which continue to slide.

The appearance of ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) in Libya has caused thousands of the more fanatic Islamic terrorists to sign in as affiliates of this highly destructive and uncompromising group. This has not created a united ISIL force and ISIL appears to spend most of its time raiding and looting just to get fed and resupplied with fuel and ammo. The major ISIL effort is an attempt to take control of the eastern city of Sirte, which is currently controlled by pro-Tripoli forces. This is causing a major problem for the Tripoli government which has seen many of its most fanatical supporters switching to ISIL. Most of the Islamic terror groups support the Tripoli government and now find themselves being attacked by the more radical (and unpopular) ISIL. Apparently the Tripoli and Tobruk governments agree that ISIL has to go even if the Tripoli government is under pressure by some of its factions to continue allowing less vicious Islamic terror groups to remain in Libya. The UN and nations in the region want those terrorist sanctuaries shut down and this is something the Tripoli government is under a lot of pressure to go along with. But if they do agree to shut down the Islamic terrorist sanctuaries the leaders of the Tripoli government will lose most of their armed supporters and the Tobruk government will be the only government in Libya. At that point there will still be a major problem dealing with all the Islamic terrorists and the Tobruk government has been asking for outside military help with that. They may get it if they can make peace with (or simply absorb) the Tripoli government.

Nearly 50,000 Egyptians have left Libya since February to escape the growing Islamic terrorist violence there. This flight was triggered by a February 15th ISIL video showing 20 Egyptian Christians (Copts) being beheaded on a Libyan beach. Many Egyptians still work in Libya doing jobs Libyans will not or cannot do and being paid for with oil income. This is a common practice in all Arab oil states. Before the 2011 revolution over a million Egyptians worked in Libya. But the growing chaos in Libya has sharply cut oil production and many Egyptians are returning because they are losing their jobs or not getting paid. Since mid-February Egypt has declared war on ISIL but has not carried out any more air strikes against ISIL targets in Libya since February.

March 27, 2015:  Tripoli government forces have pulled back from the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil export ports, which they have been trying to take since December. While unsuccessful at taking the two ports the combat forced the closure of the two ports. With the withdrawal (apparently negotiated to get oil exports flowing to pay for needed imports) of the Tripoli forces the two ports are expected to be operational soon.

March 25, 2015: In the east (Benghazi) an ISIL suicide car bomb killed twelve people. To the west (Sirte) ISIL fought with pro-Tripoli militias leaving five dead.

March 24, 2015: In the east (Benghazi) an ISIL suicide bomber killed seven people.

March 23, 2015: In the east (Benghazi) an al Qaeda affiliated faction (Libya Shield Force II) lost its leader during fighting with Tobruk government forces. This was on the outskirts of the city, which the Islamic terrorist groups have been pushed out of after months of fighting.

The Tobruk government (which is recognized by the UN) established a rival National Oil Company in Benghazi because it no longer trusts the original one that remained in Tripoli and is subject to pressure from the rival Tripoli government (which is not recognized by the UN). This was apparently part of an effort to encourage the Tripoli government to agree to a peace deal.                                                      

March 21, 2015: Tobruk government forces are fighting on the outskirts of Tripoli and Libyan Air Force (which is loyal to Tobruk) aircraft bombed several targets in and around Tripoli including the only functioning airport. One of these air strikes killed the leader of the Libyan Dawn militia, one of the largest groups supporting the Tripoli government.

March 19, 2015: Outside Tripoli fighting between Tripoli and Tobruk forces left at least nine dead. The air force bombed the Tripoli airport again. This is partly in response to a less effective attacks on a pro-Tobruk airport in the western city of Zintan. The air force has been searching for and bombing any aircraft working for the Tripoli government.

March 18, 2015: In the east (Sirte) ISIL fought with pro-Tripoli militias leaving at least ten dead.

In neighboring Tunisia three Islamic terrorists, later found to have been trained in Libya, attacked a museum crowded with foreign tourists. Although police quickly responded, 21 people died from the terrorist gunfire, most of them foreign tourists. One of the attackers got away and is being sought. The other two attackers were shot dead. Tunisia called for more international efforts to end the violence in Libya and shut down the Islamic terrorist sanctuaries that now exist in Libya.

March 17, 2015: In Tunisia the government confirmed that a senior leader of Tunisian Islamic terrorists had recently been killed fighting ISIL forces in the eastern Libyan city of Sirte.

March 16, 2015: In the east (Sirte) twenty doctors and nurses were waiting for a bus to take them to Tripoli when 30 ISIL men showed up and kidnapped the group. ISIL has taken over parts of Sirte but is under attack by Tripoli and Tobruk forces. The people taken hostage were Filipino, Indian, Serbian, and Ukrainian. It was feared that the hostages would either be held for ransom or, because most are not Moslem, be murdered for another ISIL recruiting video. Fortunately the next day most of the medical personnel were released but told to stay in the city and continue working in the hospital.

March 15, 2015: In Tripoli an ISIL bomb wounded five policemen.

March 14, 2015: In the east (Sirte) ISIL broke its informal truce with pro-Tripoli militias and escalated its effort to take over the entire city.

March 13, 2015: Algeria has offered to host peace talks for the mess in Libya, as has neighboring Morocco. So far this year Libyan factions have held negotiating sessions in both countries, but no peace deal has yet been agreed to. Despite the appearance of ISIL in Libya Algeria and most Western nations (especially the EU) still see a negotiated settlement as the best way to deal with the Libya civil war. The Libyan Tobruk (officially recognized by the UN) government goes along with this, mainly because they cannot afford to annoy the UN and risk losing international recognition as the legitimate government. While Algeria continues to call for an “Algerian solution” to the chaos in Libya, less well publicized are the details of how Algeria achieved that solution. Algeria finally got a political deal with its surviving Islamic terrorists only after a decade of horrific violence. Because of all that slaughter Islamic radicalism lost most of its popular appeal by the late 1990s. This came after Islamic terrorists organized a rebellion earlier in the 1990s and murdered over 100,000 civilians who did not agree with them (or enthusiastically aid them). That bloodbath ended in 2005 with an amnesty deal that attracted most of the remaining Islamic terrorists. Some of the Islamic terrorists still operating in Algeria seem to acknowledge that connection and avoid further antagonizing civilians with the kind of mayhem still popular in places like Libya, Iraq and Syria. Despite the 2005 peace deal there still about a hundred armed Islamic terrorists killed in Algeria during 2014. So far this year it appears that number will be lower for 2015. The increased Algerian border security, especially on the Mali and Libyan borders has led to more arrests, but almost all of those caught are smugglers, not Islamic terrorists. Most of the smugglers are moving consumer goods (cheap fuel, expensive alcohol, gadgets and low level drugs like cannabis, for use in Algeria) and illegal migrants headed for Europe.

March 12, 2015: In Tripoli an ISIL bomb outside a police station caused damage but no casualties. This was the first time ISIL had attacked a police station in Tripoli.

March 11, 2015: In the west a lone pro-Tripoli aircraft attacked Zintan, near the Tunisian border.

In the Algerian capital two days of UN sponsored peace talks between the Tripoli and Tobruk governments ended with sweet words and eagerness to keep talking, but nothing that would end the fighting. The Libyan factions did admit that these talks are not just an effort to bring back peace and prosperity but also a matter of survival.

March 9, 2015: The unexpected terror attack in the Mali capital on the 7th was apparently the work of Libya based Islamic terrorist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The attack was said to be payback for the killing (by French troops) of a Belmokhtar lieutenant in December 2014. Belmokhtar is a well-known North African Islamic terrorist leader who is now believed to be based in southern Libya. Belmokhtar heads Islamic terrorist group Al Mourabitoun,

 

 

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