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French Defense Minister Calls Libya a “Totally Failed State”

ISIS IN ACTION
On 28 June, two ISIS captives being held in Misrata, one Libyan and the other Egyptian, were said to have escaped from a prison belonging to the military intelligence agency in al-Kharrouba area in Misrata. The reports have not been independently verified and could be misinformation designed to muddy Misrata’s reputation. Sources in Misrata deny that any ISIS prisoners have escaped.

The Egyptian national is said to be Asharf Muhsen Ali, an explosives expert who was in Derna before departing the city on 19 April 2016. He was taken prisoner during the battle between the Misratan al-Bunyan al-Marsus forces and ISIS in Sirte last year.

The Libyan national is said to be Emrajaa Mabruk al-Ghaithi, a young man from Derna. He reportedly became a member of the Omar al-Mukhtar brigade in 2011 under the leadership of Zeyad Balaam, who was until very recently a commander of one of the units affiliated with the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB). Al-Ghaithi later joined Ibrahim Jadhran and in 2014 pledged loyalty to ISIS and joined their ranks in Benghazi.

On 28 June, the LNA found the remains of three of its iconic fighters in Street 10 in Sabri including LNA officer Suliman al-Houthi, who became famous following a video that showed his execution at the hands of ISIS fighters in Sabri. Suliman’s words to his killers on video ‘End it with Honour’ became popular and helped increase local support for the LNA. Notably, the man who killed him was captured by the LNA earlier this year.

WESTERN RESPONSE
In an interview on 29 June with French newspaper La Matinale du Monde, French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called Libya a ‘totally failed state’ and warned that although ISIS’ influence in Libya had been reduced, particularly around Sirte, Derna and Benghazi, the jihadists have split up and the threat remains. He said that while the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed on 17 December, 2015 needed to remain in place, the agreement’s architecture needs to be adjusted with the supervision of the UN. He added that Khalifa Haftar had to be part of the solution and that Libya was a priority for France.

On 30 June, the UN Security Council (UNSC) extended sanctions banning illicit crude oil exports from Libya and expanded measures to cover the illicit export of refined petroleum products from Libya, including by parallel institutions which are not acting under the authority of the Government of National Accord (GNA). The resolution also urged Member States to assist the GNA, upon its request, by providing it with the necessary security and capacity-building assistance, in response to threats to Libyan security and in defeating ISIS, Ansar aI-Sharia, and other groups associated with aI-Qaida operating in Libya.

On 1 July, UNSMIL published a farewell message from outgoing UN Special Envoy to Libya Martin Kobler. In his message Kobler said that Libyans could scrap the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), renegotiate it, or build on it and reshape it to address the concerns of everyone. He stressed that the LPA is only meant to guide a transitional period and it is not intended to replace a constitution. Kobler is to be replaced by Lebanese academic Ghassan Salame.

Libya-Analysis is the most read independent English-language blog on Libyan affairs. It is run by Jason Pack, founder of EyeOnISISinLibya.com and researcher of World History at Cambridge University

This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.