ISIS IN ACTION
On 22 February, two young jihadi fighters who reportedly fought for Islamic State (ISIS) were arrested in Ajdabiya by a group calling itself the Tariq Ibn Ziyad Brigade. They had escaped the Libyan National Army (LNA) siege in Benghazi. One of the men was Mohamed Mustafa al-Mugharbi (aka Randa al-Abed), a high-profile fighter for ISIS in Benghazi’s central Sabri district. On 24 February, Tariq Ibn Ziyad Brigade released a video showing the execution of al-Mugharbi in Ajdabiya. The group is said to be a Madakhli Salafist unit operating under the command of the LNA.
Al-Mugharbi was reportedly connected with the gruesome execution of an LNA soldier, the video of which was recently published on Libyan social media. The other fighter was a young man from Tripoli called Jasem al-Kikli. A third man from Ajdabiya was also arrested on the grounds of providing safe passage to terrorists.
The House of Representatives (HoR) is still struggling to appoint a committee to negotiate amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) on its behalf. Last week, the HoR President Ageelah Saleh gave the HoR an ultimatum to appoint a new representative committee for the negotiations. However, a delegation has yet been appointed. The Libyan peace initiative being negotiated by Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria is predicated on a new round of negotiations being held between the Government of National Accord (GNA), the HoR and the High Council of State (HCS) with regional facilitation. The aim is to agree mutually agreed amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
There has been an indirect war of words between the British and Russian Ministers of Defence on Libya recently. GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj is expected to travel to Moscow in the coming days in an attempt to convince Russia to back the new regionally-brokered political deal. Russia is a key backer of Khalifa Haftar and it is hoped that Moscow can pressure Haftar to participate in negotiations. The political stalemate is likely to continue until after a planned meeting between Presidents Trump and Sissi, during which Libya is expected to be a core topic of discussion.
On 22 February, a delegation from a Tunisian political opposition visited Haftar in Benghazi, provoking an official rebuttal from the office of the Tunisian presidency. On 22 February, the GNA’s Ministry of Local Government issued an order banning local governors and municipal councils from travelling abroad to meet with international officials.
Libya has lost its right to vote in the United Nations General Assembly for the second year in a row after it failed to pay the annual membership fee. Libya now has to pay a minimum of $6.5 million to cover its outstanding debts if it is to regain the right to vote.
This article was used with explicit permission from the author.