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UN-backed Libyan Government Asks US for “Sufficient” Arms to Combat Terror

ISIS IN ACTION
On 15 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) said it had conducted two airstrikes against an ISIS target in the desert southeast of Sirte. According to an LNA air force commander, the target was a storage facility and hideout for ISIS fighters 90km south of Harawah. The site was reportedly being used as a base from which to launch attacks.

On 17 November, the US conducted a drone strike against ISIS targets in the desert south of Sirte. It was reportedly successful, but no information has yet been officially released. According to a US defense official quoted by Fox News, the strike killed several ISIS fighters. The strike was the US’s first airstrike in Libya for two months.

Sirte is suffering from administrative carnage and a lack of security apparatus in the city. Col. al-Zarroug al-Sweti, head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) security sector reactivation committee in Sirte, said on 16 November that the city is still having major problems building a proper security structure. It also continues to face problems bringing local militias from the al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) alliance under control. The city continues to face widespread looting as well as shortages and high prices.

WESTERN RESPONSE
On 18 November, the head of the GNA, Fayez al-Serraj, held a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in Libya. Serraj and Sullivan discussed bilateral relations, economic cooperation, the petroleum sector and political development with Sullivan reiterating the US support of the UN Action Plan. During the meeting, Serraj thanked the US for their help in fighting terrorism and requested the US continue supporting Libya by helping to “sufficiently” arm its anti-terror organizations.

In his report to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 15 November, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame warned that impunity and lawlessness continue to prevail across Libya. He highlighted several recent examples of possible war crimes including airstrikes on civilians in Derna, the apparent execution of prisoners in Benghazi and Wershefana, and the dire conditions experienced by migrants in Libya. Salame said that, ‘If Libyans alone cannot combat impunity for war crimes, it is time for the international community to consider mechanisms that can help them do so; possibly including joint tribunals’.

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.