On 31 July, delegations from Misrata and eastern Libya, including House of Representatives (HoR) president Agilah Saleh, traveled to Cairo to attend meetings facilitated by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shukri, and Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Hijazi. The talks are due to start on 1 August, but the topic and intended outcome of the talks are not yet known.
On 27 July, the UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement praising the meeting between Serraj and Haftar and asserting their support for the Joint Declaration issued following the talks in Paris. The same statement welcomed the new Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salamé and highlighted the importance of the UN’s central role in facilitating Libyan-led political dialogue. The US State Department also declared its support for the joint declaration, and stated that the U.S. remains “committed to working with Libya and our international partners to help resolve the political conflict and advance peace and long-term stability in Libya.”
ISIS IN ACTION
On 29 July, the Sabratha municipal council mobilized a new security force called the ‘anti-Islamic State (ISIS) Operation Room’ after agreement for the move was reached with local tribes last week. The force is intended to police the areas around Sabratha and Mellitah, and the council appointed Col. Omar Abdul Jalil from Sabratha as head of the new force. Tensions between the new force and the notorious local ‘Ammo’ militia led to a brief closure of the coastal road around Mellitah. In consequence, the ‘Ammo’ militia, which is led by Ahmed Dabbashi and reportedly runs the migrant smuggling networks across this region, withdrew from some of its current positions to around 20 km west of Sabratha.
The anti-ISIS force announcement comes in a broader context of Sabratha municipal council’s recent efforts to empower local governance and strengthen rule of law from the bottom up. On the same day, Sabratha municipal council successfully launched the debut meeting of its ‘association of municipalities’. The association includes 45 local councils and aims to give local governments more weight in policy, security and service delivery.
Local tensions in Sirte between residents and Government of National Accord (GNA)-affiliated, Misratan-led al-Bunyan al- Marsus (BM) forces continue for fear of a Libyan National Army (LNA) incursion into the city. BM forces raised the anti-ISIS alert level last week and on 26 July, they claimed to have detected more ISIS movements on al-Load agricultural project on the road between Sirte and Jufra. On 27 July, unidentified aircraft launched two airstrikes targeting ISIS positions on the road, according to local sources.
This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.