By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 14 August 2014:
In a statement released today, the Caretaker government of Abdullah Thinni assured that all of Libya’s . . .[restrict]ports are still under the “control” of the central authorities.
The statement particularly stressed the control over the port of Benghazi and all of Libya’s oil ports.
The statement comes amidst unconfirmed reports that the various militias, fully or partially in control of some of Libya’s ports, are able to smuggle weapons into airports and ports.
While on Monday, the head of Operation Dignity’s (Karama) Air Force, Brigadier-General Saqr Adam Geroushi told the Libya Herald that ships entering Benghazi Port will be attacked and condemned the central authorities’ decision to ignore Dignity’s call to close the port down.
Geroushi said Operation Dignity would deliver on its promise to attack any ships entering the port as it sought to stop the resupplying by sea of weapons and troops to Islamist brigades in the city. He claimed the reinforcements were arriving to Benghazi form the ports of Mirsata, Ras Lanuf and Derna.
On Saturday the spokesman for Operation Dignity Mohamed Hejazi had said that all shipping to and from Derna and Misrata would also be fired upon. Subsequently, Operation Dignity carried out its threat as far as Derna is concerned and bombed its Port.
Operation Dignity, led by retired General Khalifa Hafter, is an unofficial military operation, not sanctioned by the Libyan state in eastern Libya, against what the Dignity Operation calls Islamist extremists.
For example, it is believed that one of the main reasons for the intense fighting over Tripoli International Airport by the two opposing blocs of militias has been the ability to be able to rearm by importing arms and ammunition.
A good example of the control by various militias and political streams of an airport – and the lack of state control of its assets – was the recent incident in which no less than Libya’s Caretaker Prime Minister, Abdullah Thinni, was refused permission to enter Maetiga Airport to board a plane heading to Tobruk in eastern Libya.
Tobruk is where the House of Representatives was to meet.
The irony of this incident was that Maetiga was supposedly “handed back” to the government in a ceremony a fortnight earlier – the third time in two years that a sham handover of the airport has taken place.
Tripoli city centre Maetiga airport, located in the east of the capital in an area part of Sug il Juma is controlled by Abdelrauf Kara and his Nawasi/Special Deterent Force. Both Kara and his Deterent Force are officially recognized and paid by the Libyan state, however, they are considered as pro Islamist and against the HoR and its meeting in Tobruk.
It will also be recalled that Federalists led by Ibrahim Jadran were able to shut down Libya’s oil exporting ports from summer 2013 until April this year.
It is for these reasons that the government’s statement that all its ports are under central control must be questionable in view of the fact of the clearly proven weakness of the current post revolutionary state transitional government. [/restrict]