By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 31 August 2014:
Splits have emerged in the Misrata-led Libya Dawn coalition just days after . . .[restrict]the UN Security Council said it would impose sanctions against those deemed to be threatening the country’s stability.
In a flurry of official statements the Dawn Operation has, in a surprising U-turn, said it supports the House of Representatives and will negotiate with the UN and EU organisations in Misrata. Dawn said its backed the House of Representatives according to the country’s constitutional declarations and would protect it, calling on the legislature to meet in Tripoli or anywhere that its forces were present.
Having frequently described the House of Representatives as illegitimate over the past month, it seems the one grievance Libya Dawn has held on to is the new legislature’s decision to meet in Tobruk which is an Operation Dignity stronghold.
The Misratan-led operation went as far as to say that the General National Congress (GNC), which resurrected itself during Libya Dawn’s battle for Tripoli Airport and with which it was previously aligned, no longer had any mandate.
The move leaves the GNC, its Prime Minister Omar Hassi and its President Nouri Abu Sahmain almost completely isolated.
Yesterday the Misratan Central Shield announced it was willing to negotiate with the UN and Misrata Local Council has said it will host talks on the subjects of reconciliation, with the UN envoy Benardino Leon and the EU’s special envoy.
As a result part of Libya Dawn coalition broke away to form the Tripoli Shura Council of Revolutionaries, which appears to mirror the Benghazi Shura Council of Revolutionaries recently formed as an umbrella group for Islamist groups, including Ansar Al-Sharia. The new council comprises revolutionary brigades which had fought alongside Libya Central Shield to take Tripoli International Airport. Prominent Islamist revolutionary figures from Tripoli including Salah Burqi and Rhenewa Al-Kikli, the head of Abu Saleem brigade, are amongst its leaders.
The Tripoli Shura Council of Revolutionaries said it was installing itself as the sole legitimate authority in the capital and was committed to correcting the path of the 17 February Revolution. The group said it was opposed to “the coup”, a reference to Operation Dignity and its leader General Khalifa Hafter and said it was committed to a peaceful transfer of power and would “cooperate with all international covenants”.
It is not clear how closely the Tripoli Shura Council of Revolutionaries will work with its former Misratan allies, to whom it has referred as heroes. Sources within Misrata said, however, that they would be looking closely to see how the group operated in the coming weeks before any commitment was made.
Libya Dawn said that it will pursue and bring to justice those responsible for deaths and injuries at a Tawerghan refugee camp in the capital. Tawergha Local Council has accused Libya Central Shield of perpetrating the attacks. The local council, which sits in exile after the destruction of its town during the revolution, has said one of the refugees at the Al-Falah camp was killed in the attacks yesterday.
There are reports from the local council that the man, a farmer, was executed in cold blood and a number of other camp residents were also injured in the violence.
Last week the UN Security Council passed a resolution on Libya authorising sanctions including travel bans and financial penalties against those who are deemed to have threatened Libya’s stability and democratic progress.
Bernardino Leon, who is set to take over as the UN’s special envoy to Libya tomorrow, has said it is his goal to enter into meaningful talks with all parties involved in the current national crisis. The UN has, however, backed the House of Representatives as the sole authority in the country, which may be why Libya Dawn has made such a radical about-face.