By Mouaz Mathi.
Tripoli, 18 June 2016:
The defense minister in the Government of National Accord (GNA) Mahdi Bargathi said that his ministry will provide full support to the Misratan-led Bunyan Marsous (BM) forces and the Petroleum Facility Guards (PFG) in their fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Sirte and elsewhere.
He also declared that the war in Benghazi would end very soon, a promise contantly reiterated by the Libya National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Hafter.
In a meeting yesterday in Ras Lanuf with Ibrahim Jadhran, the head of the PFG, as well as Colonel Bashir Abdelkader Budafira from the Ajdabiya-Sirte operations room, Barghathi called all Libyan military forces to end their divisions and unite to fight against IS and other extremists in the country and work for Libya’s future.
He reportedly ordered Jadhran’s PFG to secure the oilfields in the area. Some of these are now in the hands of pro-LNA forces.
During his visit, he also visited Nufliya and Ben Jawad, with held by IS until liberated earlier this month by Jadhran’s forces.
Barghathi, who is believed to still retain considerable support within the LNA despite Hafter’s opposition to him, has been quietly trying to rally support through meetings with eastern tribes and members of the armed forces. He recently attended a social gathering of the Awagir tribal group asking its elders to provide their support.
Gaining support from tribal leader in the east is important because of the influuence they wield, which if anything has grown in the current anarchic political state of affairs.
This last week also saw Hafter in yet another meeting with tribal leaders, this time with the Supreme Council of Tribes of Benghazi. They pledged their support for him and loyalty to the House of Representatives and the government of Abdullah Al-Thinni which it appointed. It ahs been reported though, that the council also decided that it would try to build bridges between Hafter and Barghathi.