Op-Ed: Coup plotters still have control of their headquarters in Tripoli

Posted Oct 17, 2016 by Ken Hanly
The Rixos coup leaders of their self-declared Salvation Government remain protected by loyal militia who form a ring around the Rixos Hotel and guest houses across the road.
The leader of the Tripoli-based unrecognised Libyan government  Khalifa al-Ghweil (C)  stands next t...
The leader of the Tripoli-based unrecognised Libyan government, Khalifa al-Ghweil (C), stands next to a foundation stone for the reconstruction of Tripoli International Airport
The Interior Ministry ordered that those responsible for the coup be arrested some time ago. As a tweet reports, Serraj stated: "I have instructed the Interior Ministry to arrest those involved in storming of the State Council. #Libya". Rather than being subject to arrest, the coup members were joined by the Presidential Guard who are supposed to be defending the Presidential Council(PC) of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA).
PM and head of the PC, Faiez Serraj, acted as if there were no coup by visiting a Tripoli hospital. He also attended a parade of police cadets who are reported to have been trained and hired to protect the Interior Ministry. Faiez claimed that there would be zero tolerance for those who sought to undermine the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) and instead sow chaos. He again noted that he had ordered the arrest of the coup leader Khalif Ghwell and his associates. He also ordered those occupying the seized buildings to evacuate the building. No attempt has been made to arrest the coup members and this is the third day of the coup now. The most consistent actions to derail the implementation of the LPA have been those of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) associated with the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) government. Not only is he tolerated, but the UN envoy Martin Kobler continually attempts to accommodate him and give him a role in a new GNA that he would accept. Perhaps Serraj should ask Haftar to evacuate the oil ports he has seized.
The Libya Herald describes Tripoli as descending into anarchy over the last two days but noted tonight some parts of the city appeared quite calm and normal. Some tweets claim fighting near the Roxios hotel: "There's a big fight going on right now - I think the Rexus cld be under fire. Big guns." However reports were conflicting as a tweet notes: "Many conflicting reports. People are simply edgy and scared" There have been casualties from the sporadic outbreaks of violence with one woman killed and several others wounded in a camp for internally displaced persons, apparently the result of stray shells.
Haltem Tajouri's Tripoli Revolutionary Brigades (TRB) has expanded its network of checkpoints and moved armoured vehicles into Martyr's Square. Last night, shops in the square were ordered to close by Tajouri's men. However, there are even rumors of fights within the brigades. This is the same group that earlier took over GNA intelligence headquarters. One report claims Tajouri is said by the UN to be guilty of war crimes, and he is also accused by some of having murdered a number of prisoners who were released recently by court order. Tajouri may attack the coup headquarters whether the GNA wants that to happen or not. We will see. There appear to be sporadic clashes that may have nothing to do with the coup but are just between militias defending their own areas. In many places people are just going on with a normal life. University classes are continuing as usual.