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Op-Ed: Libyan National Army in Zintan, Libya, threatens Tripoli attack

First reports of the warning came in a tweet yesterday: ” Khalifa Hafter’s top aide Abdul Raziq Nadouri: Our forces are 10km away from Tripoli, liberating it is very soon.” Today there is a report in the Libya Herald.
The warning came from Chief of Staff Abdul Razak Al-Nazhuri during the graduation ceremony of 1,600 House of Representatives (HoR) Ministry of the Interior Special Forces in Zintan. He also conducted a tour of forces loyal to the LNA in the region. The recruits are said to have come from all regions of the country.

The LNA and General Haftar, the commander-in-chief of the LNA, have warned a number of times that as part of Operation Dignity they would be liberating Tripoli. The ZIntan brigades burned the parliament buildings after Haftar started his operation in Benghazi as shown on the appended video This happened back in May of 2014. The Zintan brigades were later driven from Tripoli and the airport they were protecting by the Libya Dawn militia associated with the rival Salvation government of the General National Congress (GNC). The fighting completely destroyed the Tripoli International Airport and some planes. The airport is still not open.The Zintan brigades are loyal to Haftar as well as the HoR and consider themselves part of the LNA, even though they’re in the west. They reject the GNA.

Nazhuri said that there must be one unified Libya with one Libyan army and police. He said the LNA would not accept ministers in the GNA who he claimed had been supplying terror groups in Benghazi with weapons to fight the LNA. He said that the LNA wanted to send a message that there would be no “Karzai”- the former head of the Afghan government often viewed as a puppet- in Libya. The graduation ceremony was meant as a show of strength of the LNA in the west and meant to make it clear that pro-GNA militia are not in control of all of western Libya.

While Haftar started a move towards Sirte with many troops and vehicles from the south and east almost three weeks ago, he has not yet attacked the Islamic State as promised. He is busy attacking the Shura Council.fighters in Sirte, fighters instrumental in driving IS from Derna, with his Operation Volcano, The Zintan brigades have been idle bystanders. As the Herald reports: Equally, Zintan’s Presidency Council (PC) representative, Mohamed Al-Aswad has been boycotting the PC while the rest of the PC based in the Bu Sitta Naval Base have continued without him. The High State Council, dominated by former members of the GNC and led by Zintan-arch enemy Abdelrahman Swehli have also continued to impose itself while Zintan seems to be side-lined from the new power share-out. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General Martin Kobler, and the PM of the GNA government Faiez Serraj have so far not responded to the threat from the LNA. The main stream media have yet to pay much attention either.

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