Will the House of Representatives be nipped in the bud by ongoing violence?
The question on every one’s tongue is will the House of Representatives be nipped in the bud by ongoing violence or will it be able to establish traction against the militias due to its democratic mandate? As clashes have not abated around Tripoli’s airport, a surge in violence has been registered during the past days in Benghazi. Military bases belonging to Saiqa Special Forces have been targeted by repeated attacks and suicide bombings from the Islamist side, leading in turn to a resumption of aerial attacks from the Benina airbase. Furthermore, Saiqa Commander Wanis Bukhamada publicly called for reinforcements to be sent in support of the fight against ‘terrorists’ and for a clear statement on these events to be issued by the Government.
For his part, in a speech to the Libyan people Wednesday night, caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni reiterated calls for dialogue and restraint, calling in particular on the cities of Zintan and Misrata due to the role played by militias from these cities in recent Tripoli’s airport clashes. Yet when he attempted to go to Tubroq, he was prevented from using Maitiga airport by the Islamist militias that control it.
At the high politics level, despite national and international calls for an immediate transition, the GNC has set August 4th as the date for transferring power to the House of Representatives. It is worth wondering if delaying the transfer of power any further does not run the risk of presenting the new legislative body with an insurmountable and degenerated security situation. Furthermore, since no actor on Libya’s political scene currently possesses the strength to break the ongoing stalemate or tackle it, postponing the work of the House of Representatives can be seen as a bid to wear out the legitimacy of this newly-elected body and to nip its potential in the bud. GNC member Abdullah al-Qamaty from Qaminis openly hinted at this possibility, framing ongoing violence in Western Libya as an attempt to prevent institutional transfer of power.
Lastly, as expected, widespread violence and instability took their toll on Libya’s oil output as well. More details on this can be found in Aiman al-Warfalli and Ahmed Elumami piece for Euronews:
The El-Feel oilfield last week was forced to cut back due to clashes in Tripoli, where the two rival brigades of militias have fought over control of the airport. El-Feel, operated by state-run National Oil Corporation and Italy’s ENI, is protected by security guards from the northwestern Zintan region, whose fighters also protect the airport where clashes have gone on for a week. National Oil Company spokesman Mohamed El Harari said output as of Monday was around 450,000 bpd compared with 555,000 bpd on Thursday.
Still, oil industry progress remains in flux. One of Libya’s ports, Brega, is expected to be operating within a “few days” after the government reached a deal with protesting security guards to end a blockade, NOC’s Harari said.
According to Reuters AIS Live tanker tracking service, no tankers had loaded so far at Brega. One crude shipment left the 230,000 barrels-per-day Zawiya port, supplied by the El Sharara oilfield, which was recently reopened. The Olympic Spirit II, carrying Aframax, crude oil, headed to the Spanish port of Bilbao having left July 20.