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Misrata Brigades Threaten to Withdraw Loyalty to GNA

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Forces loyal to the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) are saying they have neared the end of the battle with ISIS.

The European Union (EU) along with the United States provided military support through training for GNA loyal armed groups and weaponry.

Amidst Libya’s fight with ISIS hope sprang amongst GNA officials and the international community that the fight against ISIS could be what unites independent brigades and armed groups in the country. The fight against ISIS could end any day now yet instead of unity, tensions continue to grow between governmental powers in the east and the west as well as military groups from various cities across Libya.

Brigades from Misrata are known to be the most powerful brigades in the fight against ISIS. Misrata’s brigades make up about 70% of the GNA loyal soldiers fighting ISIS according to Mohamed Yousef, one of the soldiers from Misrata.

Leaked recordings that surfaced late last week have shook the country when evidence that Britain, France and the US are possibly supporting the GNA’s rival government based in the country’s eastern side and led by General Khalifa Haftar.

Europe and the US seem to have great interest in a stabilized Libya and see that the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayaz Seraj is what will unify the country. The recordings raise many questions about where Britain, France and the US’s true intentions are for Libya.

Misrata’s brigades have given their loyalty to the GNA but there have many concerns that their men have been carrying this war and they have suffered the most losses. Frustrations grew stronger when the GNA suggested that Misrata brigades unite with their rivals in their fight against ISIS.

Yousef explains that the Misrata brigades “get nothing from the unity government. If nothing changes, Seraj’s time will come. Maybe he will do well, but if nothing changes?”

The GNA relies heavily on brigades such as Misrata’s for defending Libya against ISIS and other threats to Libya’s security since it does not have an official army. However with rising tension there is growing worry that the brigades will walk away from the GNA. This is a risk to Libya’s security and its ability to rid the country of ISIS, especially since many armed groups fighting with the GNA were recruited through Misrata forces.

Ahmad Messmari, a spokesperson for Haftar’s forces said they have no connection to the GNA loyal forces though they “are monitoring Sirte.” Haftar has chosen not to help in the fight against ISIS but rather focus his army in establishing his power in the East.

But after two months of fighting against ISIS and an end in sight, Misrata brigades are concerned about this continuous tone of accommodating Haftar in Libya’s future when his forced sat back and watched.

Mattia Toaldo, the European Council on Foreign Relations expert on Libya said that once Sirte is ISIS free Haftar would possibly plan to work towards a compromise with Misrata, whereas Misrata would not be interested despite being exhausted by the fight against ISIS.

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