Libya: Using COVID-19 to Escalate War

The attack on the Al-Watiyah Air Base by the al-Sarraj militias and Erdogan’s mercenaries was part of a plan to seamlessly redress the humanitarian truce.

The militias of Fayez Al-Sarraj’s government do not cease in their attempts to ignite war on various fighting axes, whether in Tripoli or in the Misrata hub, by violating the humanitarian truce.  The attack on the air force base adjacent to the border with Tunisia is evidence that the United Nations and the major countries still operate under the same decades-old illusion, which involves placing their trust in lawless, undisciplined militias.  Militias that consist of individuals who do not respect international law or work with field ethics, motivated solely by financial and political gain in service to  ideological sectarian projects.

The past few days have seen the transfer of more mercenaries and weapons from Turkey to Tripoli and Misrata, in defiance of international resolutions. There is an agreement between the militias, Turkey, and the forces of political Islam on two important matters: targeting army positions, while claiming that the army is responsible for the collapse of the armistice. The events of the past years taught the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood that the world does not pay attention to facts in the field as much as it does to those who scream the loudest, who excel in fabricating lies,  media misinformation, especially when supported by the Qatari financier.

The Al-Wefaq government deliberately set up an isolation center for Corona patients at the Mitiga base, which has been turned into a Turkish colony. Its civilian wing is witnessing the continued transfer of mercenaries through uninterrupted flights, even after procedures approved by the Al-Sarraj government to prevent coronavirus, while its military wing has been designated for Turkish officers.  The army cannot target that base or they will be accused of intentionally bombing a coronavirus patient headquarters.

The opening of the isolation center coincided with the announcement of the first case of corona by the al-Sarraj government’s Ministry of Health  on Tuesday, indicating that the base of Mitiga base, occupied by the Turks, has immunity from military targeting, while Osama al-Juili’s militia-backed mercenaries launched  an attack on Al-Watiyah Air Force Base, which  has been under the control of the National Army since 2014, and  is the largest base of its kind in the country, and the only one not used for anything other than military action, unlike the remaining  bases that include wings of civilian air activity.

Al-Gwaili, who belongs to the Zintan tribe, led the attack on the Al-Watiyah base, along with local militants, Syrian and African mercenaries, to target the base where the majority of its employees are sons of his own city and tribe loyal to the National Army, which  is sufficient to know what is being planned in the dark rooms, as the militias seek to fan a war between the people of the region and within one family.

Likewise, on all fighting hubs, the militias supported by the mercenaries of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are harassing the army in Ain Zara, Airport Road, Salah al-Din, al-Mashra, al-Hayrah and al-Ramla, and in the east and south of Misrata, with the aim of dragging the armed forces into a battle that warlords say is settled for their benefit thanks to Turkish support and thousands of mercenaries transferred from northwestern Syria to northwestern Libya.

The militias accelerated the pace of their terror by bombing the civilian neighbourhoods of Tarhuna and Qasr bin Ghashir, and their leaders are those calling for the annihilation the city of Tarhuna, because it is the main incubator for the stationing of the army in the western region, and the base of the 9th brigade known for its  decisive role in the battlefield.

During the past few days, a Qatari-Turkish order to push towards war was sent to the militias and mercenaries, for a number of reasons. First, Erdogan’s regime believed that the National Army was involved in overseeing the implementation of the quarantine imposed in the areas under its control. Secondly, the world’s attention, including the countries that influence the Libyan file, is focused on the Corona crisis, and cannot therefore take any effective measures regarding the situation in Libya. And thirdly, because keeping the army in its current position represents a victory for the army on the eve of the first anniversary of the launch of the Flood of Dignity operation on the fourth of next April. Fourth, because the stalemate will lead to the continued closure of oil fields and ports in a manner that increases financial and economic pressure on the Saraj government and the policy of pillaging adopted by Erdogan.

It is also known that the army’s attrition operations continued during the last few days and led to high casualties and demoralization among the mercenaries, to the extent that  over a thousand Syrian mercenaries requested to be returned to their country, as it became clear that there was a hidden struggle between militias.

The interim head of the UN mission, Stephanie Williams, may condemn the military operations and call for their cessation, adopting militia claims that the national army is violating the armistice or bombing civilians, as they did on Tuesday in a statement about targeting al-Ruwaimi prison, but the push for war is coming from Turkey and Qatar, to take advantage of the local and international circumstances.  But the wind will not flow as Erdogan’s ships desire, because the Libyan army also has a mission to complete, and it will not stand idly before the continued aggression on its positions and the civilian population.

The attack launched by the militias of Al-Sarraj and Erdogan’s mercenaries on the base of Al-Watiyah was part of a plan to escalate tensions and  irreversibly destroy the humanitarian truce. Their leadership announced the operation volcano of rage which intends to strike the army and remove it from the liberated areas. Will the United Nations condemn this or will it follow its usual formula:  discipline the army, allow militias to escape consequences, all the while turning a blind eye to continued Turkish militarization and  Qatari financing.

Al Arab

Translation by Internationalist 360°