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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 10:45
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

 

16 February 2015 by BBC Middle East

 

Egypt has called on the international community to intervene against Islamic State (IS) militants in Libya.

 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that what was happening in Libya was a threat to world peace and security. His remarks came as Egyptian jets bombed IS targets in response to a militant video of the apparent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians. Libya has been in chaos since 2011, with militias battling for control of territory and two rival governments. But the BBC's Jim Muir says there is little international appetite for military involvement and the emphasis remains on trying to find a political and diplomatic solution to the country's problems.

 

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17 février 2015 2 17 /02 /février /2015 08:45
Roberta Pinotti, ministre italienne de la défense, plaide pour une action en Libye

 

15 février 2015 Liberation.fr

 

C’était son ancienne colonie et elle connaît le terrain. «L’Italie est prête à guider en Libye une coalition de pays de la région, européens et d’Afrique du Nord, pour arrêter la progression du califat, qui est parvenu à 350 kilomètres de nos côtes», a affirmé, dimanche, la ministre de la Défense Roberta Pinotti, du gouvernement de centre gauche de Matteo Renzi. L’hypothèse de l’instauration d’un califat en Libye alarme Rome.

 

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16 février 2015 1 16 /02 /février /2015 17:45
Statement by HR/VP Federica Mogherini on the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya

 

16/02/2015 EEAS

 

"The EU stands in solidarity with the people and the government of Egypt in the wake of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those massacred by terrorists in Libya.

 

I will meet Foreign Minister Sameh Shouky in Washington later this week and I will convey to him personally my condolences. We will also discuss the challenges ahead together with other leaders of the region and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

 

This act of terror is also a stark reminder of the plight of civilians in Libya – whether they are Libyans or migrants and whatever their faith.

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16 février 2015 1 16 /02 /février /2015 08:30
Après la décapitation de 21 Chrétiens, l'Egypte bombarde l'Etat islamique en Libye

 

16/02/2015 Par lefigaro.fr, AFP, AP, Reuters Agences

 

Tôt lundi matin, les avions de combat de l'armée de l'air égyptienne ont visé des camps, des sites d'entraînement et des arsenaux du groupe terroriste, situés à proximité de la frontière avec la Libye.

 

Le président égyptien Abdel Fattah al-Sissi avait averti: les «assassins» seront punis de la manière «adéquate». Moins de 24 heures après la diffusion d'une vidéo montrant la décapitation de 21 Egyptiens coptes revendiquée par l'Etat islamique (EI), des avions de combats de l'armée de l'air égyptienne ont bombardé tôt lundi matin des positions de Daech en Libye. Dans le viseur de l'armée: des camps, des sites d'entraînement et des arsenaux de l'EI situés à proximité de la frontière avec la Libye.

Dimanche, la branche libyenne du groupe terroriste a mis en ligne une vidéo montrant la décapitation de 21 Egyptiens de confession chrétienne copte, récemment kidnappés en Libye. Sur cette vidéo de 5 minutes, des hommes portant des combinaisons oranges, semblables à celles d'autres otages exécutés ces derniers mois en Syrie, sont alignés sur une plage les mains menottées dans le dos. Un homme habillé en treillis militaire s'exprime en anglais avec un couteau à la main alors que les autres bourreaux, un derrière chaque prisonnier, sont intégralement vêtus de noir et silencieux. Tous sont masqués.

 

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12 février 2015 4 12 /02 /février /2015 18:45
US studying special operations airlift needs in Africa

 

12 February 2015 by Oscar Nkala/defenceWeb

 

The United States military is seeking to identify companies able to provide fixed wing air transport services on behalf of US Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in countries in Africa.

 

On February 4 the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) register issued a notice saying Special Operations Command Africa was “conducting market research to identify parties having an interest in, and the resources to support, an emerging requirement for mobile fixed wing air transport services to move personnel and cargo within the northern regions of Africa and surrounding countries”.

 

SOCOM said the airlift services will cover the African nations of Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal. Jordan, which is likely to the base for the Africa operations, is the only Middle Eastern country covered by the airlift requirement.

 

The fixed wing aircraft involved must be capable of transporting a minimum of 1 000 pounds and maximum of 4 500 pounds to include a mix of a maximum of 12 passengers and/or cargo. It must also be capable of taking off/landing on improved and unimproved dirt airfields of a minimum of 1 800 feet in length to support supply and personnel transportation requirements.

 

"The primary operation area where the air transportation support could be provided include, but are not be limited to, Libya, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Senegal, and Morocco. Other locations within northern Africa may be dictated by operational requirements and timely coordination will ensure contractor support," the notice stated.

 

Responses are called for by February 23.

 

The notice comes amid calls for the Pentagon to prepare for a large-scale counter-insurgency campaign to destroy West African-based terrorist groups like Boko Haram and several other Islamist militant groups operating in Mali, Niger, Algeria, Mauritania and other 'safe havens' in the Sahel and Lake Chad sub-regions.

 

In remarks made during an address at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, last week, Africa Command (Africom) head General David Rodriguez said a US-led counter-insurgency campaign was necessary to eliminate the threat posed by new terrorist groups based in West Africa.

 

He said Africom is already preparing a response which will include operations that will target 'forces affiliated to Boko Haram' in four West African countries neighbouring Nigeria.

 

Presenting a lecture to students at the US Army's West Point academy early this month, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) commander General Joseph Votel said US Army commando teams must start preparing now for new deployments against Boko Haram and the Islamic State in north and west Africa.

 

“Boko Haram is creating fertile ground for (terrorist) expansion into other areas. While it is not yet a direct threat to the (US) homeland, it is impacting indirectly our interests in this particular area (West Africa) and creating another area of instability,” General Votel said.

 

So far, US special operations forces operating in the Africa and Middle Eastern regions have conducted a number of raids against al Shabaab in Somalia, Islamist militants in Libya and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:45
Qui sont les principales forces en présence en Libye?

 

02 février 2015 Antoine Malo - Le Journal du Dimanche

 

La guerre civile oppose quatre groupes armés.

 

L'armée nationale libyenne

Elle agrège à la fois les forces spéciales (Saïqa), les hommes fidèles au général Haftar, et des militaires de l'ancien régime Kadhafi. Certaines milices s'y sont ralliées, comme celle, pro-laïque, de Zintan.

 

L'Aube de la Libye ou Fajr Libya

Coalition de brigades islamistes née durant l'été 2014. Elle contrôle la capitale Tripoli, où elle dispose d'un gouvernement et d'un parlement dominés par les Frères musulmans, et la plupart des villes de l'Ouest libyen dont son fief, Misrata.

 

Ansar Al-Charia

Organisation salafiste djihadiste née en juin 2012 et liée à Al-Qaida. Elle est aujourd'hui présente à Benghazi, Syrte et Derna.

 

Organisation de L'État islamique en Libye

Elle a fait son apparition en Libye à Derna, dans l'est, en octobre 2014. Le groupe Majilis Choura Chabab Al-Islam (Conseil consultatif de la jeunesse islamique) lui a fait allégeance et a établi un émirat. D'autres cellules existent dans le pays, notamment à Tripoli, où l'organisation a revendiqué l'attaque contre l'hôtel Corinthia qui fait 9 morts mardi dernier.

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4 février 2015 3 04 /02 /février /2015 08:45
Le Général Khalifa Haftar dans son bureau de la base militaire Al-Marj photo Alfred Hackensberger JDD

Le Général Khalifa Haftar dans son bureau de la base militaire Al-Marj photo Alfred Hackensberger JDD

 

2 février 2015 Antoine Malo, envoyé spécial à Al-Marj (Libye) - Le Journal du Dimanche

 

Le général Khalifa Haftar dirige l’opération Dignité, qui vise à éradiquer les djihadistes libyens et les milices islamistes. Rencontre avec un homme de fer qui appelle les Occidentaux à l’aide.

 

Pour les islamistes libyens, il est l'homme à abattre. Ansar Al-Charia, le groupe djihadiste, lui a promis le même sort que Mouammar Kadhafi. Alors pour rencontrer le général Khalifa Haftar, il faut accepter de suivre certaines règles. À l'entrée du camp où il a établi son QG, on laisse passeport et téléphone portable. Puis, après avoir passé un portique de sécurité, on se plie à une fouille corporelle. Avant de patienter dans une pièce fermée, surveillé par un garde. Il faut dire qu'en juin 2014, le général de 71 ans a échappé de justesse à un attentat à la voiture piégée. L'attaque a tué trois de ses hommes, blessé deux de ses fils. Ces derniers ont quitté la Libye. Lui est resté. De son ton égal, il explique : "Je n'ai pas peur de mourir. Si c'est le prix à payer pour protéger mon pays, alors je suis prêt à le payer."

 

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3 février 2015 2 03 /02 /février /2015 21:45
En Libye, face aux djihadistes de Benghazi

 

01.02.2015

 

REPORTAGE - Quatre ans après le printemps libyen réprimé par Kadhafi et l'intervention occidentale, qui mit fin à sa dictature, le pays est plongé dans une guerre civile qui menace  la sécurité de ses voisins. Notre reporter a pu retourner dans le berceau de la révolution aux mains d'Ansar Al-Charia.

 

Au téléphone, Mohamed Salama avait prévenu. "La Benghazi que vous avez connue n'existe plus", avait lancé le reporter libyen, l'un des derniers à y travailler encore. La voiture filait alors vers l'ouest, sur la bande d'asphalte qui longe la mer et les marais salants pour rejoindre la capitale de l'Est libyen. Une route coupée tous les 20 km par des barrages de l'armée nationale libyenne. L'un de leurs officiers, basé à Al-Marj, à une centaine de kilomètres au nord-est, avait découragé toute visite au-delà du dernier barrage. "Il y a encore des combats et les djihadistes sont toujours là. Et, s'ils vous attrapent, vous savez ce qu'ils font : ils coupent les têtes…"

 

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19 janvier 2015 1 19 /01 /janvier /2015 07:45
Libye: après les milices, l’armée annonce un cessez-le-feu

 

18-01-2015 par RFI

 

En Libye, deux jours après l’annonce d’un cessez-le-feu par la coalition de milices Aube de la Libye, proche du Parlement sortant de Tripoli, l’armée libyenne, qui soutient le Parlement de Tobrouk et l'opération Dignité de Khalifa Haftar, a annoncé à son tour dimanche un cessez-le-feu. Ces déclarations ont lieu tandis que les négociations de Genève entamées la semaine dernière doivent se poursuivre dans les prochains jours.

 

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12 janvier 2015 1 12 /01 /janvier /2015 17:45
Contre les djihadistes, la Libye veut de l'aide

 

 

12.01.2015 BBC Afrique

 

Le gouvernement libyen se plaint d'être abandonné tout seul à combattre les djihadistes à l'intérieur de ses frontières.

 

L'exécutif à Tripoli exhorte alors la communauté internationale à lui venir au secours.

Dans un entretien à l'Agence France Presse, le Premier ministre Abdallah Al-Thenni souligne que son pays ne reçoit aucune aide, tandis qu'il y a une offensive internationale contre les djihadistes en Syrie et en Irak.

La Libye est en proie à un chaos alimenté par des factions hostiles depuis la chute du colonel Kadhafi en octobre 2011.

La Libye est dirigée par deux gouvernements qui se disputent le pouvoir à distance.

L’équipe reconnue par la communauté internationale et chapeautée par Abdallah Al-Thenni siège à Al-Baïda dans l'est du pays.

L'autre gouvernement, proche des miliciens de Fajr Libya (Aube de la Libye), contrôle Tripoli, la capitale.

"Nous craignons une infiltration en Libye des membres de l'Etat islamique si l'étau se resserre autour d'eux en Syrie et en Irak," a déclaré le Premier ministre Thenni.

La campagne de l'Otan qui a conduit à la chute de Kadhafi a été emmenée par la France.

Mais récemment, le président François Hollande a écarté l'idée d'une intervention militaire de son pays en France.

"La France n'interviendra pas en Libye parce que c'est à la communauté internationale de prendre ses responsabilités," commente le Premier ministre libyen.

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8 janvier 2015 4 08 /01 /janvier /2015 17:45
Libyan Air Force receives four new Su-27 fighter jets

 

7 January 2015 airforce-technology.com

 

The Libyan Air Force has reportedly taken delivery of four new Russian-made Su-27 Flanker fighter aircraft from an undisclosed country.

 

An unnamed Libyan official was quoted by official pro HoR LANA news agency as saying that informed military sources in the Libyan National Army (LNA) confirmed on 5 January that four new Sukhoi fighter jets effectively joined the squadrons of the Libyan Air Force.

 

The aircraft are capable of covering a distance of 3,530km with a maximum speed of 2,500kph. It is also claimed they are capable of staying airborne for a long duration, and can manoeuvre and re-attack up to three times.

 

They are expected to augment LNA's capabilities in the fight against extremist and terrorist militias across the country.

 

As Libya is not listed as an official buyer of the Sukhoi Su-27, it is believed to have acquired second-hand or refurbished fighters from other countries.

 

However, the LNA did not disclose whether the jets were new, or loaned from neighbouring states or allies, or an addition of upgraded old aircraft to the existing Air Force squadrons.

 

Meanwhile, Libya Herald reported that there is no independent confirmation of the delivery of the fighters.

 

The delivery comes as the Libyan Armed Forces pledge to intensify airstrikes on all vital infrastructure in the city of Misrata.

 

General Khalifa Haftar spokesman colonel Mohamed Hejazy was quoted by the Financial Times as saying: "Misurata's ports are used to transfer terrorist and extremist elements, whether Libyan or foreign.

 

"Misurata is the most dangerous threat to the Libyan state today.

 

"Therefore, all institutions in Misurata, whether its ports or airport, constitute threats against Libyans."

 

According to Libya Herald, the Libyan Air Force already threatened to shoot down any Sudanese or Turkish Military or civilian aircraft that enters its airspace.

 

This warning came a day after bombing a Greek-operated oil tanker, killing two crew members.

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18 décembre 2014 4 18 /12 /décembre /2014 11:45
Le président tchadien appelle l’OTAN à intervenir à nouveau en Libye

 

17.12.2014 Par Nathalie Guibert (envoyée spéciale à Dakar, Sénégal) - Le Monde.fr

 

Pour le président du Tchad Idriss Déby Itno, « toutes les difficultés » sécuritaires de la région saharo-sahélienne, victime du djihadisme et des mouvements criminels, « sont nées en 2011 » de l’intervention militaire occidentale, et il faut désormais intervenir en Libye.

 

« Nos amis européens et occidentaux ne nous ont pas demandé quand ils ont attaqué la Libye. Non plus quand ils ont divisé le Soudan en deux », a lancé le chef de l’Etat tchadien à Dakar, mardi 16 décembre, en clôture du premier Forum international pour la paix et la sécurité en Afrique. Cette rencontre, lancée à l’initiative de la France et du Sénégal, a réuni experts, militaires, diplomates et chefs d’Etat pendant deux jours.

 

Répondant au président sénégalais Macky Sall, qui avait jugé quelques minutes plus tôt qu’en Libye « le travail [était] inachevé », M. Déby a rétorqué : « Le travail a été achevé ! La destruction de la Libye ! L’assassinat de Kadhafi. Ce qui n’a pas eu lieu, c’est le service après-vente. »

 

« La solution est entre les mains de l’OTAN »

 

Dans la grande salle de l’hôtel King Fahd de Dakar, bondée, le discours est allé droit aux oreilles d’un homme assis au premier rang : Gérard Longuet, ancien ministre de la défense français, qui a exécuté la décision du président Nicolas Sarkozy en lançant les Rafale contre les rebelles en Libye en 2011.

 

Mais le président tchadien, précieux allié de la France dans ses opérations militaires antiterroristes au Mali depuis deux ans, s’est gardé de charger directement Paris. Il en appelle à l’OTAN : « La solution est entre les mains de l’OTAN, qui a créé le désordre. Les Nations unies, qui ont donné le quitus, sont responsables aussi », a-t-il ajouté. M. Déby a exclu tout dialogue avec des « intégristes » – les groupes armés islamistes libyens –, et répété : « Il n’y a que l’OTAN qui ait les moyens nécessaires. Si on veut résoudre les problèmes du Sahara, il faut intervenir en Libye. »

 

La France a été plus directement critiquée par son homologue, le président mauritanien, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Lui a condamné le versement de rançons dans les affaires d’otages : « Il faut éviter le laxisme envers les preneurs d’otages. Il faut éviter de payer des rançons qui leur donnent encore plus de moyens d’exister. C’est encourager le terrorisme », a-t-il déclaré.

 

Les participants au Forum de Dakar ont déclaré à l’issue de deux jours d’échange vouloir unir leurs moyens pour attaquer le problème du terrorisme en Afrique.

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4 décembre 2014 4 04 /12 /décembre /2014 16:45
Islamic State setting up Libya training camps, US says

 

4 December 2014 BBC Africa

 

Islamic State militants have set up training camps in eastern Libya, the head of the US Africa command says.

 

Gen David Rodriguez said there could be "a couple of hundred'' IS fighters undergoing training at the sites. He said the camps were at a very early stage, but the US was watching them "carefully to see how it develops". Libya has been in turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011, with various tribes, militias and political factions fighting for power. Several Islamist groups are competing for power in the east of the country, with some militants recently declaring allegiance to IS.

 

Syria connection

 

Speaking in Washington on Wednesday, Gen Rodriguez said it was not yet clear how closely aligned the trainees were with IS. "It's mainly about people coming for training and logistics support right now, for training sites," he said. "Right now it's just small and very nascent and we just have to see how it goes." Correspondents say that in the aftermath of the revolution that ousted Gaddafi, many rebel fighters left to fight with militant groups in Syria, and some are believed to have returned home. The elected government has lost Libya's three main cities amid the political crisis. Benghazi, the country's second city, is in the hands of Islamist fighters, and the internationally recognised parliament is now based in the coastal town of Tobruk in the east. The US has been leading an international coalition conducting air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria in recent months.

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30 novembre 2014 7 30 /11 /novembre /2014 08:45
Map: Islamic State's Growing Sphere of Influence

Map: Islamic State's Growing Sphere of Influence

 

November 18, 2014 By Mirco Keilberth, Juliane von Mittelstaedt and Christoph Reuter

 

Chaos, disillusionment and oppression provide the perfect conditions for Islamic State. Currently, the Islamist extremists are expanding from Syria and Iraq into North Africa. Several local groups have pledged their allegiance.

 

The caliphate has a beach. It is located on the Mediterranean Sea around 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of Crete in Darna. The eastern Libya city has a population of around 80,000, a beautiful old town and an 18th century mosque, from which the black flag of the Islamic State flies. The port city is equipped with Sharia courts and an "Islamic Police" force which patrols the streets in all-terrain vehicles. A wall has been built in the university to separate female students from their male counterparts and the disciplines of law, natural sciences and languages have all been abolished. Those who would question the city's new societal order risk death.

Darna has become a colony of terror, and it is the first Islamic State enclave in North Africa. The conditions in Libya are perfect for the radical Islamists: a disintegrating state, a location that is strategically well situated and home to the largest oil reserves on the continent. Should Islamic State (IS) manage to establish control over a significant portion of Libya, it could trigger the destabilization of the entire Arab world.

The IS puts down roots wherever chaos reigns, where governments are weakest and where disillusionment over the Arab Spring is deepest. In recent weeks, terror groups that had thus far operated locally have quickly begun siding with the extremists from IS.

In September, it was the Algerian group Soldiers of the Caliphate that threw in its lot with Islamic State. As though following a script, the group immediately beheaded a French mountaineer and uploaded the video to the Internet. In October, the "caliphate" was proclaimed in Darna. And last week, the strongest Egyptian terrorist group likewise announced its affiliation with IS.

 

The Latest Label of Horror

Several inconsequential groups have also pledged loyalty to Islamic State, while others have gone so far as to announce their support for the group, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and the Taliban in Pakistan. All of them are seeking to benefit from the attraction and the brutal reputation of the Islamic State, in addition to the weapons, money and fighters that are easier to assemble using the latest label of horror.

Many such groups once joined al-Qaida for similar reasons, but Osama bin Laden's forces have long-since become overshadowed by IS. Whereas al-Qaida was an ideological establishment with far-flung franchises, Islamic State seeks to exert control over entire regions, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the so-called "caliph."

Now, Tunisia of all places, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, has supplied the largest number of foreign jihadists to Islamic State. Many in the country are deeply disappointed with the new freedoms they now possess, and Islamists have also long been able to recruit new followers in Tunisia. In Egypt, where a new military dictatorship took control following the revolution, radical terror organizations have sprouted. And in Libya, fighting among militia groups has resulted in a complete collapse of state order.

Moreover, Islamists were long persecuted in these countries prior to the deposition of their secular rulers. The result was that for decades, jihadists under the thumb of Hosni Mubarak, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Moammar Gadhafi left their home countries. But now, a few old jihadists and many who recently joined IS in Syria are coming back, and they have thrown their support behind Islamic State.


LIBYA: WHERE THE STATE HAS DISAPPEARED

Darna has long been a radical stronghold, having produced the greatest number of foreign suicide attackers from one single city in Iraq after 2004. Oppression by Gadhafi's security forces made it easy for Islamists to sell the jihad as an alternative to living under a dictatorship and the regime was happy to let them go. Every Islamist who left to fight the Russians or the Americans was one less danger back home.

After Gadhafi was toppled in 2011, many rebels headed for Syria to fight against Bashar Assad. At the same time, the revolution gave birth to several militia groups, not all of which were radical but some leaned Islamist. Extremists subsequently found a foothold in eastern Libya and perpetrated a series of bloody attacks against the police and the army, leading the state to pull back. The extremists remained. Today, Darna is ruled by several militia groups, the most important of which is the Islamic Youth Shura Council, an organization founded in the spring after splintering off from the Libyan terror group Ansar al-Sharia. In Darna, the leaders of Ansar al-Sharia have joined forces with Islamic State while in Benghazi they have not.

Initially, IS emerged in Libya in the form of a group of fighters returning from Syria. The so-called al-Battar Brigade brought Darna under its control by murdering politicians, judges and attorneys -- but also by killing commanders of other militias. Then, in September, an "emir" sent by Islamic State arrived in Darna, a previously little-known Yemenite named Mohammed Abdullah. On Oct. 5, the first meeting was held between the men from the Islamic State and Shura Council leaders, during which they announced their alliance and the founding of Islamic State's "Barka Province." At the end of October, hundreds of citizens publically proclaimed their loyalty to the "caliph."

Afterwards, an activist named Mohamed Batoha asked the predominantly foreign extremists what business they had being in Darna. Two days later, he was shot to death by gunmen in a passing vehicle, just as dozens of other critics had been before him.

 

'Hardly Different from Syria or Iraq'

"The fight against Gadhafi began in Benghazi on Feb. 17, 2011. But it is here where it will be determined whether the fight against the Islamists will escalate into a conflagration across all of North Africa," says a young activist who asked to remain anonymous. He is one of the few who has the courage to report from Darna. He too has been shot at by the Islamists, and he only barely escaped with his life. Since then, he has been trying to leave, but the extremists have set up roadblocks all around the city. "Eastern Libya is hardly any different from Syria or Iraq," he says.

The militias hunt down everybody who voices criticism, be it even just a comment posted on Facebook. Just last Tuesday, three young anti-IS activists were beheaded on camera in Darna. Suspected criminals are lashed. A murderer was executed in the local football stadium. Islamists are treated no better. The leader of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi has been missing ever since he refused to join the "caliphate" -- in all likelihood he was killed. A further militia leader has applied for asylum in Turkey.

The militias operate four camps on the outskirts of the city where they train several hundred foreigners for the fight in Syria. But ever since the Libyan army, under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar, took over large sections of Benghazi, which had been controlled by Islamists until then, the jihadists have focused their efforts here. Some have even returned from Syria to provide support. They are thought to have established weapons depots in the forested mountains above Darna and to have stored short-range missiles in a warehouse belonging to a textile factory.

Last week, Darna was bombarded for the first time by the air force under General Haftar's control, which is supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. But such strikes will hardly eliminate the Islamists. More plausible is that the bombings will increase the danger that militias, operating independently thus far, will join forces to fight the general's troops -- and will become part of the Islamic State alliance. Last week provided a look at the dangers facing the country. Islamists detonated a series of bombs at state facilities and at the embassies of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in Tripoli.

Since summer, the Libyan capital has been under the control of an Islamist alliance calling itself "Fajr Libya" -- Dawn Libya. The group doesn't belong to Islamic State, but the route to the "caliphate" nevertheless runs through Tripoli. In August, Fajr Libya took control of Mitiga Airport in Tripoli, leaving the terminal in ruins and destroyed jets at the gates. A plastic tarp hanging over the entrance reads "International Airport Tripoli." And Mitiga is an international airport, even if there is essentially only a single destination: the "caliphate."

Flights originating in Mitiga are not allowed to land in many cities, but there are several flights weekly to Istanbul and Casablanca. "Libya is the hub for Islamists from Europe and North Africa," says a Libyan activist who escaped to Tunis. The Jihad route leads from Tunisia via Tripoli into Turkey and on to Syria. Thousands have followed the path into Syria, and only a few have returned.


TUNISIA: THE COUNTRY OF JIHADISTS

Mohammed Soussi, from Tunis, is one of those who traveled the Jihad route. Soussi, 27, holds a degree in economic science and had never been particularly devout. The soldier, who had served his country for two years, recently called his parents. But he placed his call from Turkey. "I am fighting for the Islamic State," he said, "for the liberation of Palestine and against Bashar Assad."

Taoufik Soussi, a 63-year-old retired military officer, has reconstructed the path his son took and he now knows where everything got started: in the Elmanar Mosque not far from the technical university in Tunis. Mohammed met an imam there who told him about the Islamic State and who ultimately paid his fare for a collective taxi, which took him to the Libyan border. Fighters with an Islamist militia from Sabratha were waiting on the other side, part of the Ansar al-Sharia network. Presumably, they brought Mohammed to Sabratha, as they had many other Tunisians, and spent several weeks training him for the fight in Syria. They then took him to Mitiga Airport.

According to government figures, 2,400 Tunisians have traveled to Syria, though other estimates place the number of people from Tunisia fighting for the al-Nusra Front or IS at 3,000. The Interior Ministry claims that a further 8,000 men have been prevented from traveling to Syria. Some potential jihadists were identified because they only possessed a one-way ticket to Istanbul while others were arrested at the Libyan border. Some 400 men have returned from Syria, according to government statistics, with most of them now in prison.

Tunisia is the country where the Arab Spring got its start. And while dictators or chaos have followed uprisings in Egypt, Syria and Libya, Tunisia has since held two parliamentary elections. Just recently, there was a peaceful transfer of power from the moderate Islamist party Ennahda to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. On average, the Tunisian population of 11 million is better educated than the people in almost any other county in the region. Why, then, do so many people from this country join the jihad?

 

Horrific Inventions

The imam who recruited Mohammed Soussi -- and who wishes to remain anonymous -- says: "The Islamic State is our promised land," a state "in which Muslims have wrested back their dignity." Stories about IS fighters killing fellow Muslims and raping women, he says, are merely horrific inventions of the Western media.

Many Tunisians are prepared to believe him. For them, the fight against Assad -- or at least the struggle they see as being that -- is merely a continuation of their own, incomplete revolution. The conditions that moved the street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi to light himself on fire -- the event on Dec. 17, 2010 which triggered the Tunisian revolt -- are still present. Many have yet to benefit from the country's newfound freedoms and the police are just as brutal as they have always been. Furthermore, one-third of all men with a university degree are unemployed and those lucky enough to have a job hardly earn enough to make ends meet. They are confronted with a choice: wait years for a job in Tunisia, jump on a rickety ship bound for Europe or join the jihad in Syria.

"Islamic State propaganda promises a fight for liberation similar to many Latin American movements in the 1970s," says Ahmed Naifar, who teaches religious studies at Zitouna University in Tunis. He believes that frustrated young Tunisians see the trip to Syria as a kind of revolt against corruption, brutality and daily indignities. It is a mood that is prevalent in many countries that experienced Arab Spring revolts.

Indeed, within the "caliphate" there are even proper Tunisian exile communities. They update their friends back home using Facebook and Twitter and they paint a picture of the good life, complete with their own homes, wives and monthly incomes. That is what attracts many to join, not the fighting, which many Tunisians have no use for. Indeed, the "caliphate" has become so popular that its leaders can choose who they would like to accept. They post "help-wanted" ads on Facebook for oil engineers, mechanics and translators.

Computer expert Hamsa Bin Ekbel, for example, was supposed to organize workshops in Syria for European jihadists. Most of them hardly speak any Arabic, but they and the videos they appear in are vital for Islamic State propaganda. That kind of work is also about the only thing Ekbel had to offer: He is paralyzed from the waist down and sits in a wheelchair. Hamsa was looking for recognition, says his brother Mohammed Bin Ekbel, and he was welcomed when he arrived in Syria.

 

A Desire to Build Up the 'Caliphate'

But his enthusiasm for Islamic State didn't last long. And after the propaganda success of recruiting the "wheelchair jihad," Hamsa Bin Ekbel quickly became a nuisance. The problems began with the fact that he needed three helpers, given that the "caliphate" isn't exactly amenable to wheelchairs. He edited a few videos before his Sudanese commander suggested it might be best if he returned home.

After just a few weeks, he was back home in Tunis. Hamsa Bin Ekbel only agreed to a short interview out of his fear that he will be arrested, but his desire to help build up the "caliphate" remains. "The society that is developing there is more just than capitalism and democracy," he says. "In Raqqa, there is a consumer protection authority which monitors hygiene in the slaughter houses, garbage is collected and buses are on time."

Hamsa Bin Ekbel was luckier than Mohammed Soussi, the young soldier.

This June, eight months after his disappearance, Taoufik Soussi received a second phone call from Syria. "Your son is now a martyr. You can be proud of him," said the man on the other end of the line. Mohammed, the caller said, was injured by an al-Nusra Front rocket attack and taken to a hospital in Turkey, where he died. He was buried in Syria.

Soussi's mourning father and Hamsa Bin Ekbel's brother have now founded RATTA, the Rescue Association of Tunisians Trapped Abroad, which now attends to around 150 families. They don't have sufficient money for an office so they meet in a café to watch the most recent IS videos. Mohammed Bin Ekbel clicks on a YouTube video from Kobani, where many Tunisians are fighting on behalf of Islamic State. He recognizes one of the fighters from other films; his family has asked RATTA for help bringing their son home. "No chance," Ekbel says quietly.

 

A Shot to the Head

But they hope to at least bring home those who have become disillusioned. Once they arrive in Syria, many realize that IS spends more time fighting against other rebel groups than they do against the regime. Some 300 fighters interested in returning home have turned themselves in to Syrian troops and have been arrested, Ekbel says.

The two activists blame the Ennahda government for having done too little to stop the jihad tourism. The moderate Islamist party seemed to believe they could control and moderate the radicals, but instead, they unwittingly strengthened the extremists, with their imams taking control of over 1,100 mosques that had previously been run by the secular regime.

Even in the 1980s, Tunisians joined the jihad in Afghanistan. The Tunisian Abu Ayyat, for example, was a comrade of Osama bin Laden's before being arrested and deported in 2003, only to be released after the revolution whereupon he founded Ansar al-Sharia. In 2012, the group attacked the US Embassy in Tunisia before murdering two opposition politicians in 2013. Only after that did the Tunisian government declare the group a terrorist organization. By then, however, the group had already send hundreds, if not thousands, of men to Syria.

In March 2012, the government banned men under 35 from traveling to Turkey and Syria and security officials stepped up efforts to combat radicals. Now, fewer men are making the trip to Syria, leading officials to focus their attentions on the radicalized returnees. Those suspected of having participated in the fighting are imprisoned. But it will be difficult to keep tabs on all jihadists. And what happens when men like Abu Jihad return?

The name refers to a Tunisian man of around 30 who is a member of the notorious IS "military police" -- and can be seen in one video killing several prisoners with a shot to the head.


EGYPT: PROTEST AGAINST OPPRESSION

Since last month, the "Sinai Province" has also been part of the "caliphate." There, Egypt's most radical terror group proclaimed its loyalty to Islamic State: Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, whose name essentially means "supporters of Jerusalem." For IS, the Sinai Peninsula is important both symbolically as well as strategically. Egypt is the most populous Arab country as well as being the historically the most important -- and Sinai borders on Israel, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, making it useful as a launch pad for terror attacks in Israel and Cairo and on Western tourists.

Ansar Bait al-Makdis also emerged out of the vacuum created by the collapse of the Mubarak regime and since the military putsch in July 2013, the group has carried out dozens of attacks killing hundreds of police officers and soldiers. For months, the group discussed a possible alignment with IS, with emissaries traveling back and forth. Mohammed Haydar Zammar is thought to be one of the IS leaders who has been negotiating with the Sinai terrorist group since the beginning of the year.

A naturalized German citizen of Syrian origin, Zammar belonged to the Hamburg cell of Mohammed Atta. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Zammar was picked up by the CIA and taken to Syria, where Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, participated in his interrogation. In early 2014, he was released in a prisoner exchange orchestrated by the Syrian rebel group Ahrar al Sham. "But days later, he simply disappeared," a negotiation leader told SPIEGEL. "He immediately went to the IS in Raqqa. He had likely planned it beforehand." Zammar is thought to have organized money transfers to Sinai and he is presumed to be in the region as well, say sources close to him. Were that true, it would be an indication that IS directly finances and controls local groups.

 

 

Conditions in the Sinai are perfect for Islamic State: It is bitterly poor, largely lawless, a hub of drug, weapons and human trafficking, and it is populated by Bedouins, who oppose the government in Cairo. But moderate Islamists and regime critics across Egypt make for attractive IS targets: They are brutally oppressed by the Egyptian military and many of them are in prison.

Or they are disillusioned men like Ahmed al-Darawi. A 36-year-old former policeman and father of two, he supported the Egyptian revolution. In 2012, he was even a candidate in the elections as a convinced democrat, full of hope for a better future.

But disappointed by the revolt and by the return of the military regime, Darawi radicalized and flew to Turkey last year before joining a rebel group in Syria that later pledged loyalty to Islamic State. Not long later, he blew himself up in Iraq -- a suicide bomber from the Arab Spring.

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16 novembre 2014 7 16 /11 /novembre /2014 08:45
Libya: This Could End Very Badly

 

November 15, 2014: Strategy Page

 

Despite the continued fighting in the east and attacks on some oil fields, oil shipments have continued. There have been some interruptions recently, but the national oil company has managed to cope and is still on schedule to get oil shipments up to a million barrels a day by the end of the year. That goal is threated by undisciplined factions technically allied with the Tripoli government who continue to fight over control of oil facilities even though this is counterproductive (these factions have no way to selling any oil they seize). Oil shipments peaked at 800,000 barrels a day in September but have since dropped to 500,000 a day. Pre-2011 shipments were three time that.

 

The battle for Benghazi continues. For over a month there has been heavy fighting as some Islamic terror groups refuse to leave the city and fight to the death. The pro-government forces of general Hiftar are using artillery, air power and armored vehicles to methodically kill the remaining Islamic terrorists in the city. A month of this sort of thing has created several thousand casualties, including over 400 dead. One the major side effects of all this fighting was the disruption of the normal activities in the city. As the largest city in Eastern Libya, Benghazi contained essential administrative and logistical (warehouses with key items like medical supplies) operations. The disruption caused by the fighting created shortages of medical supplies and interrupted administrative support for many oil facilities in the east. Everyone concerned had to scramble to make alternate arrangements.

 

In the southeast the army has another problem with the growing number of Islamic terrorist camps being set up in southwest Libya (where the borders of Libya, Algeria and Niger meet). Algeria and Niger are hard pressed to prevent all illegal crossings. As many Islamic terrorists are caught doing so, many more make it through. Malian Islamic terrorists from bases in southern Libya are now regularly moving south to carry out operations in northern Mali. All this is possible because of the Libyan civil war. That conflict is mainly up north along the coast and no one bothers with Islamic terrorists who only kill across the border in Mali. There is a similar problem in Afghanistan with Islamic terrorists operations from several sanctuary areas in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. French and American intelligence know a lot about all the illegal activity in southern Libya. UAVs and satellites reveal details of Islamic terrorist camps and convoys sneaking across the southern borders. Local spies and informants are used to obtain more detailed information and from that it is known that most of the armed men in the south are more intent on making money (usually smuggling guns, drugs or people) than Islamic terrorism. The big problem in southern Libya is that there is no law, aside from what little local tribal elders will hand out concerning tribal matters. The Libyan government has some security forces down there, but they are largely confined to the few towns in the desert area. The Tobruk government says it will deal with the lawless south as soon as it deals with a rival Islamic terrorist backed government in Tripoli.

 

Libya continues to come apart as a nation. The Tripoli and Tobruk governments have agreed to not interfere with oil operations, but the Tripoli government does not control all the Islamic terrorist groups that are technically under its command. Despite that there is a general understanding that the oil income, which the Tobruk government largely controls, buys essentials (like food) that will continue to be distributed to all Libyans. So far that seems to be working. This is what always mattered most because the oil money pays for everything. The cash from oil sales is going into the Central Bank, which tends to answer to the Tobruk parliament because that is the one with international recognition and that provides access to the international banking system. The various factions are pressuring the Central Bank and courts to favor them but it is the international community that controls the ability of Libya to buy essential (most of the food and everything else) needed to keep Libyans alive recognizes the Tobruck officials. That internationally recognized government set up shop in the small port city of Tobruk (1,600 kilometers east of Tripoli) after encountering hostility from militias loyal to the pre-June government. Many other government offices moved as well and are finding space where they can. The rebel governments in Tripoli and the Tobruk are fighting over who controls more than $100 billion held by the Central Bank. A lot of that cash is overseas and since Tobruk has international and UN support the Tripoli rebels are having a hard time maintaining control of any oil income. If the Tripoli government tries to sell oil on the black market they will have most of the world going after them with bank account shutdowns and seizure of the tankers they use (either in port or on the high seas). In the end, it’s the oil money that will bring peace, or abject poverty for all. The government is running out of cash and credit. Another year or two of this and life gets very miserable for Libyans. The UN speaks of Libya has sliding into a state of anarchy. No one is willing to intervene militarily and the UN has constant problems with gangsters and Islamic terrorists attacking air efforts. This could end very badly.

 

The Tripoli government has support from Turkey, Sudan and Qatar while the Tobruk government has most of the world recognizing it, along with most of the Islamic world. This is especially true with neighboring Egypt and most of the Arab oil states. Egypt has proclaimed that it will not intervene militarily. While that is the official position Egypt is apparently providing substantial, and secret, support to the Hiftar forces. This comes in the form of air support, weapons and other military supplies and even some Egyptian special operations troops. A major concern of the Egyptians is the movement of weapons and Islamic terrorists into Egypt and there are a lot more Egyptian troops and police on the Libyan border in the past few months. What the Egyptians need is pro-Egypt forces controlling the Libyan side of the frontier. Thus the support for the Hiftar coalition, which arose in Eastern Libya as a coalition of Libyan Army units, tribal militias and anti-Islamic terrorist groups. Hiftar is now officially part of the Tobruk government armed forces.

 

Most Libyans are fed up with the continuing violence. The 2011 rebellion against Kadaffi left over 30,000 dead but the infighting since then has killed nearly as many. Most major factions agree on peace but Islamic terrorist groups in Tripoli and Benghazi, aided by tribal factions that want more power and money, continue to fight.

 

November 14, 2014: Hiftar forces in Benghazi handed over nine Turks they had arrested in Benghazi two weeks ago. The Hiftar forces determined that the Turks were innocent of any crimes and were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Tobruk government was in the process of turning the Turks over to the Turkish government via the UN.

 

November 13, 2014: In Tripoli two car bombs went off near Egyptian and United Arab Emirates embassies. There were apparently no casualties. The embassies were boarded up and closed earlier this year.

 

November 12, 2014: In Tobruk two car bombs went off near the Oil Institute, killing three and wounding more than twenty. Another large explosion occurred at an air base near the eastern city of Bayda (controlled by the Tobruk government). This has disrupted commercial flights that now operate from that air base.

 

November 9, 2014: In the east (Shahat) a bomb went off in the town near where the UN was hosting talks with officials from the Tobruk government. There were no injuries. In the west (Tripoli) a group of gunmen attacked a bank and stole $1.3 million.

 

November 6, 2014: In Tripoli the constitutional court declared invalid the June 25th vote that elected the parliament that currently operates in Tobruk. The Tobruk government rejected this and accused the judges of succumbing to pressure from Islamic terrorist militias that control Tripoli and often use intimidation to get their way.

 

November 5, 2014: Britain has begun flying home nearly 300 Libyan officer trainees before their 24 week training was completed. Five of the Libyans did not leave as they are being held on rape charges. Three of these Libyans are charged with raping women and two of raping a man. The Libyans had arrived in June and within a month locals were complaining of Libyans coming into nearby communities and behaving badly. This was not supposed to happen as the Libyans were selected to receive combat and leadership training so they could better train and command troops back in Libya. British authorities were surprised by the bad behavior and responded by ordering the Libyans restricted to the 80 hectare (200 acre) base where they lived and trained. In August this led to a mutiny among some of the Libyans after British officers in charge of the training put three of the trainees under guard after police picked them up for being off base without permission. Then twenty other trainees went and threatened the British soldier guarding the three Libyan trainees. The British guard let the three go free rather than risk violence. Senior officers were uncertain about how to handle this insubordination. The situation went downhill from there. The Libyans were not only undisciplined but also unreliable. They would agree to certain conditions (as in how they behaved towards civilians on and off the base, especially women) and then ignore those agreements. When confronted they would plead ignorance of British customs and refused to accept responsibility. The Libyans also constantly fought among themselves. Although depicting themselves as devout Moslems many of them would go to the village, get drunk and commit crimes. Some blamed the British for making alcohol too easy to obtain. The British tried to cope with all this by stationing hundreds of armed soldiers in nearby communities and on the base to prevent the Libyans from getting out of hand. This did not work either. At least twenty of the Libyans tried to apply for political asylum. This was denied after the rape incidents in late October and the decision was made to send all the Libyans home. The five in jail will face trial early next year. Not all the trainees misbehaved and some of them were hastily given a graduation ceremony even though the training was a few weeks short of completion. This group of Libyans, selected from many pro-government factions, gave Britons an up-close exposure to the kind of thinking and behavior that is tearing Libya apart.

 

November 3, 2014: In Benghazi an RPG fired from a high rise building (apparently by an Islamic terrorist) hit a ship in the government controlled port area and caused a fire on board.                                                     

 

November 1, 2014:  The pro-government Labraq airport east of Benghazi has been temporarily closed until security forces can shut down the groups who have been firing rockets into the airport area.

The Hiftar forces also say they have proof that Qatar was sending weapons and military equipment to Islamic terrorist groups in Libya. The proof comes in the form of an aircraft from Qatar that landed in an airport controlled by Hiftar forces and was seized and searched.        

 

October 31, 2014: Pro-government forces claim to control 80 percent of Benghazi but the remaining Islamic terrorists are fighting to the death and will require another few weeks of effort to clear out. Meanwhile many of the Islamic terrorists who quickly got out of the city when the offensive began over a month ago have set up operations outside the city and throughout eastern Libya. These groups will have to be taken down one at a time.

 

October 25, 2014: Libya has asked for foreign assistance in destroying its remaining stockpile of raw materials for making nerve gas. Although facilities for the destruction of this stuff have been built in Libya and Libyans trained to do it, the chaos in Libya since the Kaddafi government was overthrown in 2011 have prevented the work from being done. So the Libyans are asking for the 850 tons of chemicals to be shipped out and destroyed overseas as was recently done with a similar Syrian stockpile.

 

October 24, 2014: In the east (Benghazi) pro-government forces seized the largest Islamic terrorist base in the city.

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10 novembre 2014 1 10 /11 /novembre /2014 17:45
Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on latest attacks in Libya

 

Brussels , 10/11/2014 - Statement by HR/VP ref 141110_01

 

"The series of explosions that went off in the city of Sahatta, yesterday where UNSRSG Bernardino Leon was meeting key Libyan interlocutors are heinous acts and can only prevent Libya from reaching a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

These attacks undermine the dialogue process.  In the interest of the Libyan people, I call upon all parties to refrain from such destructive acts and to participate in the UN led dialogue process.

The European Union continues to believe that dialogue, in whatever shape or form, remains crucial and that the solution of the crisis requires a political settlement. We fully back the efforts of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Bernardino Leon and I reaffirm EU's commitment to work alongside the UN".

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10 octobre 2014 5 10 /10 /octobre /2014 07:45
Nord Niger: entre ops discrètes et recherche d'un site pour une base temporaire

 

03.10.2014 par Philippe Chapleau - Lignes de Défense

 

La France est toujours en train de rechercher un site dans le nord du Niger pour y installer une base temporaire. Selon l'EMA, trois ou quatre sites sont à l'étude, au nord d'Agadez, dans une zone périlleuse, où malfrats et terroristes cohabitent avec bonheur. Un bonheur presque total, puisque les FS françaises y sèmeraient parfois la pagaille...

Pour en revenir à la base temporaire qui pourrait accueillir jusqu'à un sous-GTIA, on parle de Madama et de Dirkou (ville à laquelle j'ai consacré un post il y a quelques jours), deux villes à une heure de vol l'une de l'autre. Dirkou, difficile d'accès mais située dans une zone aurifère, a été la cible de djihadistes qui ont attaqué les orpailleurs locaux.

Que cherche-t-on? De l'eau certes, mais aussi des voies de communication, une piste d'atterrissage aussi potable que l'eau, une proximité avec les zones grises de Libye. Parce que l'idée, c'est bien d'aller des données des coups de pied dans la fourmilière djihadiste sahélienne et de perturber les trafics du côté de la passe de Salvador.

Le projet est officiellement franco-nigérien; mais les cousins d'outre-Atlantique sont aussi de la partie, même si, comme le répète l'EMA, c'est bien la France qui porte l'effort dans la BSS (bande sahélo-saharienne). Reste que le défi logistique est important: les FOB du Nord-Niger seront à 500km d'Agadez et les pistes qui y mènent sont à peine carrossables. Dirkou/Madama (au nord): c'est 350 km et au moins deux jours de route! Voir ici l'appel d'offres US pour du transport routier vers Dirkou.

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16 septembre 2014 2 16 /09 /septembre /2014 07:58
photo MinDef FR

photo MinDef FR

 

16/09/2014 Jean Guisnel - Défense ouverte / Le Point.fr

 

En voyage aux Émirats arabes unis et en Égypte, le ministre de la Défense n'a qu'un seul pays en tête : la Libye, où les djihadistes prolifèrent.

 

Le ministre de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian a assisté lundi matin aux "premiers" (à tout le moins, telle est la version officielle) décollages de Rafale pour des vols de reconnaissance au-dessus de l'Irak, afin de les médiatiser avant l'ouverture de la conférence de Paris au ministère des Affaires étrangères. Ces décollages de la base d'al-Dhafra, aux Émirats arabes unis, n'ont pas de signification opérationnelle particulière mais leur annonce peu après 7 heures a permis une opération de communication politique et diplomatique supplémentaire.

L'état-major des armées a pour sa part détaillé l'opération en fin de journée. La France dispose à al-Dhafra de six Rafale, d'un avion ravitailleur Boeing C-135 et d'un avion de reconnaissance Atlantique de la marine nationale. Le dispositif demeure donc des plus modestes. C'est d'ailleurs celui qui est présent en permanence aux Émirats en vertu des accords avec ce pays. Aucun renfort n'a été mis en place à ce jour.

 

Spirale de la défaite

La visite de Le Drian aux Émirats arabes unis, puis au Caire lundi soir, n'est pas seulement consacrée au problème de l'État islamique et du terrorisme sur le territoire syro-irakien. En réalité, le ministre de la Défense est actuellement très préoccupé par un autre problème : celui de la Libye. Il l'avait évoqué la semaine dernière dans un discours remarqué. On insiste dans son entourage sur la nécessité de bloquer le développement d'un sanctuaire djihadiste au sud de la Libye, déjà installé mais encore embryonnaire : "du Waziristan (ouest du Pakistan) au golfe de Guinée, les djihadistes forment une série de taches sur la carte. Ils échangent et se parlent. Des spécialistes en explosifs naviguent d'une zone à l'autre. Nous n'en sommes pas là encore, mais notre rôle est de les réduire, de les isoler les uns des autres, de nous renforcer sur leurs points faibles et de les faire entrer dans la spirale de la défaite. C'est bien pour cela que nous nous intéressons à la Libye !" À ce jour, ce pays qui a sombré dans l'anarchie est utilisé par les djihadistes comme base arrière, pour se consolider après les opérations au Niger, au Mali ou encore en Algérie.

 

Demande d'assistance

À deux reprises entre le 18 et le 25 août derniers, un événement considérable s'est produit : sans en avoir informé leurs alliés occidentaux, et notamment pas les Américains, les armées de l'air des Émirats et de l'Égypte ont conjointement lancé des raids secrets contre la Libye.

Les services de renseignements américains et français, pour ne citer qu'eux, n'ont pas manqué une miette de ces épisodes. Ils ont notamment assisté avec un certain étonnement au décollage des appareils des Émirats, à leurs ravitaillements en vol et au succès de leurs missions. À Paris, on se dit convaincu que ces deux pays seraient disposés à prêter main forte à la France pour sécuriser le sud de la Libye, qui inquiète tous ses voisins. Voyageur inlassable dans cette partie du monde, le ministre de la Défense a insisté auprès du chef de l'État François Hollande sur l'attention qu'il faut porter aux alertes lancées par les autorités frontalières de la Libye et singulièrement celles du Tchad, de la Tunisie et de l'Algérie. Il devait s'entretenir précisément de cette situation lundi soir avec le maréchal Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, chef de l'État égyptien.

Charles de Gaulle expliquait dans Mémoires de guerre à propos de son départ pour l'armée du Levant en 1929 : "Vers l'Orient compliqué, je volais avec des idées simples." Il ajoutait : "Je savais qu'au milieu de facteurs enchevêtrés une partie essentielle s'y jouait. Il fallait donc en être." Depuis 85 ans, les choses ont-elles changé ? De ce point de vue, pas vraiment !

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11 septembre 2014 4 11 /09 /septembre /2014 16:45
Battle for Benghazi could break up Libya

 

10 September 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

Fighting in Benghazi could break up Libya.Pro-government Libyan forces, already reeling from the fall of the capital, are fighting to prevent Islamist militants from seizing the eastern city of Benghazi and splitting the North African country into three warring parts.

 

Three weeks after losing Tripoli to a different militia, the army now faces an offensive in Libya's second-largest city from the Islamists of Ansar al-Sharia, which has overrun special forces bases and is attacking Benghazi airport.

 

Losing the port city would not only leave the government looking impotent and irrelevant. It would also increase the risk of the country crumbling into de facto autonomous regions: the militants demand Islamist rule, while other armed groups want greater powers for the eastern region they call by its ancient name of Cyrenaica.

 

Rebel factions that united in 2011 in an uprising to smash the 42-year-rule of autocrat Muammar Gaddafi have turned their guns on one another, plunging Libya into chaos as they fight for power, oil, and cash from the $47 billion state budget.

 

Instead of the stable democracy Western powers had hoped to help create by backing the rebel uprising, Libya might be heading towards civil war, inviting comparisons with strife-torn countries such as Somalia, Yemen or South Sudan.

 

The fall of Benghazi would allow the Islamists to attack pro-government bases to the east, potentially threatening Bayda -- the seat of the constitutional assembly -- and Tobruk, where the government and elected parliament are holed up after losing Tripoli to a militia from Misrata called Operation Dawn.

 

Radical Islamists already control the coastal town of Derna, located halfway between Benghazi and Tobruk.

 

The central government is now only running a rump state of less than a third of the country, said Mattia Toaldo, policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. "Between Dawn and Ansar al-Sharia, they control a large portion that extends from Benghazi to the border with Tunisia," he said.

 

DIVIDED COUNTRY

 

The conflict risks drawing in regional powers such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates worried about Libya turning into a safe haven for radical Islamists. The two countries bombed Misrata positions in Tripoli last month, U.S. officials have said, though it did not stop the fall of the capital.

 

Libya's competing parts already treat each other like different entities - the new rulers in Tripoli have set up a rival parliament and government, while seizing at least four ministries and state television.

 

There are almost no flights any more connecting western airports under Misrata control and eastern ones held by the government.

 

For their survival, the uprooted parliament and the army forces in Benghazi have allied themselves with retired general Khalifa Haftar, whom the government had previously accused of trying to stage a coup.

 

With the army and police existing mainly on paper, parliament needs Haftar, who commands air bases in the east, to confront Ansar al-Sharia and the Misrata-led armed factions. But his firepower has not stopped an Islamist advance in Benghazi.

 

Analysts say even more worrying for the government are signs of tentative ties between its two main enemies, as Ansar al-Sharia has offered to cooperate with Operation Dawn. The Misrata-led force has not responded to the offer, but some of its supporters are backing the Islamists on social media.

 

Members of Ansar al-Sharia, blamed by Washington for an assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi during which the U.S. ambassador was killed in September 2012, have appeared in Tripoli since the Misrata victory, pictures on Facebook show.

 

MEDIATION BID

 

Both the Misrata forces and some Islamist fighters in Benghazi frame themselves as revolutionary forces fighting what they call elements of the Gaddafi regime.

 

They point out that Haftar was a top Gaddafi general before falling out with the former strongman. And some fighters from a militia allied to him from the western region of Zintan used to be part of Gaddafi's security forces.

 

"We need to get rid of the Gaddafi forces still in control," said a commentator justifying the Tripoli assault, on a television station controlled by Misrata.

 

For their part, Haftar and the Zintanis see their battle as an attempt to prevent Libya falling into the hands of Islamists.

 

The United Nations is trying to bring the new Tripoli rulers and elected lawmakers to the negotiating table.

 

But Dirk Vandewalle, author of "A Modern History of Libya", said any coalition between the Misrata and Islamist forces would probably be tactical, aimed at getting rid of the government, as they did when united during the Gaddafi uprising.

 

"Virtually all cooperation we are now witnessing between certain groups of militias is essentially tactical and temporary," he said.

 

That would increase the likelihood of Libya breaking up into fiefdoms run by competing factions -- a Misrata-led one in the west, an Islamist-dominated east and a powerless rump government in the far-east.

 

Encouraged by the Tripoli takeover, other armed groups might emerge or split from the main armed groups, which would make it difficult to identify national leaders for any foreign-led mediation.

 

"I am not optimistic about any mediation efforts," said a Western ambassador to Libya.

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8 septembre 2014 1 08 /09 /septembre /2014 20:45
Jean-Yves Le Drian au Figaro : «Nous devons agir en Libye»

 

08/09/2014 Par Le Figaro.fr

 

Dans une interview exclusive accordée au Figaro, le ministre français de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian s'inquiète de «la dégradation de la situation sécuritaire en Libye» et dessine les contours d'une intervention de la France dans cette région.

 

Découvrez des extraits de cet entretien sur Le Figaro.fr et l'intégralité de l'interview dès 22h pour les abonnés ou demain dans l'édition du Figaro du mardi 9 septembre.

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14 août 2014 4 14 /08 /août /2014 16:45
Spain and Morocco break up suspected jihadist recruitment network

 

14 August 2014 defenceWeb (Reuters)

 

Spanish police detain an Islamist militant.Moroccan police, working in collaboration with Spanish authorities, have broken up a network suspected of recruiting fighters for the Iraqi-Syrian jihadist group Islamic State, and arrested nine people, Spain said on Thursday.

All those arrested were Moroccan citizens, some with strong ties to Spain, and they were suspected of running operations out of the cities of Fnideq, Tetouan and Fez, the Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement. It said plans for attacks within Morocco has also been found.

"The dismantled network was dedicated to the recruitment, financial support and dispatch of jihadists for the terrorist organisation 'Islamic State'," it said.

 

Read more

 

 

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14 août 2014 4 14 /08 /août /2014 07:45
Libye : appel à l'intervention étrangère

 

13 août, 2014 – BBC Afrique

 

Le parlement de la Libye a voté en faveur d'une intervention étrangère pour protéger les civils pris au piège dans les combats meurtriers entre milices rivales.

Les députés se sont réunis à Tobrouk dans l'est du pays à cause de la violence à Tripoli et à Benghazi, et 111 députés sur 124 ont voté pour l'appel.

Ni l'ONU, ni aucune autre puissance étrangère n'a pour le moment de plans d'intervention

 

Suite de l’article

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14 août 2014 4 14 /08 /août /2014 07:45
Final Inspections

 

8/12/2014 Strategy Page

 

Crew members conduct final inspections on a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response July 26, 2014, before it takes off from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, to provide support to a military-assisted departure from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya. The U.S. Department of Defense, at the request of the U.S. Department of State, authorized U.S. Service members to support in the evacuation of U.S. Embassy personnel from Libya. (DoD photo by 1st Lt. Maida Kalic, U.S. Marine Corps)

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13 août 2014 3 13 /08 /août /2014 16:45
Khrizantema-S photo RIA Novosti. Vitaly Belousov

Khrizantema-S photo RIA Novosti. Vitaly Belousov

 

JOUKOVSKI (région de Moscou), 13 août - RIA Novosti

 

La réalisation du contrat prévoyant la livraison à la Libye de missiles antichar russes Khrizantema-S touche à sa phase finale, a annoncé mercredi à RIA Novosti Gueorgui Kouzyk, responsable du bureau d'études KBM.

 

"Il y a avait des problèmes politiques sérieux (…) en Libye. Le calendrier d'exécution a été officiellement modifié. Mais à l'heure actuelle, le contrat est en phase finale de l'exécution",  a indiqué l'interlocuteur de l'agence.

 

Le contrat en question a été signé avant la guerre civile libyenne qui a débuté au printemps 2011. Après la chute de Mouammar Kadhafi, le pays a plongé dans le chaos, devenant le théâtre d'affrontements entre bandes armées.

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8 août 2014 5 08 /08 /août /2014 14:45
Situation en Lybie - (Sénat)

 

source Sénat
 

Question écrite n° 10383 de M. Roland Povinelli (Bouches-du-Rhône - SOC) publiée dans le JO Sénat du 13/02/2014 - page 368

 

M. Roland Povinelli attire l'attention de M. le ministre de la défense sur la situation en Lybie. À quelques jours de sa passation de pouvoirs, le chef d'état-major des armées (CEMA), M. Édouard Guillaud, a fait part de sa crainte quant à la situation dans le sud de la Libye, et ce, trois ans après le lancement des opérations sous l'égide de l'ONU (dont l'opération Harmattan menée par la France) pour protéger les civils libyens des attaques du régime de Kadhafi. Beaucoup craignent qu'une nouvelle opération occidentale (à l'instar d'Harmattan en 2011) ne donne lieu à l'émergence d'un front uni des différents acteurs contre les troupes internationales. Face à cette question, il lui demande de préciser la position du Gouvernement.

 

Réponse du Ministère de la défense publiée dans le JO Sénat du 07/08/2014 - page 1881

 

La situation de la Libye, ainsi que celle de tous les États de la zone sahélienne, sur lesquels pèse la menace d'agissements de groupes terroristes ou de mouvements criminels et du développement de multiples trafics, est suivie avec la plus grande attention par notre pays. Dans cet environnement instable, la France s'emploie pour sa part à renforcer, dans un cadre bilatéral et multinational, les capacités de ces États à exercer leur souveraineté et donc à contrôler leurs frontières. Des actions concrètes prenant la forme d'exercices d'entraînement, de programmes de formation et d'accompagnement des forces de défense et de sécurité de pays tels le Tchad et le Mali, avec lesquels la France dispose d'accords de coopération, sont ainsi conduites par nos militaires. Dans le même temps, la France s'efforce de démanteler les réseaux terroristes qui constituent un danger direct pour ses intérêts dans cette partie du monde. Pour autant, à ce jour, aucune nouvelle opération militaire d'envergure n'est envisagée sur le territoire libyen.

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