In the following is our translation of an article from riafan.ru with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
I found this in a Russian-language web search. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I was unable to find anything like this in an English-language search. About the closest you can come to the truth in Western media is articles like one in Foreign Affairs declaring that the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is “failing in its basic functions and confronts an existential challenge from an eastern faction led by General Khalifa Hifter...” This is irresponsible reporting because it only suggests that the GNA is unable to defeat ISIS and is opposed by Gen. Haftar. The Western reader therefore assumes that the GNA is trying to fight terrorists but failing and gthat Haftar is an opponent on a par with ISIS, when just the opposite is true. The GNA has actually cooperated with the terrorists while Haftar’s forces are the only ones fighting terror. Added to this are the foreign Salafist militants, many from Syria, sponsored by Turkey.
Meanwhile, the Europeans and Americans, who wholeheartedly supported the Arab Spring with its extremist Islamists and also the anti-Assad “rebels,” also extremists but never described that way in the West in the first few years of the conflict and only rarely later on, are still not sure whose side they are on. If it were not for the Russians, they would still be playing the same pretend “War on Terror” game.
The tiger has not changes its stripes.
How ISIS militants found themselves in the service of the Libyan GNA and became "defenders of Tripoli"
FBA Economics Today
Cooperation between the illegitimate Government of National Accord (GNA) and terrorists of the Islamic State group (ISIL1; banned in the Russian Federation) threatens to turn Libya into the epicentre of terrorist activity. The Russian Federal News Agency FAN) has figured out how ISIS jihadists colluded with Libyan GNA and became one of the most dangerous forces in North Africa.
Turkey sends help
While the Libyan National Army (LNA) is conducting an anti-terrorist operation, "Al-Karama," against gangs in Tripoli, militants from various regions of the Middle East and Africa are flocking to the GNA. Ankara intends to transfer controlled gangs to Libya to help GNA terrorists against LNA forces.
Sources of the Middle East Eye reported that more than 7,000 militants are preparing for transfer to Libya. These include the Failak al-Sham group, which had previously sent military instructors to Tripoli, and the Liva Sultan Murad, a group of Syrian Turkomaniacs. The Suqour al-Sham terrorists have already accepted Ankara’s plan and have begun to move to North Africa.
Some pro-Turkish units arrived in Libya three days ago – they are being trained in a closed camp in Tripoli under the command of Turkish officers. Each of them received $300 in Syria, and in Libya they were promised up to $2,000 per month.
At the same time, a more formidable force has been fighting for a long time on the side of the Libyan GNA, which can turn the entire region into a hotbed of terrorism. This is the Islamic State [ISIS].
Jihad vs Haftar
When Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced the start of the Tripoli liberation operation in April 2019, the LNA became the main target for the ISIS militants. The leaders of ISIS called on all the militants in Syria, Iraq and North Africa to wage jihad against Haftar.
Terrorist attacks on LNA fighters followed one after another: a terrorist attack in Sebha, which was claimed by ISIS and related groups, an attack on the city of Gudva, an attack on the Zallya oil field, where the Zueitina Oil Company works, and battles in Al-Jufra district, attack in Derna, attacks in Samna and Tams, during which 30 LNA fighters were killed.
The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a video message urged the militants to focus on Libya. He emphasized that ISIS operations in North Africa were "extremely effective." [It is chilling to see the UN desperately urging Haftar to enter into a ceasefire under these dire circumstances]
In response, ISIS terrorists in Libya re-took the oath of al-Baghdadi. The militants vowed to create a "caliphate" in North Africa and preserve the "Islamic state" after the defeat in Syria and Iraq.
ISIS in cooperation with GNA
The fact that ISIS terrorists are collaborating with the illegitimate government in Tripoli was first announced by LNA spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Mismari. He accused the GNA and Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj of making a deal with terrorists. According to the official representative of the LNA, immediately after the start of the counter-terrorist operation, ISIS terrorists took the side of the gangs in Tripoli.
“There is a coalition between the Government of National Accord and the terrorists,” Al-Mismari announced on Al Arabiya.
Sarraj ceased to be a politician after supporting extremist groups. He will be out of politics and reap the consequences of his blind support for terrorist groups. ”
ISIS returns to Sirte
The main stronghold of ISIS in Libya was the coastal city of Sirte - the birthplace and site of execution of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. ISIS terrorists captured the city in 2015 and declared it part of their pseudo-caliphate. Subsequently, Sirte became a terrorist base for attacks on other regions of Libya.
The Libyan National Army drove ISIS out of Sirte in December 2016 after a seven-month siege. But thanks to the actions of GNA, ISIS terrorists again began to flock to the city. According to Ahmed al-Mismari, the militants – now under the auspices of the GNA – were preparing an attack on the "oil crescent," the coast of Sirte Bay, where Libya's main export oil terminals are located.
"The terrorists met in Sirte, and the idea of a coordinated attack on the" oil crescent "was put forward here," said the LNA speaker. “But we are ready for this.”
Al Qaeda renegades in Libya
The government in Tripoli successfully established ties with the ISIS thanks to militants who have held high posts in the GNA structures – despite the fact that their names are on the “black lists” of the most dangerous wanted terrorists compiled by the United Nations. In particular, the Ansar al-Sharia jihadist group have joined the GNA structure – it served as the “Islamic political police” and was considered the Libyan branch of the al-Qaida international terrorist network (banned in the Russian Federation).
Established in 2011 during the “Arab Spring” in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia (Sharia’s Defenders) is responsible for terrorist attacks in Benghazi and Sirte. The UN, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and the United States recognized it as a radical terrorist group.
In 2012, Ansar al-Sharia militants attacked the US diplomatic complex in Benghazi. The attack killed the US ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens and the head of the information department of the diplomatic service, Sean Smith.
Ansar al-Sharia opposed other rival factions in Libya. For example, militants are suspected of involvement in the July 28, 2011 murder of Abdul Fatah Yunis, the former Libyan Interior Minister who went against Gaddafi and became head of the rebel headquarters. Yunis represented the “secular” wing of Gaddafi’s opponents. After his death, the positions of the Islamists and Al Qaeda in the National Transitional Council of Libya strengthened.
Later, in 2013, Ansar al-Sharia militants stole $55 million from a central bank in Sirte. This money was taken to Tripoli, and the tip for the robbery probably came from the same place.
ISIS militants infiltrated GNA structures
After the death in 2015 of the leader of the group Mohammed al-Zahawi, Ansar al-Sharia swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Libya. At the same time, the leaders of the militants retained their posts in the Tripoli Defence Forces, having received a huge amount of weapons and ammunition from the so-called "Ministry of Defence" and "Ministry of the Interior" of the GNA. Despite their official “disbandment” in 2017, militants continue to receive money and weapons from the government in Tripoli.
In 2019, the names of the Ansar al-Sharia terrorists reappeared in reports of hostilities in Libya. A source in the LNA told Asharq Al-Awsat that terrorists fought alongside GNA fighters on several fronts in Tripoli.
Among them were several members of Ansar al-Sharia, including Qais Abdulkarim al-Abah and his brother Muhammad – both of whom died during the battle for Tripoli. Information about the relations between Sarraj’s GNA of and Ansar al-Sharia was confirmed by Italian correspondents.
From Qatar with love
Since the "Arab Spring" in 2011, Qatar, along with Turkey, has supported in Libya the most radical Islamist groups. Al Qaeda-related terrorists received weapons from Qatar, including a faction associated with the former head of the Tripoli Military Council Abdelhakim Belhadj, who also has contacts with Ansar al-Sharia. Some of the weapons sent by Qatar to Libya were subsequently used by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.
Researchers at the Middle East Institute [headquartered in DC] claim that funding received from Qatar allowed the leaders of Ansar al-Sharia and the Islamic State pay militants $100 a month or more. This has greatly expanded recruitment opportunities – most locals cannot earn that kind of money honestly.
"Inexhaustible well" for the ISIS
At the same time, jihadists in Libya associated with the GNA increased funding through smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, collecting “taxes” from local residents, bank robberies, arms trafficking and drug trafficking. [Note the US hypocrisy, accusing Maduro of drug trafficking and convicting him in absentia while tacitly supporting the drug traffic-linked GNA] ISIS terrorists from the "Interior Ministry" of the GNA have even begun to levy "taxes" on smugglers who were involved in the export of illegal migrants to EU countries. Collaboration with the government of Fayez Sarraj brought huge amounts of money to the Islamic State.
The Libyan "emir" of ISIS, Visam Az-Zubaidi, even declared Libya "a well with an endless supply of water." According to him, when the terrorists manage to take control of all Libyan oil fields, "Europe will come to an end." [It is so ironic that Europe still recognizes the GNA that sponsors these terrorists!]
The Libyan GNA has given an opportunity to the Islamic State terrorists to spread their power throughout North Africa.
At the end of July, UN Special Representative Hassan Salameh made a report on the situation in Libya. For the first time in several years, the regime of GNA Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj was severely criticized at the international level.
In his report, Salameh bluntly stated that in Tripoli and Misrata, under the cover of the GNA, there are terrorists associated with Ansar al-Sharia and the Islamic State. At a private meeting with members of the UN Security Council, he said that thousands of jihadists who were deployed from the Syrian province of Idlib are fighting on the side of the GNA, recognized by the West and having lost legitimacy.
Hassan Salameh pointed out that due to the connivance of the GNA, Libya has become the new stronghold of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. By receiving funding from the GNA, international terrorist networks have been able to gain a foothold not only in Libya and the Sinai Peninsula, but throughout the world. The authorities in Tripoli are directly responsible for this.
“The security vacuum created by the conflict in and around Tripoli is still being used by ISIS fighters,” the UN Special Representative emphasized.
Salameh called on the Government of National Accord to draw a line between its regular forces and separate them from the gangs that have legalized and received funding by participating in the Libyan conflict on the side of Sarraj.
“The Libyan state cannot be wealthy without a clear monopoly on the use of military force. This will require the seizure of weapons not controlled by the authorities and clear civilian oversight of the activities of the security structures,” Hassan Salameh announced.
A threat to Africa is a threat to the whole world
At the moment, it is obvious that the government of Fayez Sarraj cannot and does not intend to draw a line between his “armed forces” and the gangs that have taken control of various parts of Tripoli. On the contrary, Turkey is stepping up the transfer of loyal militants from Syria to help the GNA.
The situation in Libya threatens stability not only in North Africa, but throughout the world. Unlike Syria, where Russian intervention in 2015 allowed to stop the growth of the Islamic State, and, after destruction of its resource base, in Libya, there is a merger of Western-recognized GNA structures with international terrorist groups. This is facilitated by the allies of the GNA from Turkey and Qatar, which supply militants and modern weapons to counter the LNA. An active information campaign is underway to accuse countries such as Russia and Egypt of interfering in the Libyan conflict and to get decisive action from the West against Khalifa Haftar.
Strengthening ISIS in Libya could lead to the emergence in North Africa of vast territories rich in natural resources and controlled de facto by terrorist groups. In this case, the threat from the radical jihadists of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda to all of humanity will increase many fold.
Author: Valentin Serov