Attack on Cyrenaica unlikely: Secretary-General of Libyan party
Muftah Lamloum al-Amin - Photo courtesy of alalam
By SAMAR SAMIR

CAIRO: Secretary-General of the Unity and Development Party in Libya, Muftah Lamloum al-Amin, said Monday that civil war would not erupt in the eastern Libyan city of Cyrenaica (Barqa in Arabic) because the population is small and the federalists are divided by tribal conflicts.

The groups in Cyrenaica are divided due to a history of hostility among the tribes there, so no civil war is expected in this eastern city, Amin added in remarks to The Cairo Post by phone from London.

The Libyan General National Congress (the country’s parliament) announced on Monday it would send special troops to “liberate” the Eastern ports in the Cyrenaica Federation, which has been controlled by militias since July, after those militias declared on Sunday they would export oil without government authorization, according to Reuters.

The federalists announced the independence of Cyrenaica in June 2013 over political and social marginalization from the government, and on Sunday, in a continuation of this sovereignty, they announced that they would export oil under as an independent federation.

Although the government threatened the federalists and the militia that controls the city’s port against taking such a step, a ship with a North Korean flag anchored in Al-Sedra port on Saturday to load oil.

“We have sent land forces to defend Cyrenaica to the west of Sirte … and we also have boats patrolling regional waters,” a rebel leader, Essam al-Jahani, told Reuters.

The militia is backed by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s remaining supporters, and the federation announced the independence was not due to the marginalization, Amin said.

“Those militias are guerillas and the government tried by all means to stop their control over the ports…such militias tried to incite conflicts and make the government weak,” Amin continued. He ruled out that the Libyan forces could launch an attack on the federation, but saying that the government could iron out this problem.

The man who controls the oil wells in the federation is Ibrahim Gedran, head of the political council of the Cyrenaica Federation and previously an arms smuggler born in Chad, said Amin.

Gedran was working with Gadhafi’s regime and was imprisoned for arms smuggling from Sudan; however, he was released during the uprising that ousted Gadhafi in 2011 and he claimed to be one of the revolutionaries, according to Amin.

There is an alliance formed by the remnants of Gadhafi’s regime and the retired generals that stand against the government. There are also two brigades – Qa’aqaa (which means in Arabic the sound of swords clashing) and Sawaeq (lightening strikes) – that are loyal to Gadhafi’s regime in Tripoli, said Amin.

Monday evening, the rebel militia denied claims that the ship was seized by the government earlier that day, reported Al-Arabiyya Net.

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