Libyans, not intl community, responsible for liberating Libya, ending terrorism: LNA spokesperson

Haitham Nouri , Wednesday 3 Jun 2020

Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari spoke to Egyptian media outlets in a video conference Tuesday

Spokesperson of the Libyan army Ahmed al-Mismari speaks to journalists in Cairo, Egypt, July 29, 2018 (Photo: Bassem Aly)

Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari, spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA), has said that combatting terrorism and ending foreign intervention in Libyan affairs is the responsibility of Libyans themselves, not the international community.

Speaking to Egyptian media outlets in a video conference Tuesday, Al-Mismari argued that the international community “did not give the right description for the Libyan case.”

“Libya is now engaged in a war on terrorism, not a conflict over power or wealth as claimed by terrorist groups such the [Muslim] Brotherhood, Turkey and Fayez Al-Sarraj,” he said.

“On Monday, we reached victory in the Asbiah battle, south of the capital Tripoli, and now Arab Libyan troops are bombing Al-Gharyan from both southern and southwestern sides.”

The Libyan military spokesman added that the LNA achieved victory in a number of battles around Tripoli in an “eight-day battle.” “Fighting took place continuously for 155 hours. We successfully targeted large numbers of terrorists, whether Syrian mercenaries or Libyans, and many of them were leading figures,” Al-Mismari explained.

“Through redeployment around Tripoli and the cities that surround it, we are seeking to target terrorist militias, many of which are affiliated to Al-Qaeda, Daesh, or the Muslim Brotherhood, and get them out of their fortifications. We want to defeat them easily without having civilian casualties.”

Al-Mismari stressed that the situation remains calm in eastern Misrata, though some artillery skirmishes occurred. Al-Mismari noted that this war, “in which we are using new tactics to exhaust the enemy,” requires patience. Al-Mismari, meanwhile, believes that Qatari money will not help Turkey in having a strong base in Libya. “Watch what will happen in the coming days and weeks,” he said.

Al-Mismari confirmed the presence of Islamic State (IS) militants in southern Libya, though not on a large scale. “Given the vast spaces, some of them managed to escape to Niger, Mali and Sahel and Saharan countries,” he revealed.

“Yet, we cornered them till we eradicated them. But there is a new variable, which is the presence of those who have white skin, not Africans as it used to be in the past. Those are mercenaries that the Turks brought to take our army’s attention away from fighting around Tripoli.”

On the political level, Al-Mismari announced that the LNA has accepted the UN invitation for a 5+5 talks because “they want peace, although I know that a political settlement is still unsuccessful in Libya.” “We have three conditions to start negotiations with Al-Sarraj, including the complete withdrawal of Turkey and its mercenaries from the Libyan scene, excluding terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Deash from the final deal, and dissolving militias and disarming them,” Al-Mismari said.

When asked further about a political solution for the Libyan conflict, Al-Mismari said that the Muslim Brotherhood and the militias that affiliated to it “believe that they made the revolution against Muammar Gaddafi, and accordingly they don’t accept any party to negotiate with them.” “Secondly, which is more important, revolutions were a conspiracy against the Arab armies so as to facilitate the Muslim Brotherhood’s path to power. This is why they will not accept the Libyan Arab army, no matter what the price is,” he pointed out.

Al-Mismari noted that Al-Sarraj “is a prisoner of these terrorist groups” and their backers, mainly Turkey and Qatar. “He (Al-Sarraj) only consults with Al-Salaby, Abdel Hakeem Belhag and other terrorists. He is a puppet in their hands,” argued the LNA spokesperson.

Concerning the US and Russian positions towards the Libyan crisis, Al-Mismari said Russia did not interfere during the events of 2011 and accordingly did not “sell Libya for the Brotherhood and the terrorists,” adding that “we have old, military ties with Moscow.”

“All our weaponry has come from Russia since 1970, and we cannot move to the West because this will take a long period of time.”

Al-Mismari stated that the arms embargo on the LNA remains in place, while after its end the LNA will have arms deals with Russia. He added that the Americans decided to take action and get in touch with Al-Sarraj after Turkey has declared that it will search for gas and oil in western Libya. The aim for the United States, said Al-Mismari, is to “maintain the interests of the US oil companies.”

“We will not allow or accept Turkish plans in that aspect. Firstly, they don’t have international expertise in this field. Secondly, since 1957, we have contracts with US, Italian, French and British companies, and we will not violate any of them, whether conducted with companies or states,” he warned.

Meanwhile, Al-Mismari said that Egypt trusts the LNA and understands the situation. “It is enough to say that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi always stresses that Libya is engaged in a war on terrorism, and not a conflict over power. Others don’t say it,” he said.

“Regarding Algeria, I don’t understand its position yet, while there is division in Tunisia. The majority of our Tunisian brothers back the Libyans, while Ghannouchi supports the Brotherhood and the terrorists,” Al-Mismari concluded.

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