Aref Nayed Warns GNA’s Usama Juwaili Against Any Threat to Bani Walid Civilian Airport – Al Marsad

Dr Aref Ali Nayed issues a letter to Ghassan Salamé of UNSMIL condemning the threat to Bani Walid Civilian Airport by Usama Juwaili from the GNA. Nayed says any attempt to strike the airport will be deemed a terrorist and criminal act and will have severe and unpredictable consequences.

[Libya, 9 July 2019] The Libya Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) issued an urgent letter to Ghassan Salamé, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The letter, which was issued on behalf of LIAS and signed by its Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, is the first response to threats made by Usama Juwaili, Commander of the Joint Operations Room of the so-called Libyan Army of the Tripoli Government of National Accord (GNA), to target the Bani Walid Civilian Airport (BWCA) in Statement No. 9 issued by Juwaili Monday evening. In the statement Juwaili declared the BWCA a closed airport despite lack his of jurisdiction because it is not geographically located in areas under the control of the Presidential Council-aligned forces.

Statement No.9 on Bani Walid Civilian Airport

In his letter to Ghassan Salamé, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies, stressed his utter rejection of any statements or attempts targeting the Bani Walid Civilian Airport. Dr. Nayed explained to the UNSMIL Head, Ghassan Salamé, that the airport is a civilian facility used for humanitarian purposes following the collective punishment imposed by the GNA on the people of Bani Walid, the cities of Tarhouna and others.

Dr. Nayed stressed that the threats by Usama Juwaili comes after the summary executions and torture carried out by the armed groups of the Government of National Accord (GNA) against the wounded soldiers of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and deliberately denying access to ambulances to evacuate them,—in addition to GNA policies of an unjust siege against cities. Dr. Aref Ali Nayed stated that the statement of Usama Juwaili No. 9 is reminiscent of the flawed Resolution No. 7 that was issued by the defunct General National Congress (GNC).

Al Marsad publishes here a full English translation of Dr. Aref Ali Nayed’s letter to Ghassan Salamé of UNSMIL:

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Date: 9.07.2019

Ref: LTR/BEN/2019

His Excellency Dr. Ghassan Salamé

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Libya

Further to our best greetings,

In continuation of the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies’ collaboration with several local civil society institutions in the field of humanitarian relief and medical evacuation in affected Libyan areas which are systematically exposed to collective punishment by the Government of National Accord, its Presidential Council, as well as its armed groups. These Libyan areas are also exposed to the worst kinds of killing and torture of the wounded even in hospitals and ambulances.

The Libya Institute for Advanced Studies is keen to provide assistance to complement the humanitarian aid supply operations and compensate for any shortage in necessary foodstuff and medicine that were cut off from several areas due to the deliberate siege of several Libyan cities. The Libya Institute for Advanced Studies is also keen to support medical evacuation operations to evacuate the injured, who are exposed to risks and threats affecting their lives, including humanitarian supplies and medical evacuation operations to and from Bani Walid Civilian Airport (BWCA). We take this opportunity to extend our thanks and appreciation to the BWCA management and staff for their cooperation in this humanitarian work.

With all the killing, torture, and closing of major roads and highways and denying ambulances access by armed groups aligned with the Government of National Accord, what is the so called Chief of Staff of the Joint Operations Room of the Libyan Army issued a Statement No. 9 that was stamped with the seal of its Commander Usama Juwailli threatening the Bani Walid Civilian Airport with undisclosed countermeasures.

Therefore, we ask Your Excellency to communicate immediately with the Government of National Accord which is recognized by the United Nations despite the fact that the elected Libyan House of Representatives has reiterated, on several occasions, that this government is illegitimate and unconstitutional according to Libyan laws and the Constitutional Declaration, to clarify the following points and ask its officials to withdraw their shameful threat:

  1. Attacks and attempted attacks of aeronautical installations and airports facilities, according to the Montreal Convention and its annexes, is a terrorist and criminal act.
  2. Depriving civilian population of Tarhouna, Bani Walid, and several other towns and cities, in the Nafusa Mountain region as well as in southern Libya, of food supplies, fuel and gas, cash liquidity and other services, amounts to a crime against humanity.
  3. Acts of killing and abuse of the wounded and denying access to ambulances and closing main roads and highways to allow medical relief are all deemed crimes against humanity. Threatening to deny access to aerial medical evacuation via the Bani Walid Civilian Airport adds to a long list of flagrant crimes.
  4. The threat against the Bani Walid area, its airport and its infrastructure is part of a collective intimidation policy that is not accepted by any law, customs, or ethics. It should be recalled, in this context, that Bani Walid was previously subjected to the most heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity through the disastrous Resolution No. 7.

By and large, we say to anyone who dares to threaten Bani Walid and its airport that the consequences of such threats will be severe to them and their gangs. Such threats are not accepted by free Libyans, particularly when those threats come from their families and relatives in Zintan who have historical ties that bind them with Bani Walid. No one, whatsoever, can undermine the historical relationship of the Wirfalla tribes of Bani Walid and the Zintan tribes.

Neither he (Usama Juwaili) nor anyone else can compromise such tribal bonds for their narrow ideological, materialistic, or regional purposes, whether directly or indirectly. Any attempt to strike the Bani Walid Civilian Airport will have repercussions that neither he (Osama Juwailli) nor anyone else be able to predict its consequences.

Kindly accept our utmost respect and appreciation.

Dr. Aref Ali Nayed

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Libya Institute for Advanced Studies