REPORT: LNA Boosted by a Pan-Libyan Tribal Surge After Turkey’s Decision to Send Troops to Libya – Al Marsad

REPORT | The decision by the Turkish parliament to approve Erdogan’s motion to deploy Turkish soldiers in Libya was met with nationwide condemnation by Libyans. Massive protests in various cities throughout the country were witnessed today with leading tribal leaders, civil society activists, and the general public rallying against Erdogan. Their message was clear, Libyans will reject, mobilise and resist any Turkish incursion on Libyan soil. 

[Libya, 3 January 2020] – Massive nationwide demonstrations took place in Libya over the last two days since the parliamentary bill to send Turkish troops to Libya was approved by the Turkish parliament yesterday afternoon with 325 deputies voting in favour, while 184 opposed it.

Following the announcement of the results, the Tripoli-based GNA leaders and its supporters were quick to praise Turkey for its decision, however the rest of the country immediately condemned it. Statements were issued last night and today against Turkey by leaders from the Libyan Parliament, the Interim Government, the Libyan National Army, tribal leaders and political figures in Benghazi, Tobruk, Bayda, Derna, Bani Walid, Zintan, Sorman, Ghat, Ajdabiya, Shahat, Sabratah, Alquba, Kufra, Jmail, Ajaylat, Tazerbu and many others. 

It was called “The Friday of Rage”:

In this report Al Marsad canvasses the reaction from tribes and the public across Libya.

CONDEMNATION BY LIBYAN POLITICAL FIGURES

Condemnation from Libyan political institutions and key figures was swift. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Interim Government, Abdulhadi Al-Hweij, said today that “the Turkish invasion will not be a picnic in Libya,” indicating that the battle of “the capital, Tripoli, will be swift and victory will be achieved.” He indicating that his government is in permanent session to follow the developments of the Turkish Parliament decision to agree to deploy Turkish forces to Libya.

The Libyan House of Representatives is due to convene on Saturday and will issue decisions pertaining to practical steps vis-à-vis Turkish threat of military intervention in Libya in light of the endorsement by the Turkish parliament.

The General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, said it was the Libyan people’s duty to fight to protect the homeland. Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, received yesterday at the headquarters of the LNA General Command in Al-Rajma, Benghazi, the chieftains and notables of the Asabaa tribes. The Asabaa tribes reiterated their firm support for the LNA and blessed the ongoing military operations to liberate the capital from terrorist groups backed by Turkey, stressing the role of the armed forces in repelling and defeating the Turkish invasion and restoring the sovereignty and unity of the homeland against the Ottoman invaders.

In a televised speech to the nation tonight, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar paid tribute to all Libyans who protested against the Turkish invasion. He called on all Libyans to enlist for mass military mobilisation and join the armed resistance against the planned Turkish invasion of Libya.

LNA Commander in Chief praised the distinguished role of the Asabaa tribes and all noble Libyan tribes in their support for the military operations against the dark forces of terrorism and invaders, calling on all social components of the Libyan society to exert all their best efforts in order to achieve the unity of the country and defend its sovereignty.

Several prominent Libyan personalities added their voice to the condemnation of Turkish troops in Libya. Aisha Gaddafi, the daughter of the late Muammar Gaddafi said; “When Turkish soldiers’ boots desecrate our homeland soil, which was watered by the blood of our martyrs, if there is no one among you to repel this aggression, then leave the battlefield to the free women of Libya and I will be at their forefront.”

CONDEMNATION BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Reactions to the decision by the Turkish Parliament was not confined to the Libyan public only, the international community too condemned the result.

President Donald Trump of the United States warned Erdogan, in a telephone call between the two presidents, of any military intervention in Libya hours after the Turkish Parliament voted to authorize the move. The US State Department said that state actors must stop fuelling the conflict in Libya.

In Russia, the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International affairs Leonid Slutsky yesterday said that military intervention was not “the best option to resolve the crisis in Libya.”

The European Union also expressed its strong concern on the decision by the Turkish Parliament to authorise military deployments in Libya. The EU said that actions supporting those who are fighting in the conflict would only further destabilise the country and the wider region.

Peter Stano, spokesman for the European Commission for Foreign Affairs, and spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic said, “The EU is very concerned about Turkey’s decision to intervene in the conflict. Support for those fighting there will only further destabilize the country and region. The UN arms embargo should be respected by all.”

US President Donald Trump with Turkish President Recep Erdogan

The leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Israel issued a stern warning yesterday. “This decision constitutes a gross violation of the UNSC resolution…imposing an arms embargo in Libya and seriously undermines the international community’s efforts to find a peaceful, political solution to the Libyan conflict,” said the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in a joint statement issued yesterday from Athens and reported by Reuters.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades at a joint press conference in Athens

There was strong reaction also from Egypt. The Egyptian Parliament said, “Egypt would not stand still in the face of these irresponsible actions that threaten its national security.” It said Egypt would take all the necessary measures to face those threats and irresponsible actions. An hour after the mandate given by the Turkish parliament today to the Ankara government to deploy Turkish troops in Libya, Egypt’s National Security Council convened under the chairmanship of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan crisis in light of the Turkish Parliament’s endorsement of a motion to militarily intervene in Libya.

There were also demonstrations in Malta today. Libyans who live in Malta gathered in front of the Turkish Embassy in  in order to protest against Erdogan’s decision to send Turkish troops to Libya. The Maltese government, in a statement issued, called “on all foreign actors to de-escalate their interventions in and around Libya. Malta supports the European Union in its assertion that, at all times, the international community speaks with one voice in support of the welfare of the Libyan people, safeguarding the delicate balance of security and stability in the region.”

NATIONWIDE TRIBAL MOBILIZATION

The fiercest reactions to the Turkish decision to deploy troops on Libyan soil, came from Libyan tribes. The tribes historically form the social fabric of Libya and the history of Ottoman aggression in Libya is still fresh in the collective tribal memory. Leading tribes from across the country held massive nationwide demonstrations across the country.

The anger and pan-Libyan mobilisation by the tribes has translated itself into a major surge of support for the Libyan National Army (LNA). Both the tribes and and local organisations issued strong statements on the Turkish moves. Here is a sample of some of them:

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More reactions from tribes and civic organisations were as follows (follow the hyperlink on each organisation):

Al Awagir Youth Tribes

Al Qabaely Tribe

Residents of Cyrene

Residents, Chieftains and Notables of Zintan

Al-Tuwajeer Tribe (Benghazi)

Al Awamma Tribe

Wirfalla Tribes

Sabri Neighbourhood (Benghazi)

Al Takhakha Tribe

Al Shalawiya Tribe

Residents of Derna

People of Misrata in Cyrenaica

Association of Members of the Great Man-Made River Sports Club

Benghazi Municipality

Residents of Slouq

Residents of Kufra

Residents of Tobruk

Ain Mara People and Chieftains

Al Kawadik Tribe (Benghazi)

Statement of the Mnefah Tribe

Al Masamir Tribe

Al Amarnah Tribe

Al Darsa

The Jawazi Tribe

 

PROTESTS IN LIBYAN CITIES AND TOWNS

Al Marsad’s team also collated information from the various protests across the country and compiled it here. The sheer number of protests provides an indication on the strong and vocal sentiments of the Libyan leadership and public against the GNA and Turkey. Here is a selection:

BENGHAZI

BAYDA

AJDABIYA

DERNA

BANI WALID

ZINTAN

أبناء الزنتان يؤكدون استعدادهم للتصدي للغزو التركي

TOBRUK

SORMAN

GHAT

ALQUBA

MARTUBA

QAMINIS

TAMANHINT

JALU

SHAHAT

ERDOGAN’S FOLLY UNITES LIBYANS

The aggressive foreign policy posture by Erdogan on Libya in concert with the beleaguered Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, Misratan leaders and the Muslim Brotherhood, has perhaps cost Turkey its future in Libya.

Rather than opening a diplomatic channel for dialogue with the Libyan Parliament and the forces against the GNA, Turkey hoped to take advantage of the instability of the country and the desperate condition of the GNA to sign two illegal MOUs with them. The MOUs galvanised international opinion against Turkey and threatened regional stability of the Mediterranean. The last rush to deploy troops in Libya has managed to single-handedly rally the Libyans behind the Libyan National Army and the campaign to rid the capital city of its militia proxies and any Turkish military influence.

© Al Marsad English (2020)