Civilians in crossfire as shifting alliances spark Libya violence

by | Jul 25, 2022 | World

Tripoli, Libya – Fathi Bashagha, one of Libya’s two rival prime ministers, is from Misrata – as is his rival, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, whose internationally recognised government sits in Tripoli.But Bashagha has largely stayed away since being appointed by the country’s eastern-based parliament, because Misrata has long been seen as a stronghold of support for the Dbeibah government and opposition to General Khalifa Haftar, the eastern-based militia leader who has backed the parliament.
But many there are now wary of Dbeibah after he struck a recent deal with Haftar to replace the head of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanallah.
Farhat Bengdara, who is seen as closely allied with Haftar, was appointed head of the NOC by Dbeibah earlier this month, and forces and tribes loyal to Haftar announced an end to the months-long oil exports blockade the following day.
The closure had cost the Libyan government more than $3bn in lost revenue.
Misrata, known as Libya’s economic hub, is Libya’s third-largest city, houses the country’s largest port and is seen as a major source of power in western Libya.
Bashagha’s return
Mabrook Ismail, a young businessman who fought against Haftar’s forces when the latter attempted to take Tripoli in 2019, is one of those who are now more open to Bashagha.
“Bashagha has always been transparent,” Ismail told Al Jazeera by phone from Misrata. “His recent alliance with Haftar was on top of the table. I didn’t like that and considered him a traitor. But Dbeibah is now making deals with Haftar behind closed doors. I’d rather have th …

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