Libya…War Crimes on Both Sides?

by | Jul 3, 2019


A major escalation of the Libyan war has commenced.

On Monday 1st July, Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Mohamed Manfour announced the beginning of a new aerial bombardment campaign after “traditional means” to “liberate Tripoli” had been exhausted.

Rumours abounded two weeks ago that the militias of Tripoli were beginning to show signs of buckling under the pressure from Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s LNA. The LNA Airforce’s looked like it had achieved air superiority over Tripoli, then an unexpected turn occurred: Turkey upped their ante and embarked on a resupply of defence equipment to the Tripoli and Misrata militias.

The consequences on the ground in Libya of Turkey’s interference were immediate. A major setback resulted for Haftar on the 27th of June when the pro-Tripoli GNA Forces “liberated” Gharayan and forced Haftar’s LNA army to retreat from the town.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), said on Sunday (30th June) its air force destroyed a Turkish drone parked at Mitiga International Airport.

“Our airforce targeted and destroyed a Turkish ‘Bayraktar’ aircraft as it was taking off,” Haftar’s LNA said in a statement on Facebook. “The aircraft had been prepared to target our armed forces’ positions,” it said.

Earlier on Sunday, Turkey’s foreign ministry accused Haftar’s forces of seizing six civilian sailors and warned that the LNA would become a “legitimate target” if the Turks were not released immediately. On Tuesday Haftar’s LNA released them in the oil town of Ajdabiya.

So it goes on, meanwhile allegations of war crimes have emerged.

According to this very in-depth report:

Libya’s Centre for Judicial Expertise (CJE) has conducted forensic investigations and identified the cause of death of several members of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Central Security Apparatus (CSA) after GNA militias entered Gharyan. The report concluded that LNA and CSA soldiers and officers were executed by GNA militias at Gharyan Hospital after they were captured.

With a counter war crime claim from the GNA is accusing the LNA this morning, 3rd July, of bombing a migrant detention centre in Tripoli which killed more than 44 migrants with the U.N.’s rushed knee jerk comment “clearly amounts to the level of a war crime.” The media infer it was Haftar’s LNA that was responsible. No evidence, certainly not comparable to that produced regarding the killings of Haftar’s men in Gharyan, has been made public so far.

One thing is certain: a new UN, US and EU (West) policy towards Libya is needed. The current UN embrace of the unelected Serraj, the GNA, and Muslim Brotherhood has not moved Libya any closer to a solution to its years of unrest after the 2011 US-led attack.

More of the same is not a solution.

In conclusion this civil war is on track to escalate unless there is a new UN, US and EU (West) policy towards Libya, essentially abandoning their selection of Serraj and the GNA/PC.

A better solution is for a consensus choice to be chosen by polling only Libyans, not selected, as has been the case in the last eight years, by Western diplomats and Western bureaucrats.

Einstein famously once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The U.N., US, UK and EU must wake up to this truth.


  • Richard Galustian

    Richard Galustian is a senior consultant to several international corporations involved in Libya and the greater Middle East and North Africa.