Meet the strongmen of the Libyan National Accord government

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Fathi Bashagha, the ambitious

On paper, he is “only” Minister of the Interior. In reality it is the main figure in the government of Tripoli for having played his cards well in the Libyan civil war.

Sporting rectangular glasses and always clean shaven and perfectly groomed, Bashagha exudes an aura of a discreet and responsible statesman, as in contrast to the anarchy sometimes projected by the Western Libyan militias. Revolutionary from his beginnings in 2011, he is sometimes perceived as the man of Misrata, the city where he was born and which is recognized as the real seat of power in the Tripolitania region.

Critics see it as a symbol of the port city’s dominance over government authorities in western Libya. However, according to Anas el-Gomati, director of the Libyan think tank Sadeq Institute and familiar with Western Libyan government authorities, “his ambitions go beyond defending the Misratis and representing Misrata, he wants to represent Libya. He no longer wants to be seen as someone who is only concerned with security issues, he has a project and political ambitions.

According to Emmanuel Dupuy, President of the Prospective and Security Institute of Europe (IPSE), “Since the death of the head of the Libyan intelligence agency, Abdelkader Touhami, in May, the GNA has been divided over its replacement. Bashagha is obviously looking to find positions for his buddies.

The Libyan interior minister could aim for nothing less than the post of prime minister, otherwise the presidency. Seen by most to have foiled Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli, he is currently devoting his time to building a full-fledged state-controlled police force, “the most difficult job right now in the world. Libya, ”says Gomati.

He was recently criticized for buying a fleet of brand new BMWs for the police. “It was probably a blunder on his part, but he thought of it as a way to raise the bar for the Libyan police and establish a prestigious, well-equipped and attractive institution, ”adds Gomati. But where is he on the hot topic of the moment, the Sirte front?

“He wants to take back Sirte,” said Gomati quite simply, adding that, according to him, Bachagha’s national ambitions mean he will not agree to a de facto partition of Libya.

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For Dupuy, “he will want to recover the oil over there because it takes money to manage! The Turks, and especially their intelligence agencies [MIT], need someone they can count on to keep delivering supplies, and only the person controlling the militias and securing the port of Misrata who can do the job. On top of that, he is the only person heard by Washington, Moscow, Ankara and Rome.

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Regarding its relations with Paris – the French government has been making timid efforts to establish contacts with the Libyan minister for several months – Gomati says that “Bashagha warned France against supporting Haftar and the United Arab Emirates, but is interested in cooperating with the French after the defeat of Haftar ”, while Dupuy specifies that“ he visited Rome several times, but Paris only once ”.

Mustafa Sanalla, the oil man

Political games are not his problem. Its main mission is to ensure that Libyan oil, whatever its origin, continues to supply the world market. Accused of siding with the government in Tripoli, where the headquarters of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) is located, he was faced with falling oil production in addition to falling oil prices when several tribes of East decided in January to close oil production facilities in Cyrenaica. .

The tribes of Cyrenaica reproached him so as not to redistribute oil revenues fairly across the country. After the Central Bank of Libya reported several billion dollars in losses, these tribes, represented by Senoussi Hileg, indicated that they were ready to lift the blockade of the facilities in July. However, the NOC did not regain control of the Al-Charara field (located 900 kilometers south of Tripoli), which has a daily production of 315,000 barrels per day and is currently in the hands of Russian mercenaries from the group. Wagner, whose presence of Sanalla denounced.

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“This is the person Americans are talking to, and this international position gives it relative freedom from the various political factions. The NOC director general could play the same role as the head of SONATRACH in Algeria, said Dupuy.

Osama al-Juwaili, the security man

He was entrusted with the realization of “Operation Volcano of Rage” which defended Tripoli. Before the 2011 revolution, Commander Osama al-Juwaili had been an instructor at the military academy in Tripoli. Like Bashagha, he espoused the revolutionary cause early on when he brought Zintan, his hometown, into the revolution, thus becoming the head of the Zintan military council. After that he was Minister of Defense for about a year.

The commander of the forces of Tripolitania succeeded in uniting, at least for a time, the various militias of Tripolitania sometimes hostile to push back the forces of Haftar. “He is not seen as someone who has political ambitions. He is a figure of consensus and quite respected stabilize Tripolitania and maintain the balance between the different factions in western Libya. Despite ethnic rivalries, the Berbers, for example, agree to work with him because he is a revolutionary figure in their mind, ”explains Gomati.

Ahmed Maiteeq, the businessman

The Deputy Prime Minister of the GNA embodies the “constructive” face of his camp, encouraging negotiations rather than confrontation to recover Sirte. Maiteeq is also from Misrata “but grew up in Tripoli,” Gomati says. Well seen by Moscow, he was sent to the Russian capital on June 3, while Sarraj went to Ankara.

“The The government in Tripoli is now convinced that Russia is a very important partner to establish stability in Libya. In the coming days, we will see a sharp decrease in military escalation thanks to Russian diplomacy, ”Maiteeq told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

The words of the businessman aroused a certain hostility within the GNA, where his readiness to negotiate goes badly. According to Gomati, “He does not represent a large block of voters, it tries to be an ally of economic development and of the business class. Despite his lack of popularity, he could continue to be at the forefront of the regime if the political process advances.


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