North Africa

Libya: ‘rampant crimes’ by Hafar-aligned militia

Amnesty International accused armed group Tariq Ben Zeyad (TBZ) of committing “rampant” war crimes and human rights abuses to enforce the rule of the so-called Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) and its leader Khalifa Haftar. The report details incidences of forced disappearances, unlawful killings, torture, and mistreatment of detained migrants and refugees. The LAAF, previously known as the Libyan National Army, controls the eastern portion of Libya and several cities, including Benghazi, Derna, Sirte, Tobruk, and areas outside Tripoli. The TBZ is headed by Haftar’s son Saddam, and Amnesty states that it exists primarily to enforce his rule through a campaign of terror.  A UN report earlier this year charged that Haftar’s forces are being backed by a contingent of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group. (Map: Perry-Castañeda Library)

North Africa

Libya: ‘official’ regime to lose control of Tripoli?

Armed street clashes have rocked Tripoli over the past week, as militias linked to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) have vied for control of the Libyan capital with rival militias that have launched an offensive on the city from the southeast. The most significant of these is the 7th Brigade from the town of Tarhuna, which has rejected a truce, vowing to continue fighting until it "cleanses Tripoli of militias." The city's electricity has intermittently gone out amid the fighting, and access to Facebook—the only news source for most Libyans—has been blocked, although it is unclear by whom. The GNA has declared a state of emergency in the city, and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has formed a "crisis committee" to try to broker peace. But warlord Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi, who is loyal to Libya's unrecognized eastern government, anticipated the fall of Tripoli, saying that "liberating the Libyan capital is inevitable." (Photo: Libya Observer)

North Africa

War crime seen in Benghazi mosque attack

Human Rights Watch condemned the deadly mosque attack in eastern Benghazi that left 34 people dead and 90 wounded, the majority of whom were civilians including three young children. The twin car blasts, within 30 minutes of each other, were timed to coincide with evening prayers. The second blast was intended to target first responders. No group has yet taken credit for the attack. "Planting bombs outside a civilian mosque, in particular when the timing is likely to inflict maximum casualties among civilians, is a war crime," the HRW statement said. "Civilians in Benghazi are unacceptably bearing the brunt of this conflict." (Map: CIA)

North Africa

Algeria, Libya mark Berber new year —at last

In a victory for Berber activists, Algeria officially celebrated Yennayer, the new year holiday of the Amazigh people, for the first time. The move is part of a general effort by Algeria's government to permit greater expression of Amazigh (Berber) culture in order to head off a separatist movement. Neighboring Libya also saw its first official Yennayer celebrations, although not on a national scale. The locally ruling Amazigh Supreme Council declared the holiday within the Berber self-governing zone in the country's western mountains. But elsewhere in the country there are signs of backsliding toward the intolerant stance of the Qaddafi dictatorship, when any expression of Amazigh language or culture had been strictly banned. A Berber activist in Benghazi, Rabee al-Jayash, was detained by forces of the city's reigning warlord, Khalifa Haftar, for public speaking and writing in the Amazigh tongue. (Photo: Amazigh World News)

North Africa

Benghazi suspect convicted on terror charge

A jury in Washington DC acquitted the accused ringleader of the 2012 Benghazi attacks of murder but convicted him on terrorism charges. After five days of deliberations, the jury found Ahmed Abu Khatallah guilty on four counts of related to the assault on a US mission and CIA compound in the Libyan city. US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two CIA men were killed in the attack. Abu Khatallah may face life imprisonment. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

North Africa

Libya: videos capture summary executions

Forces of the Libyan National Army, loyal to the country's unrecognized eastern government, appear to have executed captured fighters in Benghazi and desecrated corpses, Human Rights Watch charges. Videos posted online seem to show LNA fighters carrying out summary executions of "extremists," who are seen blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs in orange jumpsuits. The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for the commander of the unit.

North Africa

Massacre reported in battle for Libyan airbase

Up to 130 soldiers are reported to have been summarily executed after a force loyal to Libya's Tripoli-based government took an airbase controlled by eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar.

North Africa

Libya: oil ports change hands yet again

The Benghazi Defense Brigades seized Libya's key oil ports from warlord Khalifa Haftar, and urged the Tripoli-based "official" government to take control of the country's "oil crescent."

North Africa

More mysterious air-strikes in Libya

The latest in an ongoing wave of unclaimed air-strikes in Libya hit al-Jufra air base in the interior of the country, which is in the hands of local militia forces.

North America

Yes, the Russians. Wake up and smell the vodka.

Amid disingenuous demands for the "evidence," all the political logic points to Russia being behind the hacks in an intentional strategy to throw the US election to Trump.