Written by Piero Messina.
Truce in Libya was interrupted by clashes between the forces of the Libyan National Army commanded by General Khalifa Haftar and troops of the National Unity Government. The clashes began on the morning of December 14 in Sabha, in the south-western part of Libya, a territory that has always been under the control of Haftar’s militias. According to local media, hostilities were triggered by the initiative of a brigade belonging to the United Nations-backed government of national unity, which attempted to attack military sites in the center of Sabha, currently under Haftar’s control.
The fighting broke out when Haftar’s forces confiscated police vehicles that had been handed over to government forces and sent them to the Brak Al-Shati base.
Part of the city was evacuated, and residents were forced to leave their homes in the late hours as bullets rang throughout the city. Both factions fired artillery shells.
Sabha, 640 km from the capital Tripoli, is the largest city in southern Libya. Haftar’s forces maintain a strong presence there. The city has become central in the Libyan political game, because the candidacy of Saif Al Islam Gaddafi, for the presidency of Libya, was presented in the constituency of Sabha. At first, Gaddafi’s candidacy was excluded. A decision by the Court of Sabha allowed the readmission of the son of Rasi, firmly supported by Al Sisi’s Egypt.
The beginning of the conflicts that Tripoli and Benghazi could mark a definitive halt to the electoral path, which should begin with the first round on 24 December. The Muslim Brotherhood will not participate in the elections. It is not yet known for sure who will be able to apply and who will not. After being excluded twice, General Haftar is also back in the running for the presidential elections. Unsuccessful attempts by the United Nations to bring the contenders to agreement. The Libyan elections are likely to be postponed to March 2022.
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