The cycle has become classic in the Libyan politico-military theater: when the confrontation between the East (Cyrenaica) and the West (Tripolitania) weakens, the divisions within each region sharpen. The incident which involved Sunday February 21 in the locality of Janzour, western suburb of Tripoli, the convoy of the Minister of the Interior, Fathi Bashagha, – described by his friends as a “Assassination attempt” – precisely illustrates a resurgence of internal tensions in Tripolitania at a time when the peace process at the national level is making progress.
Coming more than two weeks after the appointment of a new collegiate executive, where figures from East and West come together in an apparent reconciliation, the Janzour incident brings to light the recurring conflict between Fathi Bashagha to the Tripoli militias. Since his appointment in autumn 2018 at the head of the Interior Ministry of the Government of National Accord (GAN) of Faïez Sarraj, Mr. Bashagha, a political figure from Misrata, has continued to want to curb the hold. militias from Tripoli to the capital.
The bitter struggle for influence had long been overshadowed by the war between April 2019 and June 2020 in western Libya (“the Battle of Tripoli”), the GAN of Sarraj and the attacking troops of the strongman of Cyrenaica, Marshal Khalifa Haftar. In the face of common adversity, the politico-military actors of Tripolitania had tightened their elbows, forgetting their rivalries. This unifying glue has now disappeared.
A “traffic problem”
What really happened on Sunday near Janzour on the expressway that runs along the coast west of Tripoli? According to Mr. Bashagha’s relatives, the minister’s Lexus vehicle was chased by an armored Toyota in which militiamen from Zaouïa, a nearby town, had taken place. “The Toyota tried to collide with Mr. Bashagha’s Lexus, affirms to World one of the minister’s relatives. As Mr. Bashagha’s guards tried to keep her at bay, the chasers opened fire on the convoy, which led the minister’s guards to retaliate. The minister is unharmed. “
The incident is indicative of a muted tension between Fathi Bashagha and the militias of Tripoli and Zaouïa which has been poisoning the atmosphere in Tripolitania since autumn 2020.
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