By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 9 August 2014:
Members of the Warshefana and Zawia councils of elder have agreed a peace deal, according to . . .[restrict]a deputy commander of the Warshefana forces. He told the Libya Herald that representatives from the Zawia Council of Elders had arrived in the district for negotiations last night and that a peace would be signed today. The main part of the deal, he claimed, was that Zawia would stop supporting Misrata in the current conflict in Tripoli. The Warshefana would also had over a number of Zawian forces captured in and around Camp 27 in recent days.
The deal follows the recapture of the camp by Warshefana forces yesterday, leaving Zawia dangerously exposed to potential missile attacks from the Warshefana. It also comes against the background of intensified efforts by the House of Representatives, the UN and the EU to establish a ceasefire.
Camp 27 was first taken by the Warshefana from Libya Shield forces and their allies on Tuesday after heavy fighting in which eight people, were said to have been killed. Sixty were reported injured. A number of others were captured by Warshefana. The latter allege that Libya Shield’s dead included two Egyptian snipers.
However, early on Thursday, amid reports that combined force from Zawia, Sabratha and Janzour were planning to retake it, the Warshefana left, claiming to have taken large amounts of captured weaponry with them.
The deputy Warshefana commander insisted to this newspaper at the time that they had pulled out voluntarily because the camp was not worth losing any men or equipment over.
Later in the day, moreover, it was clear that anti-Zintan/Warshefana forces were again in control. The First Janzour Support Division posted photos of it on its Facebook page to show that it had been retaken by them and forces from Zawia and Sabratha.
Yesterday, it was the Warshefana who were again posting photos of themselves at the camp. They say they moved in after the Zawians and their allies tried to attack the Warshefana town of Zahra on Thurday and, when repulsed, fell back to the camp using it to fire missiles at the town.
This time, according to the deputy Warshefana commander, they are demolishing the buildings and the perimeter wall. The aim, he said, was to prevent the camp being seized and held by any military forces in future. It would in time, he declared, be turned into a public park.
Even if true, it is uncertain if the reported peace deal between Warshefana and Zawia will hold. In particular, it cannot be guaranteed that younger revolutionaries in the Zawia district will follow the advice and decisions of their elders. In June, there was a much-trumpeted formal reconciliation between Zawia and Bani Walid, negotiated by the two towns’ elders. It did not affect loyalties in Zawia. Bani Walid is firmly anti-Misrata while Zawia’s active forces have been supporting Misrata.
On the other hand, the town’s most prominent revolutionary leader, Shaaban Hadia Al-Zawi, the head of the Libyan Revolutionaries Operation Room – a major element in the Misrata-led alliance – is reported to have now left Libya for Morocco.
If the deal does work, it will be a major setback for the Misratan alliance. It would mean that its supporters in Janzour, the Fursan Janzour, would be split off from Misratan/revolutionary forces in the capital and isolated. Ghut Shaal between Janzour and central Tripoli is firmly pro-Zintan while Sabratha to the west of Zawia in two minds about where its loyalties lie.
Sabratha Municipal Council has said that it doe not support either side in the current conflict. [/restrict]