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المقر الرئيسي الجديد لداعش هو ليبيا


المقر الرئيسي الجديد لداعش هو ليبيا

INTERPRETED AND TRANSLATED BY ASHRAF ABDUL WAHAB
المؤلفو
  كريستوفر نيكسون كوكس هو حفيد الرئيس ال 37 للولايات المتحدة، ريتشارد نيكسون.
   فيليب إسكارافاج هو محلل ليبيا. وهو صهر كريستوفر كيب فوربس الذي هو نائب رئيس مجلس إدارة فوربس ميديا.

  الأحد أكتوبر 1، 2017

 

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

 

صورة حديثة لزعيم تنظيم داعش، أبو بكر البغدادي

 

ظهرت مقالة هامة وذات صلة في نيوزماكس أمس الجمعة 29 سبتمبر حول الرئيس السابق لجهاز المخابرات المركزية فيما يتعلق باستراتيجية داعش الجديدة في المنطقة و اهتم بنقطة محددة  في تلك المقالة و التي لاقت صدى عندنا حيث كنا نتوقع  نفس الاحتمال منذ عدة اشهر

في مقال مكتوب بشكل جيد عن دانيال هوفمان رئيس جهاز المخابرات  الأمريكية المركزية السابق الذي تحدث عن أهداف إعادة تنظيم داعش , حيث يسجلون تراجعا و يفقدون مواقعهم.

خدم هوفمان في العديد من المقاطعات وخاصة روسيا والعراق وباكستان، وذكر على وجه التحديد أن رئيس داعش، وأبو بكر البغدادي قرر أساسا أن مستقبل داعش الوحيد هو أن يكون مقرها في ليبيا، وأنه هو نفسه البغدادي يجب أن تكون المادية هناك إلى وتوفير الروح المعنوية والدعم النفسي لما يسمى حلم الخلافة. وهناك بلد سياسي جديد يهيمن عليه الدين ويطلق عليه اسم “الدولة الإسلامية” التي ستشكل من بين الدول التي ستحاول تدميرها في المستقبل

وقد تم طرح العديد من النقاط الأخرى الجيدة في تلك المقالة، لكن هذا هو السبب في أن داعش قررت نقل العمليات من العراق وسوريا إلى ليبيا مما يحدث تغيير في عملية الحرب على الإرهاب.

ومع استمرار خسائر داعش في سوريا والعراق، فإنهم يحتاجون إلى “منزل جديد”، وقد وجدوا منزلهم هذا في ليبيا و نحن نخشى ذهابهم بالآلاف الى هناك.

وهنا بعض الأدلة التي تدعم تأكيد دينيس هوفمان. ففي الأسابيع القليلة الماضية، ظهر القليل في وسائل الإعلام حول زيادة حدة القتال في صبراتة و تظهر التقارير التي تصف هذه المناوشات على انها لعناصر ميليشيات صبراتة المحلية و التي دفعت لها الحكومة الإيطالية سرا حتى تقاتل “المهربين” لوقف تدفق المهاجرين، ولا سيما من زوارة إلى إيطاليا.  هذه إستراتيجية تلتزم بها إيطاليا وحدها.

ومع ذلك ما هو الإتجاه  الرئيسي وسائل الإعلام تفشل في الكتابة عن ماهية الأسباب الحقيقية لشدة القتال في وحول صبراتة وسرت.

الآلاف من مقاتلي داعش وصلوا مؤخرا إلى ليبيا من العراق وسوريا، حيث اضطروا للفرار. ويرجع ذلك في الغالب إلى القصف الروسي على مواقع داعش في هذين البلدين، حيث من الواضح أن داعش قد خسر الآن – كما أن الدعم اللوجيستى و الطبي قدم سرا من تركيا. إن حركة مرورهم هي من تركيا و منها لمطار مدينة مصراتة، وهي نقطة وسط بين سرت وصبراتة. المناطق التي يتجه إليها معتدي داعش في داخل وحول موقعين استراتيجيين عسكريين حاسمين لتنظيم داعش وسرت وصبراتة.

فهي تمكنها من فتح جبهات جديدة وإعادة ترتيب أولويات استراتيجيتها.

و لماذا ذلك٫ لأنها تعطيهم مسافة قصيرة من سرت إلى حقول النفط في الهلال النفطي وفيما يتعلق بصبراتة، فإن داعش لديها خطط لبدء شن هجمات على تونس ثم الجزائر والمغرب. ويرجع ذلك جزئيا إلى أن العديد من مقاتلي داعش العائدين هم أصلا من تونس، ويبدو أن فكرتهم هي جلب الاضطرابات إلى بلدهم الأصلي وكذلك إلى ليبيا، ولذلك فهم بحاجة إلى قاعدة لتشغيل مثل هذه الأنشطة. ثم للتوسع في بلدان شمال أفريقيا الأخرى.

هذه هي استراتيجية داعش الجديدة، لا تخطئ.

أما فيما يتعلق بمدينة صبراتة، فقد تم الدفاع و بشدة عن هجمات داعش الجديدة من قبل غرفة العمليات الليبية المناهضة لتنظيم داعش.

وهناك قضية جانبية وقلق حول صبراتة، وخاصة بالنسبة لليونسكو و هو حدوث المزيد من الأضرار المحتملة للآثار الرومانية المحفوظة حتى الآن التي يرجع تاريخها إلى آلاف السنين في مدينة صبراتة الرومانية القديمة.

 

Sabratha

Sabratha

كان هناك للمرة الأولى قصف بالمدفعية في الأسبوع الماضي من قبل داعش، ودعت اليونسكو إلى وضع حد للهجمات على هذا الموقع الهام للتراث. و هذا بداية إعادة ما قام به داعش في تدمر في سوريا حيث دمروا آلاف السنين من التماثيل التاريخية التي لا يمكن تعويضها والمعالم الأثرية التي يعود تاريخها إلى العصر البرونزي

وقال ريتشارد غالوستيان، المحلل السياسي البريطاني لمنطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا وخبير في المنطقة، ، “مؤخرا يبدو أن التقارير من ليبيا عموما، وتحديدا من صبراتة، قد قللت من حقيقة التدفق الجديد لمقاتلي داعش الذين تراجعوا من سوريا والعراق “مضيفا” ان الصحافة لا تريد الا ان تكتب عن إلقاء  اللوم علي الحكومة الإيطالية كسبب في تزايد القتال في ليبيا و ذلك من اجل تغذية القتال  لتحقيق اهدافها “. كما ذكر غلوستيان “يجب تحديد أن  الإيطاليون، يدفعون ببعض الميليشيات لمحاربة مهربين، ولكن هذا هو الجزء الصغير من المشكلة أما المشكلة الحقيقة فهي في مقاتلي داعش الجدد الذين يأتون إلى ليبيا بالآلاف “.

وقد قامت الحكومة الإيطالية بطريقتها في شرح  الوضع إلى الجنرال حفتر الذي زار روما في وقت سابق من هذا الأسبوع لمناقشة هذه القضايا. وسألوه أيضا عما يقال من إنه سوف يتخلي عن منصبه العسكري لكي يقف كمدني في الإنتخابات الرئاسية الجديدة. سيكون هذا خطأ تكتيكي كبير ..

و قد غادر حفتر روما الى باريس يوم الخميس لشرح  كل المجريات لأصدقائه فى فرنسا نظرا للتوترات التى ظهرت علنا بين باريس و روما حول ليبيا.

وتشير تقارير غير مؤكدة أيضا إلى أن الإيطاليين ناشدوا حفتر علي ان يتم إرسال قوات من الزنتان الموالية له و مقرها قريب نسبيا من موانئ الزاوية للمساعدة في تدمير داعش في منطقة صبراتة وأيضا في الزاوية نفسها وأجزاء أخرى من طرابلس الغربية، للمساعدة في وقف المهاجرين وتأمين مرافق النفط الهامة في مليتا. هذه هي المخاوف الرئيسية لإيطاليا.

في الختام، ما هو أمر حاسم الآن بالنسبة لأميركا سياسيا وعسكريا على حد سواء هو أن تصبح أكثر انخراطا مع ليبيا، وأكثر من ذلك، أن تعلن للعالم سياسة واضحة وحاسمة في ليبيا خاصة وأن

المؤلفون

  كريستوفر نيكسون كوكس هو حفيد الرئيس ال 37 للولايات المتحدة، ريتشارد نيكسون.

  

   فيليب إسكارافاج هو محلل ليبيا. وهو صهر كريستوفر كيب فوربس الذي هو نائب رئيس مجلس إدارة فوربس ميديا.

ISIS’s NEW HOME IS LIBYA

Saturday, September 30 2017

An important and pertinent article appeared in NEWSMAX yesterday, Friday September 29th, about a former CIA Station Chief’s theories as regards ISIS’s new strategy in the region and one particular point he made of interest in that article resonated with us in particular, as we have been predicting the same eventuality for months.

In the well written article about, Daniel Hoffman a distinguished former CIA Station Chief who spoke of ISIS’s regrouping objectives now they are losing ground.

Hoffman served in various counties notably Russia, Iraq, and Pakistan, specifically stated that the Head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has essentially decided that ISIS’s only future is to be based in Libya, and that he himself Baghdadi should physical be there to to provide the morale and psychological support to their so called dream of a Caliphate. A new political religious dominated country called The Islamic State to be made up from amongst the countries they have and will in future try to destroy.

Many other good points were made in that article but it is this face that ISIS have decided to move operations from Iraq and Syria to Libya that make a game changer for the War on Terror.

As ISIS continue to lose in Syria and Iraq, they need a ‘new home’ -and they found it and are going there we fear in their thousands. And It’s Libya.

Here is some evidence to back our theory that supports Dennis Hoffman’s assertion. In the past few weeks, little has appeared in the media of the increased intensity in the fighting in Sabratha. The reports that do appear attribute these skirmishes to elements paid secretly by Italian Government to local Sabratha militias fighting ‘people smugglers’ to stop the flow of migrants particularly from Zuwara to Italy. A strategy solely Italy is committed to.

However what the main stream
Media fail to write about are the true reasons for the intensity in fighting in and around Sabratha and Sirte.

Thousands is of ISIS fighters have recently arrived in Libya from Iraq and Syria, where they have had to flee. This is due mostly to Russian bombing of ISIS positions in those two countries, where ISIS are clearly now losing – and the logistical and medical provided covertly from Turkey. Their embarkation for Turkey’s two way traffic is the airport at the city of Misrata, a mid point between Sirte and Sabratha. The areas these ISIS retreaters are heading to are in and around two critical military strategic places for ISIS, Sirte and Sabratha.

It enables them to open new fronts and reprioritise their strategy.

Why is because it gives them striking distance from Sirte to the oil terminals of the crescent and as far as Sabratha is concerned, ISIS have plans to start launching attacks on Tunisia and later Algeria and Morocco . This is in part because many of the returning ISIS fighters are originally from Tunisia and it seems their idea is to bring turmoil to their country of origin as well as to Libya, so they need a base to operate such activities from. Then to expand into other North African countries.

This is the new ISIS strategy, make no mistake.

As far as the Sabratha region is concerned, new ISIS attacks have been fiercely defended by the Libyan Anti-ISIS Operations Room (AIOR).

A side issue and worry for Sabratha, especially for UNESCO, is further potential damage to the hitherto well preserved Roman ruins dating back thousands of years of the ancient Roman city of Sabratha.

There was for the first time shelling last week by ISIS of the famous Amphitheatre and UNESCO has called for an end to attacks on this major heritage site. The beginning of a replay of what ISIS did to Palmyra in Syria where they destroyed thousands of years of irreplaceable historic statues and monuments dating back to the Bronze Age.

A 65 year old British old hand, also an old family friend and reliable source, who was in Sabratha recently, a MENA political analyst, Richard Galustian, an expert on the region, said “Reporting from Libya generally and specifically from Sabratha seems to have understated the fact of a new influx of ISIS fighters who have retreated from Syria and Iraq” adding “the Press only seem to want to write about attributing the blame on increased fighting in Libya on the Italian Government for fueling the fighting for their own objectives” Galustian further states “to be specific its because they, the Italians, pay certain militias to fight people smugglers, but that is the lessor of the problem; its these new ISIS fighters coming into Libya in their thousands that is the real problem”.

The Italian Government has gone out of its way to explain the situation to Field Marshall Haftar, who visited Rome earlier this week to discuss these issues. They also asked him it is reported to stand down his military position in order to stand as a civilian in new Presendential elections. This would be a huge tactical error.

Haftar left Rome to Paris on Thirsday to explain all to his friends in France given the publicly displayed tensions between Paris and Rome over Libya.

Unconfirmed reports also have suggested that the Italians appealed to Haftar in the short term to send Zintani based troops loyal to him based relatively close to Zawia ports, to help destroy ISIS in the Sabratha region and also in Zawia itself and other other parts of Western Tripoli, to also help stop immigrants and secure it’s important oil facilities at Melitia. These being Italy’s prime two concerns.

In conclusion what now is critical is for America both militarily and politically to become more engaged with Libya, and more than that, to announce to the World a clear and decisive Libya policy particularly now ISIS have shifted their Interests to that country.

Authors:

Christopher Nixon Cox is a lawyer who is the grandson of the 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon.
&
Phillip Escaravage is a Libya analyst and son-in-law of Christopher ‘Kip’ Forbes who is the Vice Chairman of Forbes Media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MEET THE KEY PLAYERS FIGHTING IN LIBYA


MEET THE KEY PLAYERS FIGHTING IN LIBYA

Since Qaddafi’s downfall, Libya has been overtaken by a chaotic mix of rival governments, armed groups and jihadi militants. ISIS has established bases in Libya, while an Al-Qaeda affiliated group is also active.

The Government of General National Congress (GNC)

Who?

On the 8th of August 2012 the NTC has officially handed over power to the General National Conference. In June 2014 the House of Representatives was democratically elected but the GNC did not accept this defeat. Thus they brought in the Misurata militias to burn the international airport of Tripoli and cause the biggest environmental disaster in Libya. All militias are financed by GNC and GNA otherwise they would have been overthrown.

 Where?

The GNC is based in Tripoli where they took power in August 2014, the GNC represents the Muslim Brotherhood and all other fanatic sects. Holds the capital of Tripoli under captivity till today together with the GNC.

Aligned with?

The GNC has a broad base of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, England, France and the USA support. All these countries support the Muslim-brotherhood as moderate muslims.

The Government of National Accord (GNA)

Who?

Established in early 2016 after a U.N.-backed negotiation process, the GNA represents the international community’s hope for a return to peace and stability in Libya. It is led by the Presidential Council, headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, a trained architect with little political experience prior to his appointment.

Where?

The GNA is based in Tripoli, the country’s capital located in western Libya. Which is under captivity of  the two governments  the GNC and the GNA..

Aligned with?

The GNA has a broad base of international support. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Peter Bodde, visited Serraj in Tripoli on Tuesday—the first visit by an U.S. ambassador since 2014, where Safira Deborah run out off  Tripoli even-though she praised the Islamists and  five years after Islamist militants killed four U.S. officials, including the then-ambassador Christopher Stevens—where he pledged support the NTC, promising to assist with expanding its “counter-terrorism capacity” and train Libya’s armed forces. Various militias who are financed are also supportive of the 2 governments in Tripoli.

Fayez al-Serraj

Prime Minister of Libya’s Government of UN backed Gov, Fayez al-Serraj, attends a news conference with the U.S. ambassador to Libya Peter Bodde and Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, the top U.S. military commander overseeing troops in Africa, in Tripoli, Libya. Serraj represents the international community’s hope for restoring stability to Libya. HANI AMARA/REUTERS

The Libyan National Army

Who?

The Libyan National Army (LNA) constitutes the remnants of the country’s military, defeated under Qaddafi in the 2011 revolution and disbanded. It is led by Khalifa Haftar, who has pledged to fight terrorism in Libya but has rejected the authority of the GNA and the GNC. Haftar served alongside Qaddafi in the Libyan military, but later plotted to overthrow Qaddafi and fled Libya to the United States in the mid 1980s. He thought he had a senior role in forces that overthrew Qaddafi in 2011 till he had General Abdel Fatah Younes assassinated .

Where?

Haftar and his forces are based in the eastern city of Tobruk and control much of eastern Libya, including valuable oil fields and pipelines. The LNA has also been battling for control of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, since 2014 against the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC), a group of Islamist militias and jihadi groups including Ansar al-Sharia, the main militant group in the country.

Aligned with?

While Haftar has refused to endorse theGNC and GNA, he met with Serraj recently in the United Arab Emirates for talks; Haftar released a statement calling for changes to the U.N.-backed deal that formed the GNA. Haftar has also courted international support from Russia.

Khalifa Haftar

General Khalifa Haftar during a press conference in Amman, Jordan, August 24, 2015. Haftar commands armed forces in the east of the country and has so far refused to recognize the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli. KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The Self-proclaimed Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Libya

Who?

Since late 2014, ISIS has gradually built up its fighters and presence in Libya. Some former pro-Qaddafi strongholds turned to the jihadi group after their leader’s downfall, while the group has also been boosted by a flow of foreign fighters, many from other Arab states. The group’s leader, Iraqi national Abu Nabil, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in late 2015; it is unclear whether a new leader has been appointed, although an ISIS publication carried an interview with Abdul Qadr al-Najdi in March 2016, identifying him as the “emir tasked with administering the Libyan provinces.”

Where?

From 2012 till 2015 the jihadi group main base was Derna on the East side of Libya till it was destroyed what was left moved their base to Sirte until late 2016, a coastal city in central Libya that was Qaddafi’s hometown and was captured by ISIS in June 2015. But after six months of fighting, pro-government forces liberated the city from the militants in December 2016. ISIS has carried out attacks in all Libya’s major cities, including Tripoli, and previously controlled the cities of Sabratha in the west but has since lost control of all three.

Aligned with?

The group is aligned with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the purported caliph of ISIS who is thought to be based between Iraq and Syria. ISIS in Libya has on occasion cooperated with Ansar al-Sharia, but the latter group has not given its allegiance to Baghdadi and has suffered defections to the former.

Misrata Libya ISIS

Libyan security forces and citizens inspect the damage after a car bomb attack on a security post in the Saddada area near the eastern Libyan city of Misrata, on April 13, 2016. The city was retaken from ISIS in December 2016 by pro-government militias. STRINGER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Ansar al-Sharia

Who?

Formed in 2012 after a merger of several Islamist militias, Ansar al-Sharia (ASL)—whose name means “Partisans of Islamic Law”—are an extremists militant group calling for the imposition of Islamic law across Libya. The group was headed up by Mohammad al-Zahawi, a Libyan imprisoned under Qaddafi; but the group said in January 2015 that Zahawi had been killed, and it is unclear whether a replacement has been appointed. U.S. officials also blamed ASL for the Benghazi consulate attack, although the group denied responsibility.

Where?

ASL is based in Benghazi, where it has been fighting against General Haftar’s forces for several years as part of the Shura Council.

Aligned with?

In 2014, the U.N. added Ansar al-Sharia’s brigades in Benghazi and Derna to its sanctions list of groups and individuals associated with Al-Qaeda, the global jihadi franchise. The U.N. said that ASL ran training camps for fighters traveling to Syria, Iraq and Mali. The group itself has denied links to Al-Qaeda and has in recent years focused its energies on charitable and da’wah—spreading the faith of Islam—in a bid to shake off its image as a militant group.

Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC)

An umbrella group of Islamist militias and jihadis, including ASL, the BRSC is based in Benghazi and battling against Haftar’s forces for control of the city. In this respect, it is fighting alongside ISIS, and the group has experienced tensions because of the association with the militant group, according to the European Council on Foreign Affairs.

Various militias and brigades

Libya is home to a vast collection of local and tribal militias, some of which support the U.N.-backed government, others which are concerned with local interests. Prominent among these are the Misrata brigades, which played a key role in liberating Sirte from ISIS; the Zintan brigades, who  captured Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam in 2011; and the Third Force, a GNA-backed militia accused of perpetrating an attack on an airbase in southern Libya earlier in May that killed 141 people, mostly soldiers loyal to Haftar.

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US Ally in Libya Joins ISIL and Leads Its Forces in the Country – Reports


US Ally in Libya Joins ISIL and Leads Its Forces in the Country – Reports

Abdelhakim Belhadj, who despite ties to al-Qaeda was backed by the United States and NATO during the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, has joined the Islamic State in Libya and is leading forces there, according to US intelligence officials.

Belhadj, a Libyan national and former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, was considered by President Barack Obama’s administration and some members of Congress as a “willing partner” in the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011.

“Now, it’s alleged he is firmly aligned with ISIS and supports the training camps in eastern Libya,” Catherine Herridge, chief intelligence correspondent for Fox News, said Tuesday on “America’s Newsroom.”

Also on Tuesday, Sara Carter of The Blaze tweeted: “Abdelhakim Belhadj is now the leader of #IslamicState in #Libya. At CIA rendition camp — let go, later participated overthrow #Qaddafi.”
Belhadj indeed was held in a secret CIA detention center, and his connection to the spy agency remains murky. In 2004, Belhadj and his pregnant wife were arrested in Kuala-Lumpur airport in Malaysia. He was transferred to a CIA “black-site” in Bangkok before being turned over to Gadhafi’s government, which threw him in the Abu Selim Prison.

Belhadj was freed in 2008 by the Gadhafi regime as part of a reapproach toward local Islamists. In 2011, however, he chased the Gadhafi family out of Tripoli as the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group that was backed by the US and NATO.
Despite Belhadj’s well-known ties to al-Qaeda, he was made head of the Tripoli Military Council, a position he held until resigning to run for office in May 2012.

He has also been connected to terrorist operations around the world, including the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the murder of two Tunisian politicians at behest of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Belhadj’s reported move to Islamic State would bolster the terrorist group’s efforts to recruit Libya’s existing militant forces, which includes as many as 3,000 fighters, according to the Washington Times.

A group of Syrian rebels supported by US politicians for their “moderate” position, and who received US military equipment, has disbanded after heavy losses.

America’s Favorite ‘Moderate’ Syrian Group Disbands
This would not be the first time western-backed “moderate rebels” who were recruited to fight terrorists ended up crossing to Islamic State or al-Qaeda. In Syria, the so-called “Hazm movement” defected to al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra front, while 3,000 members of the Free Syrian Army pledged support to Islamic State.

In Libya, Islamic State militants already are receiving “tangible assistance” from training camps at a new support base near the port city of Derna in the eastern part of the country, according to counter-terrorism sources who spoke with Fox News’ Herridge.

The situation raises fresh security concerns as the US and its allies struggle to keep tabs on the terror group as it expands throughout the Middle East.

An unnamed source told Herridge they would not be surprised “if the next 9/11 came out of Libya.”

The Islamic State Diary: A Chronicle of Life in Libyan Purgatory


The Islamic State Diary: A Chronicle of Life in Libyan Purgatory

For months, the Islamic State visited its reign of terror on the city of Derna, Libya — until it was stopped by an al-Qaida offshoot. Farrah Schennib describes the horrors of daily life under the IS in his diary.

Only 300 kilometers (186 miles) separate dream from nightmare. On the coast of Crete, tourists enjoy their carefree summer holidays. But just across the water, at the southern edge of the Mediterranean in Libya, Islamists are committing murder in the name of Allah.

Very little unfiltered news is making its way out of the contested regions. Most of the images we get are from terrorists, who are spreading their chilling propaganda on YouTube and Facebook. But what is really happening inside the isolated country? What is life like there?

Since the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi, the coastal city of Derna has been ruled alternately by an offshoot of al-Qaida and by the Islamic State terrorist militia. One young resident kept a diary for us for over five months. Its publication presents a not-insignificant risk to the 26-year-old. In order to protect his identity, we have changed his name and are instead calling him Farrah Schennib.

The two Islamist groups are engaged in a brutal battle for power. In July, al-Qaida fighters drove the IS extremists out of Derna, but now they are trying to return.

In this special report, you will find 22 entries from Farrah Schennib’s diary. They are filled with a sense of fear and resignation. But they also show a lust for life and a desire to resist.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A large crowd has formed in front of the al-Harish hospital. I get out of the car. “It’s Muhannad!” a woman cries out. I move closer and I can see the dead boy on a stretcher. He’s wearing a yellow jacket covered with mud. I stare at the lifeless body of a child of about the age of 10. The boy’s head is missing. He has been decapitated.

I have been a photographer since the beginning of the revolution. Back then, the world wanted to know what was happening in Libya. These days, no one cares any longer what has become of Derna, a slaughterhouse where the butchers are swapped out every few months.

They found Muhannad’s head a week later. The news spread throughout the entire city. We asked ourselves what kind of person would decapitate a child? Why? At least Muhannad’s parents are now able to bury their child.

An agency in Tripoli asked me for pictures from Derna. At first, I wanted to reject the assignment, but I can’t afford to lose my last clients. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any work for me here.

Fighters with the Islamic State are unable to differentiate between journalists and members of militias. They shoot at anyone who looks suspicious to them. That’s why, most of the time, I only take photographs from my car. I seldom get out.

I used to walk through the streets without worry. People would wave at me. After 2011, there was even a brief period of euphoria and freedom. I gave colleagues from abroad tours through Derna. At one point, I even had a visit from a blonde-haired woman, a journalist from Australia.

Now, anyone who doesn’t work for a particular militia is suspected of being a spy. But I don’t work for any side.

I stand for a while in front of the morgue. I don’t feel anything. When I get home, I realize that I haven’t even taken a single photograph.

IS has ruled Derna since October 2014

Wednesday, March 11

Maryam walks over to me merrily. She’s wearing a black and white school uniform. My Uncle Faruk asked me to pick her up from school at Al-Khadra Market. Maryam is 11 years old. Like me, many other male relatives, brothers and fathers, wait until the girls exit the school. And as always, the Hisba, the IS’ moral police, patrol in their white Hyundai vans.

It used to be that teenage boys would lurk in the alleyways trying to attract the attention of one of the older girls. But no one dares do that anymore.

The watchdogs wear long robes like the ones in Afghanistan and long beards. These days, they are even forcing shop owners to close their businesses during prayer times — five times a day, just like in Saudi Arabia.

They also closed the schools for two months. The curriculums were purged of any “un-Islamic” material. Biology, chemistry, physics, physical education and music are no longer taught. For Maryam, school is the only place where she still gets a chance to meet with other girls, her friends. Girls are barely even allowed to leave their homes anymore.

We hated Gadhafi. He and his sons ruled brutally, and we were afraid of his thuggish police. But there were no Islamists back then.

Members of the al-Qaida group SRMD

Members of the al-Qaida group SRMDSunday, March 15

For a moment, I’m happy. I’ve found a steel container that I can use to store more than 100 liters of gasoline.

Gasoline is strictly regulated here, which might sound like a joke in one of the world’s most oil-rich countries, but when the city is sealed off, it is impossible to find fuel. My Uncle Faruk advised me to immediately drive from one gas station to the next to collect gasoline.

Gas Station 115 is guarded by IS fighters in an SUV. The black IS flag is planted above the station.

A dispute breaks out as fighters from another militia, the Mujahedeen Shura Council of Derna (SRMD), drive past all the people waiting in line and head straight for the pumps.

Members of SRMD have sworn their allegiance to Egyptian al-Qaida boss Ayman al-Zawahiri.

We don’t like Islamic State or the SRMD. Nevertheless, the Islamic State is far more barbaric than the others.

I believe they are so callous because they don’t know us or our country. They include Tunisians, Yemenis, Chechens and Pakistanis. Almost all the men from SRMD are from Derna, which makes it more difficult for them to kill people.

I want to leave this gas station immediately. When the militias encounter each other, it is often quickly followed by shooting. IS and SRMD have divided the city among themselves. They have reached a kind of cease-fire with each other. But how long will it hold for? I put the car into reverse and ram into the front of the car behind me.

I get back home safely. During the evenings, I give flour to Ahmed, the baker, who then bakes tannour bread for me and my neighbors.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nadya calls me. “Is this how you want to feed our children?” she asks, jokingly, as I pick up the telephone half asleep. We’ve been engaged for six months. I want to marry her as soon as possible. Nadya is gorgeous. She’s 22. We call each other every day, at least when there’s electricity. She’s the youngest cousin of my aunt and wants to become a doctor.

Since IS has ruled the city, she can no longer attend university. I am the only one of my friends who has his own apartment – two rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom. But I don’t make any money and weddings are expensive.

An IS convoy in the mountains near Derna

Thursday, April 2

When the IS arrived in Derna six months ago, anyone who had worked together with the government was ordered to appear at the Tawba Station, or “Penance Center,” and hand in their weapons. The traffic cop Saleh from the Al-Khadra Market hasn’t been seen since. He was an institution. Everyone knew him.

Journalists were also forced to issue an “apology” for their “transgressions” in the past. I told the man at the IS media center that the times after the revolution were disorienting and that we didn’t immediately find the right path, but that we were now happy that the Islamic State had liberated us.

Of course we are all depressed. Journalists have lost their courage. It’s only very seldom that I carry my camera with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 13, 2015

People are disappearing. Flyers are posted in the city with photos of the missing. New ones are added every day. My friend Ali Ibrahim is selling his car, his mother’s jewelry and the house in order to pay the ransom demanded by the people who have kidnapped his father.

We are certain that Islamist militias are behind the kidnappings. For people who don’t pay the ransoms, the next time they see their missing relative is in the morgue.

There’s no authority we can turn to for help either. The city’s highest justice official is a killer named Ayman Kalfa who had been sentenced to death. He had been imprisoned and, like so many other criminals, only got out because of the revolution. We are being ruled by murderers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Derna has been sealed off. I am only able to eat one meal a day and I am worried that there soon won’t be anything to eat at all.

I haven’t left my apartment for days now. We haven’t had any electricity for 35 hours. No Internet. No information.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yesterday one of the armed groups with IS executed two officers of our army.

They call them “halal” killings. What this means is that IS fighters believe it is OK to kill if someone disagrees with the ideology of their militia leader.

They simple annihilate you if you have a different opinion – in the name of Allah.

Heavily armed IS combatants

Monday, April 20, 2015

Today they crucified three brothers from the Mansouri family (also known as the al-Harir family). The whole city listened to the shots being fired back and forth between the Mansouris’ compound and the IS fighters. It began yesterday at 6 a.m. in the morning and ended at 3 a.m. at night. The Mansouris knew they would die. But they stood up against the savagery. For us, they are heroes.

The IS’ rule is unjust and brutal. The Libyans will not go on accepting this for an eternity. As of today, we know this with certainty.

They had been searching for Hamida, one of the four Mansouri brothers, because he had allegedly killed a person. They wanted to try him in an IS court.

It could be true that Hamida committed the murder, but he refused to be convicted by an IS judge.

An IS courier delivered an ultimatum to the family. If Hamida didn’t turn himself in, he warned, the Mansouris’ home would be destroyed.  The Mansouri brothers fought until the very end. They shot and killed three important IS leaders, including the highest ranking, a Yemeni, and they wounded 40 fighters. It was an historical moment. Was it also a turning point?

It’s likely the IS will seek to take revenge on friends of the Mansouris.

I wonder if my number is still saved on one of their phones?

King Idris I., overthrown in 1969 by Gadhafi

Friday, April 24, 2015

As I do every Friday, I visited my grandparents in the Ambich neighborhood today. My grandfather studied agriculture at university many years ago. We went together to the small village mosque, not the big new one. We have been doing this since the IS enthroned its own imams, their prayer leaders in the main mosques. It’s a form of silent protest.
My grandmother made couscous. The whole family was there, including my uncles, aunts, cousins and Maryam. My grandfather is 72 years old. He says we can’t lose our courage, because wrongful regimes can’t maintain power forever.
He tells us about the Italian occupation and the good times of Libyan independence under King Idris I. It was chicken soup for our sad hearts.
Grandfather says that life in Derna in the 1970s and 1980s was shaped by artists and poets. Women would walk around the city on their own, they didn’t wear headscarves and they wore fashionable skirts that weren’t even knee-length. He showed us just how high with his hands, prompting everyone to laugh.  It’s good that Gadhafi is away, he says. Then he throws a scarf over his shoulder and grimaces imperiously in a way that we immediately understand to be a caricature of Gadhafi.
Grandfather is funny, but he’s also smart. Libya is rich, he explains to us, and that is both a blessing and a curse. The people in the West wanted access to the oil, but so too do the religious fanatics. That’s why we went to war. That’s why all the foreign fighters came from Africa and Asia.

The families in Libya now need to stick together. It’s the only way the country can be returned to reason.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It’s 2 a.m. and I am awoken by the sound of rockets exploding. I go out onto my balcony and see clouds of smoke billowing over the city center. People are dying there again. Do I know them?

My friend Faisal calls me. “They’ve attacked Daesh headquarters!” he says. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS.

A suicide attacker had allegedly smuggled a bag with explosives into the old City Hall, which now serves as IS headquarters. The bomb was detonated using a mobile phone.
I’m suddenly feeling exhilarated. I call Nadya. We speak to each other for an hour. I feel hopeful again and I finally fall asleep.

SRMD fighters in the mountains surrounding Derna

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

There are dozens of entries on our local Facebook page. The heart of the IS government in Derna has been hit.

Granddad was right. There will be a time after the IS.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Every Thursday, my friends and I meet up at my place. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. Ashour became a dentist. Said Ahmed works as a car mechanic. We call him the “German machine expert.” Salhin studied management and Nizar lived for a long time in Misrata. We drink lemonade. Nazir slices onions and tomatoes. I put on water for the pasta.
If the crisis persists, Salhin says, he will never be able to earn the money he needs to marry the girl he has loved since he met her on his first day at university. She has warned him that she wouldn’t be able to keep rejecting the offers of other candidates forever.Salhin says a solution needs to be found soon. Only a second intervention by the West can save us now, he says. The West needs to finally take our expectations into consideration, says Ashour. And if they do come, they need to remain in Libya for the long-term and reform the country from the bottom up. Nizar disagrees. “Only we can save ourselves,” he says.
“The Europeans have to intervene at some point,” I argue. “Otherwise the gate from Africa to Europe will remain open.” “What are they waiting for?” asks Said Ahmed. “For us to all be dead?”
Nizar calls from the kitchen. The pasta is ready.

Those who do not attend executions are suspicious

Friday, June 5, 2015

The IS’ militia members drive through the city in pick-ups outfitted with loudspeakers. They order everyone to gather to view the public execution of a postal worker. They say the man worked for the Libyan army and that he’s a traitor.

Those who don’t show up for executions are immediately suspected of opposing Daesh. We all go there – Nizar, Said Ahmed, Salhin and I.

The condemned man is wearing orange overalls, as is so often the case. His executors are covering their faces. I want to take a photo when they sever his head.

When it’s over, I look down to the ground. Then I sneak back home.

 

An SRMD fighter

Monday, June 8, 2015

The corpses always arrive early in the morning. The grounds of the Harish Hospital are guarded by members of the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, which belongs to SRMD. Their leader is called Salim Derbi. He is as broad as grandmother’s wedding chest and he has a dark beard. Naturally Salim Derbi is a hardliner, but the residents of Derna view him as a righteous adversary of the IS fighters.

I am looking for Fatallah, a former schoolmate. His brother tells me he has been missing for three days. Fatallah took over my dad’s grocery store two years ago. Things were going well. Perhaps too well.

People disappear because they have money or because they made disparaging remarks about the leaders of certain militias. When they reappear, it’s in the morgue. I hope this won’t be the case with Fatallah.

I pass by the SRMD checkpoint at the entrance to the hospital. The flag of Abu Salim’s militia is flying there, white with black text. IS uses a black flag with white text.

Some of the militiamen are 15 or, at most, 16 years old. They only have thin whiskers on their faces and yet they are carrying fairly expensive radio equipment and weapons. They would rather patrol the streets than go to school.

A man wearing a long shirt and a pointy beard is sitting at the entrance to the hospital. He runs his finger down a handwritten list. I announce myself as a family member. “Fatallah?” the man asks. He then leads me to the examining room. These days, they are even bringing dying people to Harish Hospital, even though there isn’t even an emergency room here.

The more modern Al Wahda Hospital has been closed for months now. Foreign companies stopped sending replacement parts for the high-tech equipment there and the MRI device from Germany is no longer working. The company no longer has any representatives in Libya.

Five men are lying next to each other on blankets on the floor — old men with gray beards — and a child. Their clothes are dirty, covered in blood and full of dust. Three of the old men look as if they may no longer be alive. One moans and groans. Fatallah isn’t among them.

“Do you want to go inside the morgue,” the bearded man asks, pointing to a steel door behind him.

I start to feel sick to my stomach. I thank him and I hurry back to my car.

SRMD boss Salim Derbi

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The battle between IS and the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen in Derna is in full swing. We hear shots and the impact of rockets. I stay at home, where it is safest.

Deash has killed Salim Derbi, the leader of the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade. Although not everyone liked him, they all respected him. Members of SRMD are unlikely to stand for what has happened. (Editor’s note: It was later determined that Derbi had actually been the victim of friendly fire from his own men.)

I call Faisal. We analyze who we think is stronger: IS or SRMD? And, of course, we hope that SRMD will prevail.

SRMD has conquered the city.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Salah is back. He’s standing at the Al-Khadra Market where he is directing traffic. I holler with delight when I see his photo on Facebook. I jump into the car and drive to the old city center. People are in a festive mood. They wave at Salah as they drive by his pedestal.

Daesh is no longer in Derna. SRMD has driven them out. IS will try to return, but for now the Islamists are sitting in the mountains. Armed SRMD fighters stand at the side of the street.

Never would I have thought that I would ever be pleased that my city was now being governed by an al-Qaida militia.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A YouTube video shows a uniformed IS fighter. He admits defeat. He says they lost Derna but that they will take revenge for their comrades who have been killed very soon.

We know the threat is still very real. We continue to live in purgatory.

I call Nadya and tell her that I love her more than anything else.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I would have loved to have seen it with my own eyes. The leader of IS was captured and they dragged him naked through the streets of Derna. They later hanged him. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes when I heard about it.

It only occurred to me later that night that I had laughed about the humiliation and death of a human being.

What has become of us is shameful. But Islamic State – they aren’t people.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alcohol is available for sale again. I don’t drink alcohol myself, but I think that is something each person has to decide himself together with his God. All I know is that those who ban alcohol and cigarettes aren’t popular in Libya.

The most important thing is that there are no longer any “Tawba,” or repentance, stations where IS forced police and officials to make “atonement” payments.

Friday, August 7, 2015

My friend Ashour was here today. His cousins are fighters with the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade.

From them he learned about the real reason local fighters from Derna decided to challenge the Islamic State.

IS wanted to grab the list of all the young widows of our perished fighters. They wanted to force them to marry their fighters. The bastards.

The men of Derna didn’t let them. They fought for the honor of the women here.

Sunday, August 9

The IS is back. Nadya told me. She’s beside herself. Her Aunt Asma lives in the eastern part of the city and the IS is attacking Derna from the mountains.

There was a major explosion right behind Asma’s house, a car bomb with many dead and injured. Asma is a nurse and she ran over to help them. Now she’s sitting at home crying.

IS won’t enter the city. It’s now just trying to free a path for itself through the desert, but it is surrounding by SRMD militiamen.

And General Haftar, the leader of the official government army, is cutting off their supply lines so that they are unable to bring any new fighters or weapons via the coast near Derna, Misrata or Sirt. He is cutting off the desert paths as well. Haftar’s troops are at the gates of the city, where they are controlling the sea routes. Islamic state has become a lion in a cage.

If Asma leaves, then the house will be left empty, but if she stays she will be in danger. Would should Nadya advise her to do?

Who knows what will happen next.

On August 9, we lost contact with Farrah Schennib. Since then, there has been no contact by telephone, no email. It has been reported that all connections to Derna are dead because there is no electricity there.

A friend of our translator, Salah Ngab, is soon expected to travel from Derna to Benghazi. We hope that he will bring back news of Farrah Schennib.

Susanne Koelbl is a reporter with SPIEGEL’s foreign desk and is often on assignment in crisis regions. She last traveled to Libya during the summer of 2014.

Salah Ngab is a Libyan politician who fled from extremists and came to Germany five months ago. Ngab assisted with the translation of this diary and the difficult task of keeping up contact and passing on information about precise events in Derna.

How the Diary Came into Being

Derna? Very difficult! That, at least, is what human rights organizations and journalists say who are still conducting research and reporting on the ground in Libya. It’s too remote, they said of the city, which became the first to fall into the hands of Islamist extremists after Gadhafi’s fall and was then taken over by Islamic State (IS) in autumn 2014. But we wanted a better idea of what is happening there.

SPIEGEL international affairs reporter Susanne Koelbl and Libyan politician Salah Ngab, who fled from extremists to Germany five months ago and helped to translate this diary, established contact with photographer Farrah Schennib. The young man, a resident of Derna, is as reflective as he is courageous. In him, they found a young man who was willing to pen a diary about his daily experiences in a world defined on one side by Salafist militias and on the other by the butchers of the IS.

The three had little idea how difficult it would be to maintain contact and to impart what was happening on the other side of the Mediterranean. Over the course of five months, they had telephone conversations in which they had to scream in order to be heard. They exchanged emails and even Skyped when there was electricity. The diary ends on August 9, the day we lost contact with Schennib.

In his last entry, he wrote: “Islamic State has become a lion in a cage. … Who knows what will happen next.”

Stagecraft: ISIS Video ‘Execution’ of Ethiopians in Libya Appears Fake


Stagecraft: ISIS Video ‘Execution’ of Ethiopians in Libya Appears Fake

By Shawn Helton

ethiopia-map

A newly released ISIS video allegedly depicts some 30 Ethiopians being ‘executed’ in two separate locations in Libya. 

However, one should take note, that this highly produced propaganda video – fails to provide any conclusive, or remotely credible evidence of a crime scene.

The terror installment said to have been carried out by ISIS militants entitled, “Until There Came to Them Clear Evidence,” was reportedly released by Al-Furqan Media, a media arm linked to the notorious Al-Hayat Media Center, the official media outlet for all sanctioned ISIS propaganda.

Once again, we see a terror motion picture which has been produced for dramatic effect, another work of deception – designed to create an emotional response within the viewer, rather than a rational one.

There have already been major questions concerning the validity of the ISIS propaganda videos. Still, they continue to function as a psychological assault on Western audiences, while serving to socially engineer western foreign policy in the process.

Here is another example…

isis-ethiopian-christians‘SITE on the Scene’ –  SITE Intel broadcasts ISIS propaganda material via social media.

Terror Trickery

On April 19th, it was Reported that a dozen or so Ethiopian men were executed along the beach near the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, while more than a dozen were shot in Southern Libya, but it’s important to remember that the video could have been filmed near almost any clear body of water. Similarly, the desert portion of the ISIS video could have also been filmed at nearly any arid location in the world.

In this latest ISIS propaganda video, quite a few anomalies associated with the production value of the film standout, as there were a number of planned multi-cam shots that would have involved a professional film team, costume designers, props and heavy post-production.

One of the most egregious elements of the staged ‘iconoclastic’ ISIS video, depicts giant-sizedISIS militants escorting their captives to their alleged end. This anomaly is a repeat of the same height discrepancy seen during February’s staged beheadings.

‘ISIS Giants?’ – This screen capture from the latest ISIS video, depicts unusually tall ISIS militants.


The ISIS execution reportedly took place in the Fazzan Province, and later as the desert scene evolves, ISIS members lineup to execute apparent Ethiopian captives at gun point. Although the terror group appears to have fired into the backs of those abducted, when you go frame by frame you see evidence of a heavily edited event. The scene is revealed to have depicted the ‘illusion’ of an execution by firing squad.

Another thing to consider in all of this, is that many of the gruesome images being paraded around by mainstream media, that are most likely used to generate ad revenue, show signs of manipulation, staging and victims whose faces appear almost serene while being executed something which has been present in every ISIS ‘execution’ production thus far.

As of yet, Ethiopian authorities have been ‘unable’ to confirm if their citizens were killed by ISIS militants in Libya. 

‘Pristine Terror’ – Notice the clean ISIS outfits and the nearly untouched guns on display in this most recent film production.

Problem, Reaction, Solution

The new ISIS video follows a winter season that saw several propaganda videos being pushed by the cloaked group and its social media distributors. The most recent film is the second mass execution said to have taken place in Libya at the hands of the now notorious terror group over the past couple of months.

Since last September, we’ve outlined that the ISIS ‘beheading’ videos were likely fakes, with many filmed against a green screen, including stage props, wardrobe design, voice overs and multi-cam videography. It turns out that at least two of the US major networksCNN and FOX News finally admitted this in February, after backlash over a video allegedly depicting a torched Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

In late January we were told that a “Tripoli branch of ISIS” claimed responsibility after a suspicious shooting attack on the largely empty Corinthia Hotel in the area. The event was synchronized with a car bombing just outside the hotel, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. It seems more and more that this was likely a setup to transplant the ‘ISIS’ narrative inside Libya.

In a report from February at 21WIRE, prior to experts releasing their conclusion about that ISIS video production, I was able to outline many of the film’s irregularities and inconsistencies proving that the film was indeed heavily orchestrated for maximum effect. 

In late February our assessment of the staged ISIS videos was confirmed. According to Florida-based Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians purported to have been decapitated in the video entitled “Signed With Blood: To The Nation Of The Cross,” was ruled to have been ‘staged’ due to the excessive anomalies seen in the dramatic 5 minute film.

While the newest ISIS video appears to depict a shocking escalation of terror, it fails to provide comprehensive evidence of a violent event and therefore should be looked as nothing more than propaganda to gain public support for Western foreign policy objectives – namely the fraudulent proxy campaign in Syria.

Additionally, this latest ISIS event also serves to deflect from the controversial military intervention in Yemen. This is something we’ve been outlining here at 21WIRE over the past month, while most Western media outlets have neglected to discuss Washington’s new proxy.

Here’s another look at an RT news clip from September 2014, where well-known Geopolitical analyst William Engdahl, assesses the deception and alleged roots of ISIS…

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