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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Bani Walid Situation

January 24, 2012
last update Jan. 26

I'm woefully uninformed on the situation in Bani Walid, even before the reported takeover by Green/Jamahiriya/Loyalist forces the other day. It seems the rebels sort of went around it to wallop Sirte, and then implicitly must've taken control sometime after. Now, the Bani Walid local (NTC) council says they were driven out and the green flag was raised, at least temporarily.

Such things have been reported before in Green news sources, almost all unverifiable and not carried by the mainstream media, suggesting a pitched civil war the loyalists were winning. This is the first time I know of where mainstream media-al Arabiya, the Guardian, BBC, CBS, everyone now, reports this as news.

Later, I'll bring more links. For now I'll start with the BBC, who "helpfully" pass on the doubts about the "competing claims" of what's going on there.

Confusion surrounds events in the Libyan town of Bani Walid after fighting broke out between armed groups on Monday, leaving four people dead.

The head of the local council has said a local militia was attacked by remnants of forces supporting late Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

But the post-Gaddafi government has denied pro-Gaddafi forces were involved, saying instead the fighting was between rival militias.

The town is now reported to be calm.

I suspect the claim from Tripoli is bullshit. Loyalists are the ones who've been so good at re-taking Bani Walid at will. But then, that was back in the late summer last year. Is the city calm, or just reported so? By which set of competing authorities? Is it calm under green or red-black-and-green (or just black) control?

The state-run Libyan news agency WAL quotes the head of Bani Walid's council, Mubarak al-Fatamni, as saying that forces loyal to the new government were attacked on 23 January in a "barbaric manner" by members of the "remnants of the Gaddafi regime".

Mr Fatamni said pro-Gaddafi forces raised their green flag over the town for a short time on Monday afternoon, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Why briefly? They took their own flags right back down? Someone forced them to? Who? How?

But spokesmen for the prime minister and defence ministry have told the BBC the dispute is a local one.
I'm sure it was local. The Greens live inside Libya and always have, and recently center themselves around a few places like Bani Walid. Is this an acknowledgement from Tripoli it wasn't one of their own brigades made up of mixed Libyans, Qatari, Irish, American, Canadian, and Australian foreign adventurers?

The government's claim, explained:
A source within the Libyan government, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the BBC the fighting broke out after a group of former rebel fighters, the 28 May Brigade, arrested one person.

The fighting was "more a clash between local people regarding a difference of who this [arrested] person was," the source said. "But of course now other people seem to be involved as well. The situation is not very clear who is who. It's still confused."

See, they know just what they're talking about. The Green Flags must have been imagined. All is under control in Libya, the fake-out takeover has still unquestionably won.
Update Jan. 25:
Anger, chaos but no revolt after Libya violence
Oliver Holmes, Reuters, Jan. 24
...a day after townsmen put to flight a force loyal to the Western-backed interim administration in Tripoli, elders in the desert city, once a bastion of support for Muammar Gaddafi, dismissed accusations they wanted to restore the late dictator's family to power or had any ambitions beyond their local area.

"Allegations of pro-Gaddafi elements in Bani Walid, this is not true," said Miftah Jubarra, who was among dozens of leading citizens gathered at a local mosque to form a municipal council now that nominal representatives from the capital have fled.

"In the Libyan revolution, we have all become brothers," Jubarra told Reuters. "We will not be an obstacle to progress."
People in Bani Walid urged the NTC to keep back...
But they kicked out the government. They insist on staying there, outside NTC control, but not as an obstacle. It seems they did take down any green flags that may have been (were) displayed on first conquest. It also seems it did start as a dispute over one arrest among the many they've been dealing with there.
...those willing to talk to reporters insisted the violence was no revanchist putsch but was provoked by local abuses allegedly committed by The May 28th Brigade, a militia loyal to the NTC.

"When men from Tripoli come into your house and harass women, what are we to do?" said Fati Hassan, a 28-year-old Bani Walid resident who described the men of May 28th as a mixture of local men and outsiders, former anti-Gaddafi rebels who had turned into oppressors when given control over the town.

"They were arresting people from the first day after liberation. People are still missing. I am a revolutionary and I have friends in The May 28th Brigade," said Hassan, who said he urged them to ease off. "The war is over now."
Jubarra, who sat at the meeting of elders, gave details of the incident which, he said, caused patience to snap among the people of the town.

"On Friday, the May 28th Brigade arrested a man from Bani Walid. After Bani Walid residents lodged a protest, he was finally released. But he had been tortured.

"This caused an argument that escalated to arms.

"Bani Walid fighters took over the 28th May camp, confiscated weapons and pushed them out of the city," Jubarra explained to the elders, who sat in silence around him, many of them wrapped in traditional white woollen blankets.
The government response - military - was swift to set itself up and then wait.
Residents heard warplanes overhead late on Monday as NTC forces hastily drove south from Tripoli to take up positions 50 km from Bani Walid. But those troops had, as yet, no orders to move on the town, where Gaddafi loyalists fought rebel forces to a standstill before negotiating a surrender in October.

Interior Minister Fawzi Abd al-All told a news conference in Tripoli would "strike with an iron fist" anyone who posed a threat to Libyan security - but he also said there would be no NTC move against Bani Walid until it was clear what happened.
It's been like one day, and they're proud of the lack of "iron fist" activity that sounds eerily reminiscent of something Gaddafi, or any world leader faced with an insurgecy, would say. Time for humanitarian intervention? Better proof already that Tripoli is bombing people (jets overhead) than we ever had last year when Gaddafi was in charge.

I'm for calling this a local decision, perhaps assisted by a hidden green strike force. That could also be pure propaganda by the driven out May 28 ruffians, to ensure some "iron fist"revenge. But the sudden overwhelming strike by purely local (under occupation) fighting men takes a little explaining.

I imagine the NTC will demand authority back but will have to "acknowledge grievances," maybe charge someone, promise "reforms and oversight," maybe even "hold off until after elections" on implementing any of it (likely bumped back forward in short order). But then they'll get someone else in there who'll quietly show those little punks who's in charge - it ain't the Warfalla.
Reuters, via NYT
Libya on Wednesday recognized a government dominated by a powerful tribe in Bani Walid, a stronghold of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The move occurred days after the tribe violently expelled pro-government forces and illustrated the power of tribal leaders over the fragile interim government. Salah al-Maayuf, a member of the Warfalla elders council in Bani Walid, said that on Tuesday, his body appointed a new local council that was recognized by the defense minister on Wednesday. The tribe long benefited from Colonel Qaddafi’s rule.

But the NTCis keeping its options open - militias from the Nafusah mountains are there to surround the town and "keep the peace," not to enter it, just yet.
BBC with video:

Russia Today Arabic video:
Description, translated:
Gathered fighters loyal to the Transitional National Assembly in Libya at a checkpoint outside the Bani Walid on Tuesday after the pro-Muammar Gaddafi took control of the city and the green flag of the former regime.
Which is the largest operation since the formation of new government in Libya
Said Abdullah Mohammed, Chairman of the Board of Bani Walid military we are well equipped and highly trained


  1. i went to wikipedia to check what they have they are saying that Reuters journalist toured the city and saw no green flags but a few new Libyan flags instead, even though some pro-Gaddafi graffiti was visible on the walls of the city.But what intersted me the most was in which they said NTC jets were heard over the city. Wondered if they will be an outcry if they decside to bomb Bani Walid.

    1. you can get current news from wikipedia? and the NTC has an Air Force? I dont think so.

    2. @ Avolokitisvara: A wise guy, eh? You may have a point about Wikipedia news. But have you ever tried it and found it didn't work, or just presuming?

      Libya should by all rights have an Air Force, under NTC control, probably chaotic as hell and ineffective. Capable of putting a few jets out though, I imagine. Was it specified they were NATO/other? I'm not clear on that yet...

  2. personally i think it more a green because on wikipedia NTC leader estamied that Bani Walid 75% pro- gaddafi and it is the ancestoral home of the Warfallah tribe one of the largest in Libya which is pro-gaddafi. Also i remember seeing a report on Cnn about Bani Walid and near the end a group of people drove past the camera holding the monarchy flag but saying 'Alla Muamar Libya wa bas'. So maybe they are trying to fool the NTC by making it look like it's local uprising instead of a green uprisng.

    1. I doubt they're fooled, just relishing the break of not being forced to admit loyalists still have that much capability after everything. More details to be added above.

  3. The #1 rule of resistance in Libya: do not show the green flag to NATO occupiers or its journalists. You will get bombed in no time.

  4. Dear #Libya twitterosphere , half of you are related to the new ministers of #Libya, please send CV's so we can update the wiki page !
    7 hours ago Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

  5. La Resistencia Libia libera Beni Walid de los rebeldes del CNT 23.01.12 GUERRA DE LIBIA.flv

    9 minutes ago 24 jan

  6. found this video on someone channel the translation is in the descrption box.

  7. the translation seems to have disappered for some reason also i don't think the link i posted is working here another one just in case

    1. Sorry, Sam. Taking a look now.

      Yeah, a translation would be nice. I see it's there now:
      Translation In the name of GOD:
      "We are Gaddafi supporters, and we swear by the God Almighty that we will put an end to the country's traitors and rats, NATO customers. So as to be an example to others. We will never give up because of the wasted pure blood of the martyrs...We will never leave Libya to these agents, Rats and traitors. Endowed spark of resistance was lit in a loyal Bani Walid. In this part of Libya we are free. We are here. We strive and are resisting in all parts of Libya, in order to liberate the country from rats, customers, crusaders. Forward forward God is great God is great"

      "The New York Times - printed only quotes denying that the Green resistance was involved in the uprising."

      As we say at work, safety first. I think they'll need to deny and acknowledge the green parts a bit, compromise but stand their ground a bit, and simply force Tripoli to live with... something. More war would suck at this point, IMO. Later, it might be better. But if it's forced, and there's no more sanity to give, then they should fight.

      Also, I have someone new to ask about transcription and/or translation of Arabic videos...

  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hL-2UXG3AA&feature=youtu.be


    1. Thanks, added above. At the same time, it's said, they offered recognition to the local elders now in charge. I sure hope this works out well. The BBC's video is scary.

    2. I suppose in the Libyan anarchy any loyalist Green administration can buy "recognition" from the Benghazi NTC monkeys by waving the Rat occupation flag for two minutes. It may not buy "protection" from al-Qaeda / Misrata killer gangs. But who said the NTC could protect anybody...

  9. Libya teeters on edge of civil war
    - The Voice of Russia radio, 26 January 2012. "The reality is that Libya has entered a civil war...." - Andrei Volodin of the Center for Oriental Research at the Russian Foreign Ministry.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Interesting article by a man named Umar Khan containing an interview with a rebel heavy about what happened in Bani Walid. In the interview the rebel heavy makes concrete references to other Qaddafi resistance activity in other parts of Libya. Also interesting is Umar Khan's twitter account where he tweets that "Spoke to AbdelHakim Belhadj, he cld barely talk! Will interview him soon"

  12. Thanks, Tawergha. I do not trust that version related to Khan. Too much reliance on total proof "found" at checkpoints, too much talk of the brutality of the Green attackers (not that I'd rule it out). Too much emphasis on financing by rich people (proven at a checkpoint, duh), and there's the implication that the tortured man the locals spoke of was made up, someone never even arrested, a pretext for an obnoxious uprising.

    Whatever "facade" the local councils might be putting up about loyalist help, this rebel version from the commander of their "national guards" is likely pure bullshit.

    As for the green resistance help to Bani Walid, with no occupation and forced flag-display, just a roll-in, roll-out mission to help the locals when no one else would: they're becoming like Libya's A-Team: Accused of a crime they didn't commit, etc. Wasn't green also Robin Hood's color? No, the NTC won't be liking these folk legends in the making...

  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1WkC0W_XA4&feature=youtu.be

    report from eyewitness : killing civiians Sirte. About Bani Walid :
    it are Libiyans and they can't be killed because of their choice.
    There must be freedom of choice

    1. Great points that guy made. Of course, sometimes choices are proscribed, banned, criminalized. This is when a government and its ideas are considered exceptionally evil.Nazis after WWII were not to be killed, but neither did they get that choice to openly support the devil side. Same in Libya, now, in most minds and the "international community'" - that was the purpose of the relentless demonization.

      I mean, c'mon, who in their right mind would support a leader and system thatripped off the country's oil wealth to spend on moderately nice homes, even for the leader and family, had protesters massacred, bombed them from planes, attacked with mercenaries, mass raped the women and men and children, pumped up on Viagra, sniper-shot children, burning people alive, beheading soldiers who refused to carry out evil, putting his own victims burnt at NATO bombing sites to suggest bombs kill, poisoning water supplies, torturing and starving captives, committing genocide, holocausts, war crimes against humanity, mass executions and mass graves, and SHUTTING OFF THE INETRNET!

      So, no, no need to ensure rights for anyone with such "special needs." They'll just have to get over the brainwashing. Oh, another crime, brainwashing the masses...

  14. Gaddafi's remnants committed actions that were an aggression to the revolution and to Libya and they will now receive the treatment they deserve," Libyan Foreign Minister Ashour bin Khayyal told Reuters on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa.


    1. Yeah, I saw that. AFter committing great evil, they'd get what they deserved. Which, from the rest of the quote, is nice treatment, no (approved) torture (they're aware of). Strange.

  15. Situation last week :

    bani walid 23 1/24 1


    captured people bani walid

    1. Thanks. I see something (unseen) is burning steadily for at least three minutes.

      Another something burning.

      And captured people being questioned against a wall about writing on paper. They look kind of like loyalists, one at least being dark. But it could be the other way around. If I knew what was being said, it'd probably be obvious.

  16. Predator Drone flying over #Baniwalid #libya 1-24-12


    1. Now that's a little more concrete. I can't tell what model really, but if a Predator, that's not a NTC plane. Is it legal for NATO to keep flying there still? Was the UN mandate permanent?

  17. In this weeks there is also a Tripoli situation :

    Rival militia clash in Tripoli

    Gun Battle In Centre Of Libya's Capital City


    قتحاام مبني وزارة التعليم 2012-1-24 طرابلس /tripoli university


  18. http://www.algeria-isp.com/videos/politique-libye/201202-V1700/libye-des-manifestations-benghazi-fevrier-2012.html

    Des manifestations à Benghazi (2 février 2012)

  19. i saw this video on lizzie phelan blog shows a group off people remove the monarchy flag from April 7th military base in Bani Walid
    and put the green flag up here the video.

    1. "sam1 –Thank you for the additional link. I have been working on this from yesterday.

      This is not "a group off people" but the good old Green Libyan Army in full uniform and battle gear. I see up to 30 pickups, many of them regular Libyan army issue Toyota Land Cruiser 4WD pickup trucks of the type first seen in the Toyota War of 1987. Some of the solders also wear flak jackets and helmets. It is clear this is a large unit of the regular Libyan Army acting under strict military command, most likely at least 100 men.

      The interesting question is where and when this happens. I do not think this is before August 20th, as some other video material passed as Libyan resistance. The place is the large gate structure of some evidently equally large military structure. The gate is not as large as the gate of the Khamis Brigade base in Tripoli, but not much smaller.

      This may be the January 23rd takeover of of Bani Walid, reported in the western press as just infighting between "local tribes". If that is the case, then most likely the green flags have already been hidden from view and the Libyan Army retreated to a more safe location. It could also be from this week, but so far we have heard nothing of this development, apart from this video.

      I have searched Google maps for the location. There is a 7th April School. It is located some 500 meter north of what AP on January 24th called the headquarters of the "May 28 Brigade" in Bani Walid, and which was attacked by "armed Gaddafi loyalists." May 28 Brigade is the name of a pro-NTC revolutionary brigade, so this could well be the former April 7th Brigade military base.

      The base is here on Google maps: g.co/maps/25jah It is a small base with five barracks buildings and no gate structure. This is not the base shown on the video – it is simply far too small! Another difference is the trees. There is no place in Bani Walid with this much trees, apart from the bottom of the wadi.

      The video could be related to this weeks fighting in al Kufra. western media again attributes the fighting to infighting between tribes. Feb 17 accounts however paint a different picture. Accordingly Chadian mercenaries have attacked Kufra in 40 vehicles. The "Libyan air force" has bombed them. Based on the visual evidence it is possible that these Chadian mercenaries were in fact the regular Libyan Army, maybe the same unit we see on the video.

      I could not find the gate on Google Maps in al Kufra. Oddly, there is far more trees and vegetation in al Kufra, so far more places to check.

    2. This video shows that NTC rats were already driven out of al Kufra ("the city of infidels") by December 23rd. (Note the battle damage in the building.) The rat occupation flags painted on the HQ building are very similar to the ones in seen in Rabiana oasis, 100km west of al Kufra.

    3. Petri Krohn T west also made a video about al kufra and talked about how the rebels there are requesting assistance from Benghazi or Misrata on his afrisynergy channel.

      There was also some activity in Sorman as an entire motorcade of gaddafi supporters travled around it was on InomineX's channel.

    4. Petri, excellent work. It needs to be placed and dated in a way that's at least consistent before it can mean much.

      Hey, the handy posted at date-time links to link to a specific comment are back!



    Talks about it on RT:

    BBC even mentioned i found the article on the Global civilians for peace on Libya website:

  21. Some members of the green army where in al kufra today as well the green flag was raised and the old athem was also played.

  22. British officials in Benghazi have worked closely with Libyan rebels on resuming oil pumping. Tribal leaders told a British team on May 12 that a brigade of fighters would be formed from Jalu and Kufra to protect oil infrastructure in the south.

    Exclusive video, from a Nigerian boy who came in Italy , showing a group of migrants in Kufra with their hands tied and affected with some whips by Lybian rebels

    Gaddafi supporters outside Libya form new grouping

  23. http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE81L02Z20120222
    The province surrounding Al Kufra is Libya's largest and borders Sudan and Chad.


    NTC supports ethnic cleansing of black Toubou tribe in Kufra

    Sudanese army seizes southern Libyan town

    Qatar & Sudan admit troops on the ground in Libya
    Libya Rulers Vow “Integration” with Sudan Terror Regime

    Sudan Bashirs help to rebels

    Sudan Leader Offers Help Disarming Libyan Militias

  24. http://libyasos.blogspot.com/p/news.html

    16h/ KUFRA - Alwatan Voice is saying that green forces from Niger and Chad are preparing a major attack on Kufra with heavy weapons

    15h/ KUFRA Rats-oriented press AlwatanVoice writes that "Chadian helicopters have been seen flying over Southern Libya now".We can not find the confirmation of this news. It almost seems that NTC wants to call for Nato again.

  25. Mustafa Abu Shagur, Deputy Prime Minister of Libya
    After living in exile for 31 years, Mustafa Abu Shagur returned to Benghazi in May last year

    he owns a number of companies and has chaired many civil organizations in the United States

    Discussing Bani Walid, he said: “It is a part of Libya like any other city. The Libyans will have to realize that we cannot live in the past and we have to move forward
    He says that criminals hiding in the city

    We don’t want to kill them.” He was very clear about not using force and said: “We don’t want to use force although we can but we don’t want any more bloodshed.”

  26. Regional militias and the ruling Transitional National Council have already blocked the city of Bani Walid, once a bastion of support for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, from choosing its local government.

    Other militia leaders are volunteering their armed support as the military wings of newly formed parties.
    The militia leaders who have turned post-Qaddafi Libya into a patchwork of semiautonomous fiefs are now plunging into politics,

    Elections in post-conflict Libya are quite unlike other elections that we know about
    For example, the logistics and technicalities of the elections in areas like Sirte and Tawergah where populations have been displaced could pose huge obstacle in conducting inclusive elections with fair access to all.

    In a poll of Libyans conducted in December and January by a research arm of Oxford University,
    only 15 percent of the more than 2,000 respondents said they wanted some form of democracy within the next 12 months,
    while 42 percent said they hoped Libya would be governed by a new strongman.
    Perhaps most worrisome: a significant minority, about 16 percent, said they were ready to use violence for political ends.
    : Mohamed Eljarh is a UK based Libyan academic rese-archer and political, social development activist. He is from the city of Tobruk in Ea-stern Libya

  27. http://libyaagainstsuperpowermedia.com/2012/03/08/libya-the-names-of-the-delegation-warfala-kidnapped-by-rebels-in-benghazi-march-8-2012/

    The names of the delegation Warfala Kidnapped by Rebels in Benghazi



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