By Gary Sandiford, Olive Group’s Dubai based assessments manager. Olive Group is a leading provider of security and technology solutions and has been operating in Libya since mid 2011.
This weeks reporting has been dominated by the attack against the US Consulate in Benghazi on the evening of 11 September, which was apparently sparked by the airing of a segment of a US made ‘fringe’ film across the Middle East, which was described as defamatory to Islam and the Prophet Mohamed. A number of armed men and crowds stormed the consulate compound and set fire to buildings and vehicles. The US Ambassador to Libya and three other US consulate staff were killed during the violence, both the US and Libyan authorities have attributed the attack to Salafist aligned groups. The Libyan government will now be under a degree of pressure to reassure foreign missions and companies that they can provide adequate security across the country.
On 12 September, Mustafa Abu Shagur was confirmed as the new Prime Minister by the National Assembly; following a second round vote which saw him defeat the National Forces Alliance leader Mahmoud Jibril. Awad Barasi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate was elected Deputy Prime Minister. Abu Shagur is viewed in the eyes of many as the most qualified candidate for the role of Prime Minister and with no links to the previous regime he is also popular with those that want complete separation from the previous regime.
In the west of Libya, explosions were reported to have targeted electrical transmission towers on 9 September in the Wadi Mansour area between Tarhuna and Beni Walid. Elsewhere, clashes were reported in Sabha between members of the Qadhafa tribe and security forces. Clashes were also reported in Sirte between ‘Qadhafi-loyalists’ and the Martyrs’ of Al Qardabiya Brigade, after fighters attacked the brigade’s headquarters. The High Security Committee (HSC) disbanded the Abu Miliana Martyrs’ Brigade on 15 September, following the arrest of two HSC members by the brigade and the subsequent refusal to release them. A Greek Orthodox Church in Tripoli's Old City was attacked on 16 September and several icons were damaged. The church is located near the Othman Pasha Mosque, which was attacked on 28 August by alleged Salafists.