Former Official: Gaddafi Discharged Army Leaders before his Death

Cairo- On the sixth anniversary of Muammar Gaddafi’s death on Oct 20, for the first time a meeting held by the former Libyan leader with military officials is revealed.

Gaddafi had granted army leaders the permission to leave wherever they wished after his exit from the capital Tripoli on August 20, 2011, according to information received by Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Gaddafi decided this during a meeting held in the city of Bani Walid, around 150 kilometers southeast of the capital.

After that, Gaddafi headed to the city of Sirte where he chose to die. The former leader was killed on Oct 20, 2011.

General Authority of Endowments and Islamic Affairs consultant Ali Abou Soua, who remained six years in prison with former regime leaders, said that during his imprisonment he knew that Gaddafi had held a rare meeting with military leaders in Bani Walid and granted them the permission to leave.

Soua was imprisoned with former top Libyan officials including Intelligence Chief Abdullah al Senussi, head of external security Abu Zeid Omar Dourda, Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi and Gaddafi’s son Saadi.

He spent a long time with Gaddafi’s son inside the prison. Soua described him as someone who loves solitude.

“I talked with him the most. His answers and stances are confusing and he is a religious person. He supported his father but didn’t hold the weapon to fight until the regime was toppled in an attempt to save what could be saved,” Soua told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The consultant also narrated that he had witnessed the death of four captains under torture in prison in an attempt to get information from them on the disappearance of Imam Moussa Sadr during the tenure of Gaddafi.

Former Libyan Interior Minister: ‘ISIS Over As Emirate…Now Exists in Cells’

Fighters of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) fire a rocket at ISIS militants in Sirte, Libya.

Tripoli- Former Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdul Ali said that ISIS has ended in his country as an emirate, but still exists as cells.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdul Ali expressed concern that ISIS militants move from Iraq to Syria then Libya, especially lately. “These are real concerns,” Abdul Ali stressed.

Abdul Ali, from Misrata, was named minister of interior in the transitional Libyan government that was formed after ousting Muammar Gaddafi, and it was headed by Abdurrahim al-Keib. He now serves as the ambassador of his country to Bahrain.

Regarding the ongoing anarchy since the death of the former regime leader in October 2011 until this day, Abdul Ali, who was a member of the Transitional Council and chairman of the Security Committee then the arming committee, said there were many reasons leading to it. One of these reasons is the deterioration of the official security and military institutions, their weakness, marginalization and rampant corruption during the ruling of the preceding regime, he explained.

Another reason for this security chaos is the political fragility at this stage, according to Abdul Ali. “Part of it is due to actions of political forces in Libya and the role of foreign interventions, all of what created this chaos that is now taking place.”

“There were obstacles that hindered the restoration of the work of police and internal security services with their full capacity after the fall of the former regime,” Abdul Ali said.

When asked about the reason why police and security forces have not yet fully recovered after six years, he said that there were many obstacles, which prevented the normal restoration of the work of the police and the security services at their full strength after the fall of the regime. The most important can be attributed to the fact that a strong movement belonging to the revolution did not want these bodies to function, merely because they belong to the former regime.

“This movement belongs basically to the so-called ‘political Islam’, topped by Muslim Brotherhood, Ansar al-Sharia, Libyan Fighting Group and others,” Abdul Ali explained.

He also pointed out that some parties, belonging to the former regime, also participated in obstructing the restoration of security “because they wanted to disrupt the formation of any state they cannot head. They wanted the February revolution to appear as a failed revolution that is not able to reconstruct the state, in addition to the failure to unite the army, which contributed to the inability to activate other security apparatuses.”

Abdul Ali was previously a member of the local council in Misrata, during the “February 17 Revolution”, and was also in charge of the security file in the city, which is currently one of the largest Libyan cities in terms of military apparatuses.

Long Thorny Road to Building a United Libyan Army

Libya

Tripoli – In 2014, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar reunited the Libyan military forces after they became fragmented in wake of their country’s NATO-backed armed uprising against leader Moammar al-Gadhadfi.

Under Gadhafi’s regime, the army included a little more than 140,000 officers and soldiers, said former officer Ahmed Gadhaf al-Damm. The number now lies at only 35,000, who are under Haftar’s command. So where has the rest of the military, with its weapons and equipment, gone?

Despite the difficulties the Libyan army has been enduring since Gadhafi’s death in 2011, Haftar has succeeded in first, expelling extremist groups from the eastern and southern regions, and second, introducing reforms to the military structure left over from the former regime.

This has led to the emergence of what Libyan military spokesman Ahmed al-Masmari calls the “security brigades.” These brigades, with their rocket-propelled grenades and Russian heavy tanks, have earned their negative reputation from their suppression of the armed uprising.

They did not have a united leadership, but Gadhaf al-Damm does not paint such a dark picture. The military man, who began his career under Gadhafi, explained that these fighters used to be subject to the armed forces and they used to defend the nation in 2011.

At any rate, the road to reaching a united army seems long.

Libyan military officials, like their counterparts all over the world, do not like to discuss divisions in the army and differences over its objective. This stance is shared by officers, who still back the former regime, and others, who took part in the uprising and now back Haftar.

Given this bleak reality, one despairingly has to ask: What is one to do if his questions do not receive definitive answers from the various military units spread throughout the country?

For example, how can we explain the position of General Mustafa al-Sharkasi, the former military commander of the Benghazi region, who has found himself at odds with Haftar. He is now the leader of the “Defense Brigades” that is accused of terrorism and collaborating with Qatar.

After a long discussion with Sharkasi, one realizes that some issues can be resolved through a mixture of dialogue, good intentions and some force.

In this regard, a military intelligence official demanded that “ties between high-ranking officers with any sectarian or local militias must be immediately severed.”

For instance, what is the stance of Ali Kanna, who used to be one of the strongmen of the deposed regime? Immediately in the aftermath of Gadhafi’s murder, he was eager to introduce reform to the military institution. Now, however, his role has been diminished to merely a defender of his Tuareg tribe. The Tuareg, a tribe of non-Arab roots, are mainly present in the southern province of Fezzan.

One of Kanna’s aides, who has Tuareg roots, said: “We are Libyans. Our role is to preserve Libya’s unity and this can only be achieved through the unity of the military institution. The problem is that communication between the commanders in the country has weakened from what it was in the past. At least this is what we are noticing in the South.”

There are other military commanders and their soldiers, who used to be the backbone of the army under the old regime. Nearly seven years after Gadhafi’s death, they have found themselves surrounded by political chaos given the absence of a central authority. They now operate as isolated islands in their regions or they are waiting in regional countries like so many thousands of others.

What about military commands that have joined the militias and which do not adhere to Haftar? Could this lead to Libya’s division?

Gadhaf al-Damm replied: “No, the majority of the military officials are now in their cities and villages. They are trying to join the army regardless of who is leading it, because the truth is, no one is really leading in Libya. Everything is made up of illusory structures.”

Despite the difficulties, the military forces that Haftar managed to bring together in challenging conditions have managed to impose themselves. They have shelled extremist groups in various regions in the east and south and they now have their sights set on the west.

One of the members of the political dialogue committee, which is affiliated with the United Nations delegation in Libya, said that “at least we can now say that the country now has a general that we can talk to.”

“This will help persuade the international community in lifting the 2011 ban against equipping the army with weapons,” he added.

On some Libyan calls for Haftar to run for president, one of his close aides said: “The real purpose of uniting the army is not political.”

“The truth is that Haftar is not seeking a political position. We are not defending politicians, but a country, which is on the verge of being lost,” he stressed.

The idea of uniting the army used to be only a dream, but Haftar’s determination, as some said, has taken it to the regional and international dialogue table. It has reached Egypt, which is leading Libyans in that direction.

The challenge now lies in how to merge the other commanders, with their officers and soldiers, in a single entity and around a single ideology.

Masmari remarked: “The Libyan army ideology is defensive and it seeks to defend Libya and the gains of its people.”

There remain attempts to steer officers away from Haftar, which some observers said would only push the country towards division, said Dr. Mohammed al-Warfali, former commander in the Libyan tribes conference.

Despite this gloomy outlook, opportunities remain and international pressure and Arab and Egyptian efforts are being exerted to save Libya. Only days ago, Haftar met with UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salameh at his office at the al-Rajma military base, some 40 kms away from the city of Benghazi. Haftar, who enjoys strong and significant ties with the leaderships in Cairo and Abu Dhabi, has also paid visits to Moscow, Paris and Rome.

At the end of September, Libyan military officials in Cairo agreed to form technical committees to study mechanisms to unite the Libyan military institution.

American political analyst Sharif al-Hilweh, who had toured several cities in western Libya, said the existence of several military commands outside of Haftar’s control will really affect the army.

“This is natural and such commands in the South and West could lead to the division of Libya into three countries or regions,” he warned.

He noted however that some of these military commanders enjoy good ties with the US Department of Defense, which means that they could yet play a role in the North African country’s future. Some leaders are also choosing not to get involved in the developments in the country at the moment to avoid being viewed as affiliated with the rival parties, Hilweh revealed.

“Regardless of what happens, I believe that the army will no longer remain divided. I know that communication exists between its commanders, because, ultimately, they are the products of a single institution and this will not change with political shifts,” he continued.

Sharkasi meanwhile, summed up his position by saying: “Our main problem is Haftar. We will not seek vengeance if he leaves the Libyan scene.”

“We want the rise of the state,” he declared, while completely rejecting any form of cooperation with the field marshal.

Signs of Political, Military Confrontations to Gain Control in Tripoli

Libyan PM Fayez Sarraj, whose government is the result of more than a year of mediation by the UN Photograph AFP,Getty

Tripoli- It seems that Tripoli, with its clouded skies, will witness a conflict very soon as it may erupt on September 25 since rival armed local factions have begun to put plans to fight over the control of the capital, Tripoli.

This is a worrisome development for Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez Sarraj, who pointed out, during his speech at the United Nations, the risk of exceeding the political agreement that was put into force early 2016.

“Many western officials no longer answer the Council’s urgent phone calls, which indicates that there is a new political stance, which we don’t know and may not like,” a member of the Presidential Council said with s frustrated tone.

The biggest problem, according to some, is that there is no unified vision among the Europeans, at least, on resolving the Libyan problem.

The competition in Libya these days is not between pro-Sarraj forces and pro-Khalifa Haftar’s forces as it was in the past, but it is confined to the capital between some of Sarraj’s forces and armed groups that announced their allegiance and support to the Libyan businessman, who studied in the west and has US citizenship, Abdul Basit Igtet, to be the first president of Libya.

It is said that Igtet has relations with Qatar and with extremist armed groups inside Libya.

However, Igtet himself told Asharq Al-Awsat that this is not true at all.

“On the contrary, I am against the Qatari presence in Libya. This is something I am saying quite frankly. I am against the existence of any state in Libya.”

“I am against the presence of any group or movement opposing the interest of the homeland or that takes instructions from a third party, whether they are the Muslim Brotherhood or any other party.”

A western diplomat said that he believes there are two controlling parties in Libya.

The first is the US-British party and the second is the EU party, noting that the latter suffers internal conflicts, especially between France, Italy, and Germany.

While UN envoy Ghassan Salameh has proposed a roadmap aimed at amending the political agreement concluded in Skhirat and holding comprehensive elections before the end of next year, Igtet has called all Libyans to carry out protests for change on Monday at the Martyrs’ Square.

New Rights Report Accuses Qatar of ‘Sponsoring Terrorism in Libya’

Cairo- The latest rights report issued in Libya accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism. The report, which was prepared by the Cairo-based Libya Justice First Foundation, said that it uses all its resources, including reports and information on Libyan entities and individuals on the list of Arab States, to be used by relevant counter-terrorism bodies.

The foundation called on the whole world to cooperate with the Arab quartet, which has issued two lists during the past two months on the terrorist individuals and entities related to Qatar; including seven Libyan individuals and seven Libyan organizations.

The Arab quartet, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, released early June a long list of 59 individuals and 12 Qatari-affiliated entities described as “terrorist supporters.”

The list included five Libyans, Ali al-Sallabi, Abd Al-Hakim Belhaj, Mahdi al-Harati, Ismail al-Sallabi and Sadiq al-Ghariyani in addition to Benghazi Defense Brigades terrorist organization.

The four Arab countries released late July another terror list in which they added nine entities and nine individuals.

The second list included Ibrahim Bukhazem and Ahmed al-Hasnawi in addition to six Libyan entities, which are Al-Saraya Media Center, Boshra News Agency, Rafallah Sahati Brigade, Nabaa TV, Tanasuh Foundation for Dawa, Culture and Media and Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council.

For his part, Head of the Justice First Foundation Hassan Tatanaki told Asharq Al-Awsat that the war against terrorism is “not only military and security but also legal, intelligence, economic and intellectual wars.”

In regards to the Nabaa TV, the report said that the channel has appeared four years ago “in a way that is almost identical to the Qatari Al Jazeera channel, especially in its editorial policy.”

The report added that “the observers of the channel will easily discover that it promotes the ideology of the Libyan militant groups and extremist ideas.

Egyptians Rally Behind ‘State Stabilization’ Initiative

A security personnel stands guards during Pope Francis' visit, in Cairo

Cairo – A new initiative launched by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to fortify the country against terrorism has drawn large popular support, in parallel with a presidential order to initiate large investment projects in the country’s two largest areas on the northeastern and northwestern borders.

The Egyptian president announced the “State Stabilization Initiative” last week, during a youth conference, which calls for countering extremism and subversive ideas.

Egypt’s political parties, organizations, and television stations have widely welcomed the initiative, which comes in the wake of difficult security and economic conditions.

In remarks to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Maj. Gen. Adel Al-Omdeh, adviser at Nasser Higher Military Academy in Cairo, said: “The current situation really requires presenting challenges and threats facing the Egyptian state, in addition to their causes and implications.”

For his part, Brigadier Samir Ragheb, head of the Arab Institute for Strategic Studies, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the latest Egyptian measures represented “a real beginning to confront terrorist threats.”

Recent measures to counter extremism come within the framework of the commitment of the Arab Quartet, which includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, to fighting terrorism, drying up its sources and combating hate speech.

An official at the Egyptian presidency said the “State Stabilization” initiative was part of a package of security and economic procedures adopted by Sisi several days ago, which include the establishment of a national council to confront terrorism and extremism.

In a quick response to the movement calling for confronting terrorism and preserving the state, Egyptian radio and television networks on Tuesday laid out a map of various programs to highlight efforts deployed by state institutions to preserve the homeland, emphasize the principle of citizenship, and raise awareness over terrorist threats.

Egypt has waged war against terrorist groups in the Sinai and several other provinces for nearly four years.

Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in terrorist attacks. The country is also facing threats of infiltration by extremist militants through its western borders with Libya.

Egypt’s President Forms National Council to Fight Terrorism

Cairo– Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued on Wednesday a decree to establish a national council to combat terrorism and extremism and promote moderate religious discourse.

Chaired by the Egyptian president, the new council will include Egypt’s Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Pope of Alexandria Tawadros II, and the head of the General Intelligence Service, in addition to a number of ministers and public figures.

The decree was published in the Egyptian Official Gazette, and stipulates that the establishment of the “National Council to Counter Terrorism and Extremism aims to rally institutional and societal capacities to uproot the causes of terrorism and to address its impact.”

It also says that the council is tasked with “the adoption of a comprehensive strategy to confront terrorism and extremism, on the internal and external levels” and proposes “to amend existing legislation to address the shortcomings of the procedures in order to overcome current legal obstacles”.

The Council will set up “plans to create jobs opportunities in areas with high levels of extremism and to study the granting of soft loans to those who, through follow-up, demonstrate their abandonment of extremist ideology,” according to the decree.

Earlier this month, the Egyptian president said that his country would show no tolerance with those funding terrorism.

“Terrorism will not be eliminated unless countries that finance it are held accountable. It is impossible to tolerate those countries financing terrorism with billions of dollars, leading to the killing of our citizens, while boasting about the rights of brothers and neighbors,” Sisi said, during the inauguration of Mohamed Naguib military base, which is located at the western border with Libya.

The ceremony was attended by an array of prominent Gulf and Arab figures, including Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Emir of Mecca Prince Khaled Al Faisal, Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifah and Commander of the Libyan National Army General Khalifa Haftar.

Libya Welcomes New Terror Designation for 18 Entities, Individuals

Members of East Libyan forces gesture as they sit atop a military vehicle after they captured the final holdout of Islamist-led rivals in the southwest of Benghazi

Cairo – Libyan interim government, led by Abdullah al-Thani and the Libyan National Army led by Marshal Khalifa Hafter welcomed the four Arab states’ decision to add nine entities and nine individuals to the terrorist list linked to Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain issued a list of 59 names and 12 entities linked to Qatar on charges of extremism and terrorism. The new regulation added new entities including six Libyans: Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, al-Saraya Media Center, Boshra News Agency, Rafallah al-Sahati Battalion, Nabaa Channel, al-Tanasuh Foundation for Dawa, Culture and Media, as well as two Libyans Ibrahim Bukhzim and Ahmed al-Hasnawi.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Libyan interim government has confirmed the accuracy of the new terror designation.

In its statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry expressed appreciation to the four countries for working to fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people and mitigating the risks posed by groups and individuals who support terrorism in Libya.

The ministry declared that the new list “meets the aspirations of the Libyan people, which were clearly expressed through the 2012 and 2014 parliamentary elections.”

“Such brave decisions strengthen the Arab security, in the face of Qatar’s obstinacy,” the ministry said.

The ministry called upon the international community and organizations to unite and cooperate against those entities and those who support them, primarily Qatar.

The foreign statement accused Doha of providing funds and weapons to the terrorists named in the two lists, adding that it is ready to provide documents and video tapes showing the extent of Qatar’s involvement with those terrorists in Libya.

For its part, the Libyan army thanked the four countries that listed Libyan individuals and entities on terrorist lists.

“We would like to emphasize that all names and entities should be added to the list of the Parliament. We also call on other countries to be aware of their dangers to the world. In addition, several parties are the political wings of these groups and some of their commercial entities, and therefore they should be considered and added to the lists of terrorism as well,” explained the army in its statement.

Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, mentioned on the terror list, was formed in eastern Libya in mid-2014 as a coalition of terrorist militias that included the UN and US sanctioned Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi and the Rafallah Sahati Battalion.

Ismail Mohammed al-Sallabi, commander in the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, was mentioned by the four countries calling for combating terrorism in June 2017. Sallabi received Qatari financial and military support during the Libyan revolution.

In 2015 and until early 2016, the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council fought alongside the Libyan branch of ISIS, according to the UN and statements by the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council’s leadership.

Among the Libyan organizations that have been included in the new list is the Rafallah al-Sahati Battalion, which is affiliated with the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council. It is also led by Sallabi.

In addition, Boshra News Agency, the official media outlet of the Benghazi Defense Brigades in Libya, was included in the terrorist list.

Benghazi Defense Brigades in Libya is a terrorist militia designated by the four countries calling for combating terrorism in June 2017.

Boshra News Agency published the founding statement of Benghazi Defense Brigades that featured Benghazi Defense Brigades leader Sallabi.

Nabaa TV Channel is a Libyan media outlet controlled by Abd al-Hakim Belhaj, the former leader of al-Qaida’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who is sanctioned by the four countries.

Nabaa is used by Belhaj and his associates to promote a terrorist ideology and agenda in Libya. Nabaa TV endorses attacks and activities of terrorist militias in Libya.

Another terrorist organization mentioned is Tanasuh Foundation for Dawa, Culture, and Media in Libya. It has been used by Benghazi Defense Brigades’ religious leader Sadiq al-Gharyani to endorse attacks and broadcast messages to, terrorist militants in Libya. Gharyani was sanctioned by the four countries calling for combating terrorism in June 2017.

As for the two terrorists mentioned, Ibrahim Bukhazim is a founder and leader of the Benghazi Defense Brigades in Libya. Bukhazim previously fought with militants in Iraq before returning to Libya to serve as a commander in Ansar al-Sharia and manage attacks by terrorist militants on Libyan oil facilities west of Benghazi. He was an associate of al-Qaida leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

The other Libyan national, Ahmed al-Hasnawi is a militia leader in southern Libya. Hasnawi provided logistical support to terrorist organizations including ISIS, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Ansar al-Dine in Mali, according to the UN.

Egypt Air Force Razes 12 Weapon-Loaded Vehicles Trying to Infiltrate Libyan Borders

Troops and vehicles from the national army in Kufra, are seen taking part in a "Operation Dignity" mission, at the Libyan-Egyptian border, near Kufra

Cairo- Egypt’s army said on Wednesday that it had effectively destroyed 12 vehicles loaded with arms crossing the borders from Libya.

More so, the army added that it had thwarted an attempt staged by a number of militias on infiltrating western borders.

He added that “striking terrorism and protecting the border, through the process yesterday, is a consolidation of the army to the people,” Egyptian army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The air force acted after hearing that “criminal elements” had gathered to try and cross the western boundary, the army statement said, without giving details on exactly where or when the strikes took place.

The attacks came a month after Egypt launched a series of air raids in Libya on what it said were ultra-hardline militants responsible for attacking Christians in its territory.

“The attempt to breach the border with a four-wheel drive took place during the holy Islamic holidays,” the spokesman said.

He further explained that the militiamen were planning to exploit the holidays, but army taskforces were looking out with a watchful eye to protect their country.

The army spokesman said that the militants were located based on intelligence information indicating that they were planning to enter the borders from the west.

According to the Egyptian army, as soon as information showed that the target has crossed into the south of Siwa, a desert area, the General Command of the Armed Forces issued orders for the air force to take off and sweep the border area, detect and follow hostile targets.

The spokesman confirmed that the strikes resulted in destroying the 12 SUVs. He said that they were loaded with large quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosive materials.

The operation took place south of the Siwa Oasis located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Western Desert, nearly 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo.

Rifai added that fugitive militants are being pursued with army forces saving no effort in taking legal action against them.

“This comes as an extension of air forces and border guards carrying out their duties with unbound determination, despite the holidays, hoping to secure national borders,” he added.

ISIS Stops ‘Safari’ in North Africa

Cairo- The organizers of Safari tours in North Africa uncovered on Sunday that thousands of four-wheel drive vehicles were out of service due to the presence of ISIS militants at the desert border in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

The authorities took strict measures to prevent extremists from targeting tourist convoys in the area, particularly that most of those tourists came from Europe.

“The authorities stopped granting permits,” said Imam Fawzi, one of the tour organizers in west Egypt, adding that the problem lies in the resemblance of those desert vehicles to those used by ISIS militants.

A border official asserted that any four-wheel drive vehicle seen at the desert near Libya could be subject to an airstrike as a policy used to confront the transportation of terrorists in the area.

However, the official said that the decision to ban safari tours was only temporary.

According to the organizers of several safari tours, thousands of workers in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia already lost their jobs due to the decision.

Despite their high cost, around 1,000 four-wheel drive vehicles were out of service in the oasis located in west Egypt, while some of these vehicles were instead used to transport vegetables to the farms.

In Tunisia, Zeineddine Abdullah, a tour organizer for French tourists, also said that the roads were not safe anymore.

“We lost our jobs, and we have no money to pay the price of spare parts for our vehicles. We lack the capacities to change our cars’ wheels. If one spare part is broken, it’s not easy for us to change it,” Abdullah said.

Despite everything, “Europeans hope that the safari tours be restored here and they still plan to spend their vacations in the desert.” However, he said, “This is not possible anymore.”