The US administration yesterday joined the European Union in imposing sanctions on the President of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh who is accused of blocking the formation of a UN – backed government of national accord which is led by Fayez Al-Sarraj in the capital Tripoli. Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that American, British and Italian special military forces (commandos) are participating in skirmishes between Misrata brigades loyal to Al-Sarraj’s government and ISIS in western Libya.
American soldiers revealed that special American commando forces have been present in two locations in Misrata and Benghazi in Libya for weeks and are coordinating with Libyan combatant groups hostile to ISIS as part of US military strategy that anticipates an increase in the number of ISIS fighters in Libya as a result of their increasing defeats in Syria and Iraq.
The chief spokesman for the Department of Defense Peter Cook said that he would not comment on the details of any military operations in Libya, but added “We continue to contact different Libyan groups in order to help them establish a secure and stable state system”.
In a statement issued by the US Department of the Treasury, it accused Saleh of disrupting the vote of confidence to recognise the authority of Al-Sarraj’s government and of opposing the political transition process in Libya. It also noted that the European Union recently imposed similar sanctions against Saleh, including travel restrictions and the freezing of assets.
Furthermore, Libyan military sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that a series of secret meetings between representatives of US and British forces and local leaders loyal to Al-Sarraj’s government were held at the Maitiqa base in order to coordinate them. The sources asserted that they also had information about the presence of British special forces that are fighting alongside the Misrata brigades against ISIS.