UNSMIL’s “Liberation” of Benghazi
On Wednesday 5th July 2017, Khalifa Haftar appeared on TV and announced the “complete undiminished liberation” of Benghazi, the exact Arabic words he used were “تحريراً غير منقوص”.
Six days later, the fighting is still raging not only in the heart of Benghazi’s Old Town, Sidi Khreibish & Souq El-Jereed, but also in al-Sabri district. On Friday, 7th July some 30 of Haftar’s militias were ambushed in Souq Ehdash, at least 12 were killed in that ambush and scores injured.
The reaction of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) was rather alarming. This was not the first time Haftar announced “victory” or “near victory” in the war he started on 16th May 2014.
Those who followed the fighting in Benghazi will recall the numerous announcements of “capturing al-Sabri district, the claims of control of 95%, 96% and 98%, which all proved false. So, the enthusiastic celebration of UNSMIL of what it called “liberation of Benghazi”, undermines the position of the mission, because to many, it has only reinforced its image of not being neutral in the Libyan conflict, taking the side of a war criminal.
Video shows Pro-Haftar militants in Benghazi torturing detainees
UNSMIL’s position is further undermined by its complete silence on Benghazi since it’s foolish “liberation” statement. Since then, videos & photos of acts of grave violations committed by Haftar’s militias have been published, and UNSMIL did not address these criminal acts. Are the victims, in the eyes of UNSMIL leadership, subhuman (Untermenschlich), who deserve no protection or have no rights?
UNSMIL should act as an impartial arbitrator in the Libyan conflict, taking sides, and here the side of the aggressor, runs against the goals of its mission, unless taking the side of the aggressor is actually its real mission.
Photographs showing the victims of atrocities carried out by Pro-Haftar militants