SPECIAL REPORT: LIBYA
By Barry Webb
Arab news entities are heavily covering the air attack on a migrant camp in Tripoli. The
migrants in this camp were mostly black Africans who had made their way across the
Sahara desert, and survived, and were waiting in the camp until they could find passage
But after surviving the Sahara desert, death came out of the sky. Over 50 were killed,
dozens more were seriously injured.
General Haftar’s spokesperson Gen. al-Mismari announced that their Libyan army had
targeted a “terrorist” facility in the vicinity of the migrant camp, and blamed the Tripoli
government of Fayez Sirraaj for having intentionally placed the migrant camp next to a
legitimate military target–against the migrant’s protests. He then accused the Tripoli
government of using the migrants as “human shields.” He also demanded an impartial
international investigation into the incident.
Al-jazeera and the Sirraaj government quickly picked up on the story portraying it as a
deliberate war crime on the part of General Haftar’s “terrorist” group.
STORY GETS SCRAMBLED BY FACTS
But then, eyewitness reports from survivors began to pour in and the UN actually began
to do something useful. The Libyan army of General Haftar and Gen. al-Mismari also
began to double check the time of their air attack and the time of the destruction of the
It so turned out that the air raid sponsored by General Haftar’s group was concluded and
withdrawn from the area 17 minutes prior to the time that the migrant camp was hit.
Eyewitnesses accounts began to pour in speaking of a “second air attack.”
What actually happened was that the first attack, sponsored by and claimed by General
Haftar’s group, actually hit not the migrant camp, but the terrorist militia “motor pool”
nearby where the group had been storing weapons.
The second air attack was by a MIG-23 flying out of the city of Masratta, which is
controlled by ISIS and allied to Sirraaj’s “internationally recognized” Tripoli government.
It was this aircraft that intentionally struck the migrant camp so that the attack could be
blamed on the 17-minute earlier attack by forces allied to Gen. Haftar.
MURDER FOR THE MEDIA
Now, here is where things get interesting. When the migrant camp was hit by a missile
fired from the MIG-23, survivors tried to flee the camp–only to be gunned down
intentionally by the “Libyan National Guard” under the command of the Tripoli
government. This, of course, was to increase the body count for propaganda reasons.
Al-jazeera’s rival, the Saudi-owned al-arabiyya, reported that camp survivors and UN
human rights workers have reported that they had begged the Sirraaj government to not
put the camp next to a military target, but their pleas were ignored. Furthermore,
according to al-arabiyya, the terrorist militias in the area had been using these migrants
as “drivers” and as “labor.”
I take that to mean that they had been used as slaves by the militias until they were of
greater use as corpses for propaganda purposes knowing which way al-jazeera would
play the issue, and knowing that most of western media follows the lead of al-jazeera on
all Middle East issues.
So, what it looks like, is that the Tripoli government placed the migrants’ camp in one of
the most dangerous areas they could come up with precisely because they wanted to use
these “expendable human beings” for propaganda purposes should the opportunity arise.
The attack by the Masratta-based Mig-23 and the calling up of the Libyan national guard
and posting them where they could fire on migrants fleeing the camp had to have been
coordinated. And, that is the biggest war crime of them all.
It will be interesting to see, that if in the wake of this tragedy the UN has the guts to pull
their recognition of the Tripoli government and/or whether or not any of the big powers
besides France and Russia will shift their support from the Sirraaj government to the
A couple more of interesting tidbits have come in regarding this tragedy. First of all,
Russian President Putin while lamenting the tragedy said that terrorists were being
transported from Syria’s Idlib province and infiltrated into Libya, though he did not
reveal who was transporting these terrorists. This would seem, though, to be lending
support an earlier claim by Gen. Haftar’s group that Turkey is hiring terrorists from all
over the world, training them, and then inserting them into Libya to fight on behalf of the
The Idlib province is key here. Who controls Idlib? Al-Qaeda took over the province a
couple of years ago. Then when the Turkish army moved in a few months ago they were
received warmly by al-Qaeda. So, it would make sense that Turkey is the one funneling
these terrorist into Libya as Gen. al-Mismari said.
Another interesting thing to further scramble the picture. The aircraft that launched the
first attack (the one against the legitimate terrorist target) was an F-16. General Haftar’s
group does not own any F-16s. This indicates that a “foreign entity” of some sort
actually carried out the attack on behalf of General Haftar.
Egypt and the UAE have both been known to provide air support for General Haftar, and
both own F-16s.
So, what we have here is a number of outside powers fighting a proxy war on Libyan
soil, much like we saw in Syria. In this case France has joined Egypt and the UAE in
aiding Gen. Haftar’s group, while Turkey, Qatar, and to a lesser extent, Iran, are aiding
the Tripoli government.
The incident against the camp of African migrants also dramatically show where black
Africans stand with the “religion of peace.”
We can only hope that these latest disclosures of the Tripoli government’s complicity in
the massacre of the migrant camp will shift international support and recognition away
from Tripoli and that a concerted effort will be made to clean out the al-Qaeda, ISIS, and
other terror groups operating in Libya.
Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees
in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence
Reform. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies
are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com