Libyan National Army

Libyan National Army
الجيش الوطني الليبي
Flag of the Libyan National Army.svg
Libyan National Army flag
Active1951 Cyrenaica Libration Army
2014 (current form)
Country Libya
Size
Garrison/HQTobruk
Engagements2011-2012 Libyan factional fighting
Second Libyan Civil War
Commanders
Commander-in-chiefAguila Saleh Issa- House of Representatives.
Supreme CommanderField Marshal Khalifa Haftar
Chief of General StaffMajor General Abdulrazek al-Nadoori

The Libyan National Army (LNA; Arabic: الجيش الوطني الليبي‎, al-jaysh al-waṭaniyy al-Lībiyya) is a component of Libya's military forces, which were nominally a unified national force under the command of Khalifa Haftar when he was nominated to the role on 2 March 2015[5] by the House of Representatives, consisting at the time of a ground force, an air force and a navy.

The LNA was established by the Libyan government after the first Libyan civil war (2011), as Libya's previous national army was defeated by the uprising and 2011 military intervention by NATO. At the beginning of the Second Libyan Civil War, the army was split between Khalifa Haftar's "anti-terrorist" faction, which acted largely independently, and Abdulsalam al-Obaidi's "legalist" faction which relied on orders from political authorities. In 2014, the Council of Deputies appointed Haftar commander of the whole army, re-uniting the two factions. In 2014, the LNA launched Operation Dignity, a military campaign against the General National Congress and armed militias and Islamist militant organization including the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, Shura Council of Mujahideen in Dernaand Libya Shield Force). When the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) was established in Tripoli, part of the Libyan military forces were named the Libyan Army to contrast with the other part that remained under the command of Haftar and retained the LNA identity. In the ongoing Second Libyan Civil War (2014–present), the LNA is loyal to that part of the Libyan House of Representatives that meets in Tobruk, internationally recognised until October 2015. It fights against the Libyan Army, the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries as well as Islamic State in Libya which is a common enemy for both the Libyan National Army and the Libyan Army.

About half of the LNA consists of Madkhali (Salafist) militias.[1] Sudanese, Chadian[2][3] and Russian mercenaries constitute part of the LNA's effective forces.[1][better source needed] The LNA possesses its own air force. Most of the Libyan Navy is loyal to the GNA.[6][3]

Interventions in the political system by the LNA include the late 2016 replacement of nine elected municipal councils out of a total of 27, replacing elected mayors by mostly military individuals[7][8][9] and, according to witnesses cited by The Independent, the 17 July 2019 abduction of House of Representatives member Seham Sergiwa at her home in Benghazi by the 106th Brigade.[10][11] The LNA stated that it was not responsible for the Sergiwa abduction.[10]

Structure

Ranks

Leadership

Khalifa Haftar was made head of the armed forces of Libya on 2 March 2015,[12] remaining as leader of the Libyan National Army after the split between the LNA and the Government of National Accord (GNA). As of December 2017, Major General Abdulrazek al-Nadoori was the chief of staff of the LNA.[13] A lobbying firm was paid US$450,000 to lobby on his behalf for 12 months, starting 1 December 2017, in Washington, D.C.[13] Mahmoud al-Werfalli, known internationally for his International Criminal Court arrest warrant under Article 8(2)(c)(i) of the Rome Statute, was Axes Commander in the al-Saiqa unit of the LNA as of August 2017.[14][15]

Other senior leaders include:

Ground forces

Regular forces

As of May 2019, the LNA had about 7000 regular forces.[3] These include:

106th Brigade

As of April 2019, the 106th Brigade, also known as Awlia Aldem (Arabic: أوليء الدم‎)[11][10] was led by Khaled, son of Khalida Haftar.[16]

On 17 July 2019, according to witnesses cited by The Independent and a family member cited by CNN, 25-30 masked, uniformed 106th Brigade members abducted member of the Libyan House of Representatives Seham Sergiwa in Benghazi.[10][11] The LNA stated that it was not responsible for the abduction.[10] As of 17 October 2019, after multiple calls by UNSMIL for the LNA to investigate the disappearance, Sergiwa remained missing.[17]

  1. 5500 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 600 Officers .
  3. 90 Main Battle Tanks T72.
  4. 250 Armored Vehicles.BAE Caiman,Nimr,.
  5. 15 ZSU-23-4.
  6. 1700 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.
  7. 25 Palmaria (artillery).
  8. 4 MI-24.
  9. 2 Pantsir missile system.

73th Brigade Mechanized infantry

Leader: Saleh al-Quta'ani (Aug 2019)[16]

  1. 7000 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 350 Officers.
  3. 82 Main Battle Tanks.
  4. 150 Armored Vehicles,BAE Caiman,Nimr,.
  5. 1200 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.
  6. 25 Palmaria (artillery).

Tareq ben Ziyad Brigade

Leader: Omar Mraje' (Aug 2019)[16]

9th Brigade

Leader: Kani brothers; origin: Tarhuna (Aug 2019)[16]

  1. 6500 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 200 Officers.
  3. 82 Main Battle Tanks.
  4. 200 Armored Vehicles ,BAE Caiman,Nimr,..
  5. 1200 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.
  6. 10 ZSU-23-4.
  7. 15 2S19 Msta.

128th Battalion

Leader: Hassan al-Zadma; many Mahamid members (Aug 2019)[16]

116th Battalion

Leader: Massoud Jiddu (Aug 2019)[16]

124th Brigade

Leader:[citation needed]

  1. 2000 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 80 Officers.
  3. 15 Main Battle Tanks
  4. 50 Armored Vehicles ,BAE Caiman,Nimr,.
  5. 290 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.
  6. 6 Armoured personnel carriers.
  7. 5 2S19 Msta.
  8. 4 Palmaria (artillery).

309th Brigade Mechanized infantry

Leader:[citation needed]

  1. 3000 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 95 Officers.
  3. 25 Main Battle Tanks
  4. 35 Armored Vehicles ,BAE Caiman,Nimr,.
  5. 890 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.
  6. 55 Armoured personnel carriers.

1st Brigade

Leader:[citation needed]

  1. 2800 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 100 Officers.
  3. 10 Main Battle Tanks
  4. 50 Armored Vehicles ,BAE Caiman,Nimr,.
  5. 500 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.
  6. 15 Armoured personnel carriers.
  7. 3 2S19 Msta.
  8. 2 Palmaria (artillery).

166th Brigade Mechanized infantry

Leader:[citation needed]

  1. 4000 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 100 Officers.
  3. 50 Armored Vehicles ,BAE Caiman,Nimr,.
  4. 790 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.
  5. 20 Armoured personnel carriers.

188th Brigade infantry

Leader:[citation needed]

  1. 3500 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 50 Officers.
  3. 390 Tactical Vehicles mounted with ZU-23-2 (23mm) , ZPU (14.5 mm),DShK, M40 recoilless rifle and Type 63 multiple rocket launcher.

5th Brigade infantry

Leader:[citation needed]

  1. 2500 infantry.[dubious ]
  2. 20 Officers.

115th Brigade Mechanized infantry

Leader:[citation needed]

82th Brigade infantry

Leader:[citation needed]

Special forces

Al-Saiqa is an elite army unit, formed from a mixture of paratroopers and commandos. It numbers a few thousand and reports to the Ministry of Defence. It is popular in Benghazi, particularly in light of its opposition to Islamist Ansar al-Sharia group and because it is seen as a symbol of the reborn Libyan armed forces.[18]

Militias

Madkhali militias in the LNA include the Tawhid Battalion commanded by Izz al-Din al-Tarhuni; the , the group and the .[1] LNA groups from Sabratha, Sorman, and Badr, towns in which Madkhali preachers were active and supported Haftar, are mostly Madkhali Salafists.[16]

During the 2019 Western Libya offensive, the LNA was allied with the in Tarhuna.[1]

The number of auxiliary LNA forces (militias and mercenaries) was estimated in May 2019 as 18000 by Jason Pack of the Institute for International Political Studies.[3]

Foreign mercenaries

Foreign mercenaries operating during 2019 Western Libya offensive on behalf of the LNA include Sudanese, Chadians and Russians.[1]

Sudanese

Sudanese fighters from the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (Minnawi) were present in Libya starting in March 2015 and fought on behalf of the LNA in 2016. SLM (Minnawi) planned on leaving Libya in early 2017.[19]:115 Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (al-Nur) fighters fought on behalf of the LNA, with 1500 personnel in Libya in mid-2016.[19]:115 Involvement of Sudanese mercenaries continued in 2018.[20]:9,79,80 On 25 July 2019, 1000 members of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces, widely attributed to be responsible for the 3 June 2019 Khartoum massacre,[21] arrived in Libya and were expected to number 4000 in total.[4]

Chadians

Chadians from the Rally of Democratic Forces (French: Rassemblement des Forces Démocratique) were recruited by the LNA in late 2015,[2] especially in the southern part of Libya.[1]

Russians

There were an estimated 200 Russian Wagner Group mercenaries in the LNA in 2019.[1]

History

2011–2013

The Libyan National Army was founded in 2011 by the National Transitional Council, after forces aligned to it defeated the previous Libyan Army and overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's regime. Supply depots and bases having been damaged during the civil war, the new army is faced with the challenge of having to rebuild much of the country's military infrastructure.[22] Yousef Mangoush was named as its first Chief of Staff on 2 January 2012 and the force saw its first major deployment on 23 February, when it was deployed to Kufra to intervene in a tribal conflict.[23]

In November 2011, the National Transitional Council began the difficult process of restructuring the army, with military personnel who defected from the Gaddafi government and former rebel fighters of the National Liberation Army forming the basis of the new Libyan Army. Major General Khalifa Belgacem Haftar was chosen as the overall commander of the new Libyan Army due to his military experience and loyalty to the revolution that overthrew Gaddafi.[24]

The Libyan Army only numbered "a few thousand" trained soldiers in November 2011, and was rapidly trying to train up new fighters who could keep the peace nationwide and deter rogue militias from acting without NTC orders, and was responsible for brokering a ceasefire on at least one occasion in November between warring militas from Zawiya and Al Maya.[25]

On 1 December 2011, it was reported that the National Liberation Army was to integrate up to 50,000 former rebel fighters into the new Libyan national army and police forces, with the aid of French training, with long term aims to integrate as many as 200,000 fighters from the brigades that had fought against Gaddafi during the civil war.[26]

In December 2011, Italy agreed to provide training to the Libyan Army as it attempted to reorganize in the aftermath of the Civil War.[27][28]

Also in December, large numbers of former rebels were being given jobs in the new army, whilst the government also announced that they would be free to join the special forces and the Navy too. According to Osama al-Juwaili, the defence minister: "The idea is to inject new blood in the army which was marginalised by the tyrant (Gaddafi)"[29]

General Yousef Mangoush said on 5 January 2012 that Libya's new army faces major obstacles such as rebuilding bases destroyed during the conflict, as well as disarming militias that were not part of the new army. National Army commander General Khalifa Haftar said later that it could take between three and five years for Libya to field a capable enough army to protect its borders.[30]

On 7 May 2013, Libya's Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghathi resigned due to a crisis caused by gunmen who have besieged two ministries for more than a week, a ministry official said. He later withdrew his resignation after Prime Minister Zeidan convinced him to stay.[31]

Under an agreement reached at the Lough Erne G8 summit in June 2013, NATO countries the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, and the United States undertook to help train up to 15,000 personnel from Libyan National Army units over a two-year period. They were to take units from newly formed brigades for 10-week stints of intensive infantry training. The 27th Brigade was due to start at Bassingbourn in eastern England in January 2014.[32] As a result of disorder and sexual assaults by some Libyan army cadets, the UK cancelled the programme in November 2014. The Libyan trainees were sent back to Libya, with the exception of five who were tried for sexual offenses.[33]

2016 overthrow of mayors

In late 2016, Major-General Abdulrazek al-Nadoori of the LNA replaced several of the elected municipal mayors in eastern Libya by unelected people, mostly military.[7][8] Altogether the LNA replaced nine elected councils, out of 27 in its area of control, by military administrators.[9]

Equipment

Whilst it is known to a degree what equipment the Libyan National Army uses, the exact numbers of the below equipment currently in use is not known. What is certain is that a reasonable quantity of their equipment probably came from ransacked stocks of the original Libyan Army and from defectors as well.

Small arms

Name Country of origin Type Caliber Notes
NATO Standard
FN P90[34][35]  Belgium Personal defence weapon FN 5.7×28mm
Beretta 92FS[36]  Italy Pistol 9×19mm
CZ99  Serbia
Beretta M12[37]  Italy Submachine gun
Zastava M21[38]  Serbia Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Most likely used by special forces.
FN F2000[39]  Belgium Most likely used by special forces.
FN FAL Battle rifle 7.62×51mm NATO
Heckler & Koch G3[40]  West Germany
Zastava M07  Serbia Most likely used by special forces.
Zastava M93 Black Arrow[41] Sniper rifle 12.7×99mm Most likely used by special forces.
Benelli M4[42][43]  Italy Shotgun 12 gauge Used by special forces
Soviet Standard
TT-33  Soviet Union Pistol 7.62×25mm
AK-47[44][45] Assault rifle 7.62×39mm
AKM
Dragunov sniper rifle Sniper rifle 7.62×54mmR
Zastava M91[41]  Yugoslavia
RPK  Soviet Union General-purpose machine gun 7.62×39mm
PK machine gun[46] 7.62×54mmR
Degtyaryov machine gun
Zastava M84  Yugoslavia
DShK  Soviet Union Heavy machine gun 12.7×108mm
Zastava M02 Coyote[38]  Serbia

Technicals

A variety of pickup/utility vehicles, called technicals and gun trucks, often Toyota and other makers, armed with a variety of different weapons, including heavy machineguns, light MLRS' and anti-aircraft guns, most commonly used is the ZU-23-2 and the ZPU.[47][48]

Tanks

Armoured personnel carriers

Artillery

Portable anti-tank weapons

Anti-tank guided missiles

Self-propelled anti-air gun

See also

National Liberation Army

References

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