This is part of a tranche of internal communications from deep inside infamous caterer turned troll farmer and mercenary backer Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Libya operation, always referred to simply as “the Company.” These files were originally obtained by the Dossier Centre, a London-based investigative team funded by former Russian oligarch and political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Please see our summary in The Daily Beast.
Translator’s note: The Russian commander referred to in this report appears to be General- Lieutenant Andrei Vladimirovich Kholzakov, deputy commander of the Airborne Assault Forces (VDV).
This document was written by Pyotr Bychkov, an employee of the Prigozhin-linked Fund for the Defense of National Values, on April 6, 2019.
1). On the evening of 05/04 the 7th brigade received money and weapons from Haftar and agreed to take part in the assault on Tripoli. The LNA controls Tarhunah, Gharyan, Sabratha, Sarman and half of Zintant. The LNA claims:
- The seizure of Al-Aziziyah, where there was fighting on 05/04;
- Advances towards the settlement of Suwani (16 km south of Tripoli) where clashes are underway at this moment;
- The capture of the settlement of Qasr bin Ghashir (Tripoli International Airport 19 km south of Tripoli), however the head of the Interior Ministry Fathi Bashagha, said that government forces defended the airport;
- Taking control of Souq al-Khamis (34 km south of Tripoli) and the closure of maritime movement around Tripoli by the naval forces of the LNA (cutters)
- The landing of LNA naval special forces at the Sidi Bilal naval infantry base, 17 km to the west of Tripoli (exact time unknown).
2). In the opinion of experts, the LNA lacks enough force to take Tripoli:
- Almost half of Haftar’s soldiers have been captured, the army suffered a serious rebuff in two areas of Tripoli – Bushiira and Al-Rapta.
- The GNA air force conducted two airstrikes (with aircraft belonging to the air force college in Misurata) on the forces of Khalifa Haftar.
- All the Tripolitanian groups are defending the city, no one is defecting to the side of the LNA.
- On 04/04/2019, forces controlled by Commander Osama al-Juwaili of the GNA’s “Western Military District” carried out a high-precision artillery strike from the direction of Zintan (exact location unknown) on the forces of the LNA. They used 150 mm artillery shells (produced in the UAE). Two guns and high-precision ammunition, as well as means of illumination (a UAV with a target designator) were delivered to Libya during the rule of M. Gaddafi. As a result of the strike a pickup was destroyed one shot. Up to 4-6 were killed and wounded. Representatives of the LNA appealed to the commander of the Russian group, General-Lieutenant A.V. Khalzakov, with a request to deploy a Russian UAV to identify the location of these guns and enable the LNA to capture or destroy them, which was denied.
- The army definitely did not expect such a development. Unless other towns near Tripoli join the LNA, the army will not win.
3). According to information from the Tripoli group – there is no combat or preparations for it underway in the city, the situation in the city is calm, no signs of panic or evacuation.
4). Certain members of the “Western” elite of Libya are beginning to leave the country: three members of the presidential council (Al-Majbari, Ammari, Kajman) and the head of the Central Bank Sadiq al-Kabir set off “for the holidays” to Tunis, and nothing has been head of their return.
5). Khalid al-Mishri is in Istanbul and, as before, is not undertaking any active measures. Today 06/04 he will conduct talks with intelligence representatives from Qatar and Turkey.
6). The forces in Misurata are split into two camps: one half has taken the decision to comply with neutrality for the time being, but the other, the so-called al-Halbous Brigade, is preparing to head to Tripoli to support security and help the “Tripoli Defence Forces” in confronting the attacking units of the LNA.
7). Saif Gaddafi is supporting Khalifa Haftar’s offensive because, on the one hand, this attack weakens the military relations of the Tripoli groups and makes them more vulnerable, and on the other, it is damaging the image of the Marshal, because of the inevitable major bloodshed, for which the international community and Libyan people will hold the Marshal personally responsible. He sees his role as being to step forward as a peacemaker in this conflict after some time. In Saif’s opinion, there will be no rapid military resolution to the conflict in Tripoli. Haftar cannot take the capital in less than a month. Meanwhile big losses are guaranteed on both sides.
8). The head of Aguila Saleh Issa’s administration, Doctor Adelia reported that at the meeting between Saleh and the Secretary-General of the UN:
- A. Saleh confirmed his support for the actions of the LNA in liberating Tripoli to Guterres.
- They discussed the plausibility of holding a conference in Ghadames under the current, chaotic circumstances. Saleh said that in the event of an All-Libyan national forum being held in Ghadames, the House of Representatives would be prepared to take this process on parliamentary control, so as to avoid the possible violation of law in conducting the forum.
- Saleh again confirmed to the UN head that he is doing everything possible to get a speedy referendum on the Constitution and presidential elections.
10). Muftah Abu Khalil (former (elected) mayor of Kufra from the influential Zuwaya clan) expressed the view on 05/04/2019 that Haftar had been purposely drawn into this operation by representatives of Saudi Arabia with the approval of the USA in order to discredit the Marshal and all who support him. In his opinion, the LNA is getting bogged down in Tripoli and its neighbouring towns, civilians will be killed, the invasion of the army is already condemned by the international community, the UN Security Council. The al-Sarraj government will receive military support. In the event this doesn’t happen, and the USA sees a real unifier and saviour of the country in Haftar, then the coming days will see behind-the-scenes international negotiations, the Islamist groups will cease resistance and Haftar will take control of Tripoli without a fight.