This risk will remain most pronounced in Benghazi, where there are likely to be further attacks of a similar nature to those seen in recent months.
There is also a risk of protests and demonstrations in all major cities in the run up to elections, despite the relative lack of political activity witnessed so far. There will continue to be a risk of violence at these demonstrations, particularly those in Benghazi, where the issue of semi-autonomy has proved to be a divisive.
Tensions and clashes will continue in a number of flashpoint areas in the south of the country, particularly in the southeastern town of al-Kufra, the southwestern town of Sabha and a number of other locations in the West of the country to the south of the capital.
Election campaigning will likely gain pace over the coming week, although it is unlikely that enough publicity and enthusiasm will be generated to avoid some questioning over the legitimacy and representative nature of the results.
Tripoli An improvised explosive device (IED) exploded outside the Tunisian embassy in Tripoli on 26 January, causing slight damage to the building's entrance gate, but no casualties. Gunmen recently stormed the Tunisian consulate in Benghazi to protest against an exhibition in Tunis that they claimed was an insult to Islam, while other attacks on foreign diplomatic targets in Benghazi have been linked to Jihadist cells operating in the east of the country.
It remains unclear who carried out the attack, although it is likely to be linked to the same movement that was involved in the embassy attack. Tripoli itself has been largely spared the kind of low level attacks that have become more frequent in the east of the country, particularly Benghazi, however the recent attack demonstrates that hostile elements do have the capability to conduct attacks in the capital, albeit on a small-scale.
The recent series of attacks have all been small in scale, and there have been few major casualties. A rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack targeting a UK FCO convoy injured two of those travelling on the convoy, although even this was likely an opportunist attack helped by the high profile nature of the convoy. Most of the attacks are likely aimed at sending a message that security cannot be guaranteed, thus harming the transition process, and the image of the security situation abroad.
Tripoli-Benghazi Highway Armed units reportedly blocked the main highway linking Tripoli and major cities in the west of the country with Benghazi and the east. The militias stated they would remain in place until the east of the country is given a greater distribution of seats in the new national parliament. The self-declared governing council of the east (known as the Barqa Council) is calling for a boycott of the elections unless seats are shared equally between the provinces.
The road block has not been opposed by government security forces, demonstrating the relative weakness of the central authorities in the face of an array of local and regional militia groups, many of which remain heavily armed.
Benghazi The security situation in Benghazi remains the same. The risk of further small-scale attacks targeting the assets and personnel of international organisations and the foreign diplomatic presence remains high, although casualty figures will likely remain low.
In the run up to elections there is a growing risk of protests and demonstrations calling for a boycott, or calling for unity and full participation in the polls. Previous demonstrations have seen clashes between members of opposing sides in this debate, and there is a risk of further low level violence of this nature. Protests will likely focus on government buildings and central squares of the city.
Oil Industry Operations at Ras Lanuf, Libya's largest oil refinery have been delayed further, and will not restart in early July as previously stated. A petrochemical unit at the facility, which does not run on crude oil, will however begin operations as planned. Ras Lanuf accounts for well over half of Libya's refining capacity at 220,000 bpd. Unconfirmed reports indicate that a dispute over the price at which the refinery is supplied with crude is holding up the return of operations.
Political Section With elections scheduled for 7 July fast approaching, there are growing concerns over the lack of political campaigning and publicity surrounding the polls, in a country where the majority have never voted, and a large proportion registered voters remain unclear over the process and what is required of them. There are growing fears that the results will lack legitimacy if large numbers of those registered, which accounts for around 80 per cent of the eligible population, choose not to turnout due to security concerns, or spoil their votes as they do not understand the process properly.
Moreover, with 120 seats in the new parliament designated to independents, and only 20 reserved for political parties, the result is likely to be a parliament with a lack of unity and vision over how to move forward, potentially resulting in stagnated decision making process and a lack of ability to tackle major issues and challenges. Add to this the potential for a low turnout and results that could be perceived as largely unrepresentative, and there is clearly potential for further frustration and tension in the aftermath of the polls.
The lawyer for former Gaddafi-era Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi stated on 26 June that his client had been badly beaten by Libyan security forces, which left him with broken ribs and a punctured lung. Libyan government officials denied the claims, branding them "a naked lie”. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki had previously stated that the extradition of al-Mahmoudi from his country was illegal, and was carried out behind his back. Libyan officials stated that human rights had yet to visit al-Mahmoudi, but stated that in the near future full access would be given for any Tunisian entity wishing to visit him in Libya and check on his condition and treatment.
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