Libyan National Army

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Libyan National Army
الجيش العربي الليبي
Also known asLibyan National Army[2]
Libyan Arab Army[3][4]
Haftar Armed Forces[5]
Supreme CommanderKhalifa Haftar
Commander-in-chiefMohammed al-Menfi
Chief of General StaffAbdulrazek al-Nadoori
Dates of operation2014–present
AllegianceLibya House of Representatives
HeadquartersTobruk, Libya
Active regionsEastern and central Libya
IdeologyArab nationalism[6]
Secularism[7]
Anti-imperialism[8]
Madkhalism (factions)[9]
Gaddafism (factions)[9]
Size25,000[10]
AlliesState allies:
 Egypt[11]
 United Arab Emirates[12]
 Syria[13][14]
 Saudi Arabia[15]
 Russia[12]
 United States[16]
Non-state allies:
Sudan Rapid Support Forces[17]
Wagner Group[18]
OpponentsState opponents:
Libya Government of National Accord
 Turkey[19]
 Qatar[20]
Non-state opponents:
Syrian opposition Syrian National Army[21]
Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries
 Islamic State
Battles and warsFactional violence in Libya

Second Libyan Civil War

Flag

The Libyan National Army (LNA; Arabic: الجيش الوطني الليبي, al-jaysh al-waṭaniyy al-Lībii) or the Libyan Arab Army (LAA; Arabic: الجيش العربي الليبي, al-Jaysh al-'Arabiyy al-Lībii)[3] is a component of Libya's military forces which were nominally a unified national force under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar when he was nominated to the role on 2 March 2015[22] by the House of Representatives, consisting at the time of a ground force, an air force and a navy.

In 2014, LNA launched Operation Dignity, a military campaign against the General National Congress and armed militias and Islamist militant organizations. 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 retained the LNA identity. In the Second Libyan Civil War, 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 Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, as well as Islamic State in Libya which is a common enemy for both LNA and the Libyan Army.

About half of the LNA consists of militias[2][23] including Madkhali (Salafist) militias[24] and Sudanese, Chadian[2][23] and Russian mercenaries, which together constitute part of the LNA's effective forces.[25] The LNA possesses its own air force. Most of the Libyan Navy is loyal to the GNA.[26][23]

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[27][28][29] 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.[30][31] The LNA stated that it was not responsible for the Sergiwa abduction.[30]

Name[edit]

In November 2019, the United Nations Panel of Experts on Libya established under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 started using the name Haftar Armed Forces (HAF) to replace the name Libyan National Army to refer to "all armed groups associated with Haftar". It also chose to use lower case regarding "brigades" and "battalions" in order to avoid giving them "the legitimacy of being a formed military unit of a government".[5]: 6 

Allies[edit]

Haftar and the LNA is de facto backed by the governments of Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.[32][12][33][34][35] France has also provided tacit backing for Haftars forces. France carried out unprecedented air strikes by its Airforce on Chadian opposition fighters, which are LNA's biggest opponents. This resulted in a public dispute with Italy, which is supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.[12]

Russia is Haftar's most committed ally. In May 2020 the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) stated that Russia had deployed at least 14 MiG planes to the country. The plans were supported by private military contractors of Wagner Group and supporting the LNA.[36][37][38]

Structure[edit]

Ranks[edit]

Leadership[edit]

Khalifa Haftar was made head of the armed forces of Libya on 2 March 2015,[22] 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.[39] A lobbying firm was paid US$450,000 to lobby on his behalf for 12 months, starting 1 December 2017, in Washington, D.C.[39] 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.[40][41]

Other senior leaders include:

Ground forces[edit]

Regular forces[edit]

As of May 2019, the LNA had about 7000 regular forces.[23] These include:

106th Brigade[edit]

In April 2019, the 106th Brigade, also known as Awlia Aldem (Arabic: أوليء الدم)[31][30] was led by Khaled, son of Khalifa Haftar.[9] As of June 2019, the brigade's commander was Salem Rahil.[42]

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.[30][31] The LNA stated that it was not responsible for the abduction.[30] As of 17 October 2019, after multiple calls by UNSMIL for the LNA to investigate the disappearance, Sergiwa remained missing.[43]

73rd Brigade Mechanized infantry[edit]

Leader: Saleh al-Quta'ani (Aug 2019)[9]

Tareq ben Ziyad Brigade[edit]

Leader: Omar Mraje' (Aug 2019)[9]

9th Brigade[edit]

Leader: Kani brothers; origin: Tarhuna (Aug 2019)[9]

128th Battalion[edit]

Leader: Hassan al-Zadma; many Mahamid members (Aug 2019)[9]

116th Battalion[edit]

Leader: Massoud Jiddu (Aug 2019)[9]

124th Brigade[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

309th Brigade Mechanized infantry[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

1st Brigade[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

166th Brigade Mechanized infantry[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

188th Brigade infantry[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

5th Brigade infantry[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

115th Brigade Mechanized infantry[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

82nd Brigade infantry[edit]

Leader:[citation needed]

Special forces[edit]

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.[44]

Militias[edit]

Madkhali militias in the LNA include the Tawhid Battalion commanded by Izz al-Din al-Tarhuni; the Tariq Ibn Ziyad Brigade, the Subul al-Salam group and the al-Wadi Brigade.[45] LNA groups from Sabratha, Sorman, Tiji and Badr, towns in which Madkhali preachers were active and supported Haftar, are mostly Madkhali Salafists.[9]

During the 2019–20 Western Libya campaign, the LNA was allied with the al-Kaniyat militia in Tarhuna.[46][47][48][49][50]

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.[23]

Foreign mercenaries[edit]

Foreign mercenaries operating during 2019 Western Libya offensive on behalf of the LNA include Sudanese, Chadians and Russians.[45]

Sudanese 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.[51]: 115  Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (al-Nur) fighters fought on behalf of the LNA, with 1500 personnel in Libya in mid-2016.[51]: 115  Involvement of Sudanese mercenaries continued in 2018.[52]: 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,[53] arrived in Libya and were expected to number 4000 in total.[54]

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.[45]

There were an estimated 200 Russian Wagner Group mercenaries in the LNA in 2019.[49][48][47][46][50]

On 1 January 2022, the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission announced the deportation of 300 Sudanese mercenaries linked to the LNA from the Eastern Region.[55]

History[edit]

2011–2013[edit]

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 government. 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.[56] 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.[57]

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.[58]

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.[59]

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.[60]

In December 2011, Italy agreed to provide training to the Libyan Army as it attempted to reorganize in the aftermath of the Civil War.[61][62]

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)"[63]

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.[64]

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.[65]

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.[66] 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.[67]

2016 overthrow of mayors[edit]

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.[27][28] Altogether the LNA replaced nine elected councils, out of 27 in its area of control, by military administrators.[29]

Equipment[edit]

Chinese Wing Loong II UAVs deployed by UAE to the LNA

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. A significant amount of arms and equipment possessed by the LNA were majorly shipped by the United Arab Emirates and Russia.[68] Having an airbase in Libya (Al-Khadim), the UAE constantly breached the UN arms embargo to transfer arms to the Haftar forces. An Emirati firm, Lancaster-6 was involved in transferring three Super Pumas to the LNA in June 2019. The helicopters were believed to be incapable to operate. The three helicopters remained inside hangars until Haftar's military parade in May 2021 and were expected to take part in his air force.[69]

Technicals[edit]

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 machine guns, light MLRS' and anti-aircraft guns, most commonly used is the ZU-23-2 and the ZPU.[70][71]

Small arms[edit]

Name Image Country of origin Type Caliber Details
AK-47  Soviet Union Assault rifle 7.62×39mm [72]
AKM  Soviet Union Assault rifle 7.62×39mm [72]
AK-103  Russia Assault rifle 7.62×39mm [73]
AR-M1  Bulgaria Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO
7.62×39mm
Supplied by the UAE.[74]
Type 56  China Assault rifle 7.62×39mm Type 56-1 rifles supplied by the UAE.[73]
Heckler & Koch G36  Germany Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO [72]
MAT-49  France Submachine gun 9×19mm Parabellum [72]
FN P90  Belgium Submachine gun FN 5.7×28mm [72]
SVD  Soviet Union Designated marksman rifle 7.62×54mmR [75]
RPD machine gun  Soviet Union Light machine gun 7.62×39mm [75]
RPK machine gun  Soviet Union Light machine gun 7.62×39mm [75]
PKM  Soviet Union General-purpose machine gun 7.62×54mmR [73]
Type 80  China General-purpose machine gun 7.62×54mmR Supplied by the UAE.[73]
DShK  Soviet Union Heavy machine gun 12.7×108mm [75]
W85  China Heavy machine gun 12.7×108mm Supplied by the UAE.[73]
SPG-9  Soviet Union Recoilless rifle 73mm Supplied by Jordan.[73]
Carl Gustaf  Sweden Recoilless rifle 84mm [76]
M40A1  United States Recoilless rifle 105mm [76]
RPG-7  Soviet Union Rocket-propelled grenade 40mm [72]
Type 69 RPG  China Rocket-propelled grenade 40mm Supplied by the UAE.[73]
RPG-32  Russia
 Jordan
Rocket-propelled grenade 105mm RPG-32 Nashshab supplied by Jordan.[73]
9M14 Malyutka  Soviet Union Anti-tank guided missile 125mm [76]
9K111 Fagot  Soviet Union Anti-tank guided missile 120mm [76]
9M113 Konkurs  Soviet Union Anti-tank guided missile 135mm [76]
9M133 Kornet  Russia Anti-tank guided missile 152mm Supplied by the UAE.[73] Some Iranian-made copies are also used.[77]
MILAN  France
 Germany
Anti-tank guided missile 115mm [76]
FGM-148 Javelin  United States Anti-tank guided missile 127mm Transferred from France.[78]

Main battle tanks[edit]

Model Image Origin Variant Details
T-54/T-55[76]  Soviet Union
 Egypt
T-55A
T-55E
Supplied by Egypt.[79]
T-62[76]  Soviet Union
 Russia
T-62M
T-62MV
T-62M and T-62MV supplied by Russia.[73]
T-72[76]  Soviet Union T-72
T-72M1
Some were upgraded by General Dynamics UK prior to the 2011 Libyan revolution.[79]

Armored fighting vehicles[edit]

Model Image Origin Type Variant Details
BMP-1  Soviet Union Infantry fighting vehicle [76]
BMP-3  Russia Infantry fighting vehicle 10 delivered in 2013.[80]
Ratel IFV[76]  South Africa Infantry fighting vehicle Ratel 20
Ratel 60
1 Ratel 60 was captured by the GNA at Tarhuna.[81]
BRDM-2[76]  Soviet Union
 Ukraine
Armored car Some were supplied by the UAE.[73]
EE-9 Cascavel  Brazil Armored car [76]
M113  United States Tracked armored personnel carrier [76]
MT-LB  Soviet Union Command vehicle MT-LBu [79]
BTR-60  Soviet Union Wheeled armored personnel carrier BTR-60PB [76]
KADDB Al Mared[76]  Jordan Wheeled armored personnel carrier Supplied by Jordan.[73]
Mbombe 6[76]  South Africa Wheeled armored personnel carrier Supplied by Jordan.[73]
Nimr[76]  United Arab Emirates Wheeled armored personnel carrier Jais N35 4x4
Nimr II
49 donated by Jordan.[82]
Puma[76]  Italy Wheeled armored personnel carrier 6x6 20 donated by Italy.[82]
BAE Caiman[76]  United States MRAP Supplied by the UAE.[73]
INKAS Titan[76]  United Arab Emirates MRAP Titan-S 4x4
Titan-S 6x6
Titan-DS
Supplied by the UAE.[73]
STREIT Group Typhoon[76]  United Arab Emirates MRAP 50 donated by the UAE.[82]
BMC Vuran[76]  Turkey MRAP Captured from GNA forces.
HMMWV  United States Infantry mobility vehicle 200 donated by the US in 2012.[81]
KADDB Al Wahsh[76]  Jordan Infantry mobility vehicle Supplied by Jordan.[73]
STREIT Group Cougar  United Arab Emirates Infantry mobility vehicle Supplied by the UAE.[73]
KrAZ Cobra  United Arab Emirates Infantry mobility vehicle Supplied by the UAE.[73]
STREIT Group Spartan[76]  United Arab Emirates Infantry mobility vehicle 750 donated by the UAE.[82]
Panthera T6[76]  United Arab Emirates Infantry mobility vehicle Supplied by the UAE.[73]
Panthera F9[76]  United Arab Emirates Infantry mobility vehicle Supplied by the UAE.[73]
Igirigi APC  Nigeria Infantry mobility vehicle Mk II Supplied by the UAE.[73]
TAG Terrier LT-79[76]  United States Infantry mobility vehicle Supplied by the UAE.[73]
TAG BATT AP  United States Infantry mobility vehicle Supplied by the UAE.[73]
GAZ Tigr  Russia Infantry mobility vehicle Tigr-M 4 were transferred from the Wagner Group to the LNA.[79]

Artillery[edit]

Name Image Country of origin Type Caliber Details
2S1 Gvozdika  Soviet Union Self-propelled gun 122mm [76]
D-30  Soviet Union Towed howitzer 122mm [76]
M-30  Soviet Union Towed howitzer 122mm Supplied by Russia.[73]
G5 howitzer[76]  South Africa Towed howitzer 155mm Supplied by the UAE.[73]
Type 63[76]  China
 Sudan
Towed multiple rocket launcher 107mm Sudanese-made launchers are also used.[73]
LRSVM Morava  Serbia Self-propelled multiple rocket launcher 107mm
122mm
Supplied by the UAE.[73]
BM-21 Grad  Soviet Union Self-propelled multiple rocket launcher 122mm [76]
M1989  North Korea
 United Arab Emirates
Self-propelled multiple rocket launcher 122mm 240mm rocket launcher modified to fire 122mm rockets.[83]
Scud-B  Soviet Union Tactical ballistic missile [79]
M106 mortar carrier  United States Mortar carrier 107mm [76]
Boragh  Iran Mortar carrier 120mm Supplied by Sudan.[73]
Type 31  China Infantry mortar 60mm Supplied by the UAE.[73]
82-BM-37  Soviet Union Infantry mortar 82mm Some were supplied by Russia.[73]
120-PM-43 mortar  Soviet Union Towed mortar 120mm Some were supplied by Russia.[73]

Air defense[edit]

Name Image Country of origin Type Caliber Details
S-125  Soviet Union
 Belarus
Short-range surface-to-air missile Supplied by the UAE.[73]
9K31 Strela-1  Soviet Union Short-range surface-to-air missile [79]
2K12 Kub  Soviet Union Medium range surface-to-air missile [76]
Pantsir-S1  Russia Medium range SAM and SPAAG 30mm Supplied by the UAE.[73]
9K338 Igla-S  Russia Man-portable air-defense system 72mm [76]
ZPU-2  Soviet Union Anti-aircraft gun 14.5×114mm Mounted on technicals.[76]
ZU-23-2  Soviet Union
 Poland
Anti-aircraft gun 23x152mmB Mounted on technicals.[76] Some Polish-made guns were supplied by the UAE.[73]
ZSU-23-4  Soviet Union Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun 23x152mmB [76]

Utility vehicles and trucks[edit]

Name Image Country of origin Type Model Details
Toyota Land Cruiser  Japan Utility vehicle HZJ-79 Used as technicals.[84]
Jeep J8  United States Light utility vehicle Supplied by Egypt.[73]
Fath Safir  Iran Light utility vehicle Supplied by Sudan.[73]
KAMAZ  Russia Medium truck 6x6 [79]
Iveco Trakker  Italy Heavy truck (10 tonnes) Trakker 380 [81]

UAVs[edit]

Name Image Country of origin Type Details
CAIG Wing Loong II  China Attack drone [85]
Mohajer 2  Iran Surveillance drone Supplied by Sudan.[73]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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