Libya’s political and security crises worsen

Article Summary
As disputes persist regarding the legitimacy of the Libyan parliament, the so-called “Operation Dignity” battles continue, aimed at eliminating Islamist groups in the country.

The political and security crises in Libya are developing in tandem and becoming more complicated with each passing day. While the bloody battles have been worsening, the two sides of the conflict have been trying to impose their political presence. The advocates of the legitimacy of the General National Congress (parliament) tried to prove their presence by storming into the building of the premier two days ago, according to Libyan news reports.

Disputed Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq, who was appointed by the General National Congress and who supports the Muslim Brotherhood, held the first meetings of his government after he managed to enter the office of the interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani. The latter confirmed that “the break-in [to Thani’s office] was done with the power of weapons and is considered illegal and void.”

On his social media page, Thani mentioned that Maiteeq refused “to succumb to the law by using power.” He also noted that the decision to keep Maiteeq in this position requires a decision from the Libyan constitutional court, which is expected to discuss the matter on Thursday.

Along with the deputy speaker of Libya’s Interim Parliament Ezzdin Al-Awami, Thani indicated that the so-called defenders of the legitimacy of the parliament “claim that they are defending legitimacy, however they were the first to break it. They stormed into the premier’s office without waiting for the decision of the constitutional court regarding the appeal that was submitted by several MPs who doubt the legitimacy of the vote for Maiteeq.” Awami also noted that several MPs lodged appeals against the decision by parliament Speaker Nuri Abu Sahmain to grant Maiteeq’s government confidence since the legal quorum was incomplete.

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Libyan news reports stated that Maiteeq held the first meeting with some of his ministers at the prime minister’s office in Tripoli after he managed to enter with the help of an armed group that supports the parliament. Addressing his ministers, he underlined that his government’s priority was to organize the scheduled elections on June 25 and to fight terrorism and extremism. He also noted that the task of fighting terrorism “is the government’s responsibility, not the responsibility of individuals who do not have legal competence or legitimacy.” Moreover, he considered that leaving the matters in the hands of someone other than the state’s institutions would only “worsen the crisis in Libya.”

In an attempt to respond to the accusations of his opponents, who soon condemned the move — with MP Zaynab al-Targi referring to “Maiteeq’s occupation of the prime minister’s office” — Maiteeq confirmed that officially taking office was in response to the request of the parliament and Sahmain who asked him in an official speech to handle the tasks to save the country from chaos.

On another note, defector Maj. Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the leader of the “Operation Dignity” battle against the command of the parliament, announced that he would proceed with his military campaign. Hifter launched “Operation Dignity” against the parliament for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and its allied militant groups that are affiliated with political Islam movements. He also said he plans for the battle to last between three months and a whole year, at most. He clarified, while addressing the Egyptian media, that he is counting on the help of “his Egyptian fellows,” and he also confirmed that his battle “in Libya is a continuation of the Egyptian battle against terrorism, and is a fight on behalf of the world against terrorism.”

In the same context, Libyan sources close to Hifter said that after the official announcement of the presidential victory of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Hifter was determined to enter a decisive battle to topple the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in parliament, along with the armed groups. Meanwhile, observers believe that the two parties are seeking to resolve the situation before the scheduled elections at the end of June. In light of this information, Egyptian news sources confirmed the arrival of a Libyan delegation consisting of four ministers, led by Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdel Aziz, to discuss the latest developments with Egyptian officials.

In developments on the ground, the clashes between the conflicting parties have entered a stage of assassinations of military leaders. The media confirmed that unknown militants killed the leader of the Vital Installations’ Guards in Sidi Faraj region and the leader in the battle of “Operation Dignity,” Lt. Azmi al-Barghathi in Benghazi in the east. Meanwhile, opposing sources confirmed the assassination attempt on Libyan army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Abdel Salam Jadallah al-Obeidi, who opposes Hifter.

According to Abu Musab al-Arabi, spokesman for Ousoud al-Tawhid, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda in Gallo (eastern Libya), the group announced its participation in al-Qaeda’s future battles in Benghazi. 

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Found in: transitional government, parliament, libyan militias, libya, civil war, benghazi, al-qaeda
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