Libya's parly allies with renegade general

2014-10-20 17:53

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Benghazi - Libya's beleaguered elected parliament has declared a formal alliance with a renegade former general, as it struggles to assert some authority in a country many fear is sliding into outright civil war.

Three years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-producing desert state is in chaos, with Islamists and other militias fighting for territory and influence and the regular armed forces reduced to near-impotence.

One faction has seized Tripoli, setting up its own assembly and administration in the capital and forcing the internationally-recognised government to take refuge in the east of the country.

Khalifa Haftar, a former general under Gaddafi, is one of dozens of commanders of irregular forces calling the shots in the country. Last week, his forces launched a new offensive against Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The House of Representatives, Libya's elected parliament which has relocated to Tobruk in the far east, has endorsed Haftar's Operation Dignity against Islamists, giving him an official role, parliament spokesperson Farraj Hashem said.

"Operation Dignity is leading officers and soldiers of the Libyan army ... Operation Dignity is an operation of the Libyan army," he said late on Sunday.

Internationally-recognised government

The move appears in contradiction to past calls from the House of Representatives for all militias to be disarmed to help restore order and rebuild the state.

The decision to endorse Haftar might also worsen a conflict between the House of Representatives, allied to the internationally-recognised government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, and the new rulers of Tripoli.

Both recognised bodies have been based in eastern Libya since an armed group from the western city of Misrata seized Tripoli in August and set up its own assembly and government there.

The Misrata faction has denounced Haftar as a Gaddafi loyalist who is trying to stage a counterrevolution with other officials of the former regime. Haftar helped Gaddafi seize power in 1969 but fell out with the former strongman in the 1980s.

Western powers and Libya's Arab neighbours fear conflict is dragging the North African country towards full-blown civil war.

Last month, the United Nations launched talks between the House of Representatives and elected Misrata members who have boycotted the parliament and who have links to the rival assembly in Tripoli. No progress has been reported publicly so far.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  khalifa haftar  |  libya  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.