30 Aug- 5 Sept: Serraj Snubs East with New CoS appointment

Sep 5, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 30 August, Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj appointed Abdurrahman al-Tawil, head of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Temporary Security Arrangements Committee, as Chief of Staff of the Libyan Army under the GNA. This position had previously been left vacant to avoid controversy. On 31 August, Serraj made another controversial decision, appointing Ltn. Faraj Gaem, a former ally of Khalifa Haftar who was a Counter Terrorism commander affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA), as Deputy Minister of Interior for the GNA in Benghazi.

Faraj Gaem is a former combat commander in Operation Dignity but last year accused Haftar of corruption and ambitions of power. He is the second high-profile figure from al-Awagir tribe to have ‘defected’ to the GNA from the LNA’s ranks.  Mahdi al-Barghathi, who became the GNA’s Minister of Defense, was the first. Serraj’s appointments were heavily criticized across political affiliations. On 1 September, the LNA issued a directive in Haftar’s name ordering units to detain any GNA minister or political official attempting to assume responsibilities in LNA controlled territories.

On 1 September, the militia network that secures Zawiyya port and is allegedly affiliated to Mohammed Kashlaf (aka al-Qasab), attacked a demonstration organised by local rivals reportedly affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA). The attack on the demonstration in commemoration of Gaddafi’s revolution left three people dead and others injured, and could fuel a new cycle of violence in the city.