Anti 15 Nov 2016

Nov 15, 2016 | Libyan actors

On 13 November, GNA PM Fayez Serraj issued a resolution under his own name directing the GNA’s designated Interior Minister to create a security force in Tripoli reporting directly to Serraj. This force is in addition to the Presidential Guard, for which a new commander was also appointed by Serraj this week. Other decisions taken by Serraj and Deputy PM Ahmed Metig on 13 November include the appointment of a new Minister of Finance (completely bypassing the HoR) and a number of deputy foreign ministers in foreign affairs and local government ministries. On 10 November, Serraj also endorsed credentials for four new ambassadors to Libya from Turkey, Austria, Yemen and Canada, even though the visit was only a formality as the embassies concerned will continue to operate out of Tunis. This push by the GNA may be an attempt to preserve the current LPA framework in Tripoli by securing de facto control on the ground.

The latest actions of Serraj and Metig sparked furious reactions from two other members of the Presidential Council (PC); Ali al-Gutrani (long-term boycotting member of the PC from eastern Libya) and Fathi al-Majbari (who is also from eastern Libya and is the GNA’s designated Deputy Minister for Finance). Serraj did not invite al-Majbari to the controversial London meetings on Libyan finance policy on 31 October – 1 November. Majbari issued a statement on 13 November slamming Serraj and holding him accountable for the collapse of the political agreement and misuse of the Libyan funds. There are fears that the PC and GNA members from western and southern Libya intend to ‘go it alone’ without the East, on the grounds that the HoR mandate is expired.

Informed sources report that arms supplies are arriving to Jufra in south-west Libya. Jufra is a base for anti-LNA militias who are aligned with Islamist factions, notably the Benghazi Defence Brigades. Mahdi al-Barghathi, the GNA’s designated Minister of Defence, visited Jufra very recently, leading to suspicions that he is joining forces with these Islamist forces in order to launch a counter-offensive against Haftar and the LNA. Ironically, Barghathi previously called these forces ‘terrorists’ when they attempted to march on Benghazi, before being fought back by the LNA and local fighters from the area.