News / Middle East

Libyan Turmoil: 2 Assemblies, 2 Premiers

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz, second left, attends a Cairo gathering of foreign ministers of Libya's neighbors in Cairo, Aug. 25, 2014.
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz, second left, attends a Cairo gathering of foreign ministers of Libya's neighbors in Cairo, Aug. 25, 2014.
Edward Yeranian

Libya's political and military conflict heated up Monday after the Islamist coalition which controls the capital, Tripoli, appointed a new prime minister and declared the newly-elected parliament null and void.  The prime minister already in office, Abdullah al-Thani, responded by calling the Islamist forces in Tripoli “tyrants” and insisting they could not govern the country by force.  

Libya's rival political forces threw down the gauntlet at each other Monday as their political and military feud intensified.

Newly re-appointed Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani told journalists in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk that the Islamist Fajr militia, which captured the capital's airport on Saturday, is trying to “impose its will by force” and that its political moves are “illegal.”

"I oppose anyone who tries to divide the country and the attempt by Nouri Bou Sahmein, speaker of the old General National Congress, to appoint a new government is null and void, since Bou Sahmein is now an ordinary citizen with no authority to appoint anyone," said al-Thani.

Thani added that any meeting of the former assembly is illegitimate.  He said Libya's new parliament, elected in June, is the only body with the authority to appoint and that all Libyans should unite around it.

Thani accused the Fajr militia of behaving in a “dictatorial manner” reminiscent of the late ousted strongman, Moammar Gadhafi. The government, he insisted, could “no longer operate in Tripoli” due to insecurity and he blasted Fajr militiamen for allegedly setting fire to his home and office.

Earlier, pro-Islamist political leader Omar Hmaidan gave a press conference in Tripoli declaring the replacement of Thani.

"Abdullah al-Thani has been removed from his positions as caretaker prime minister and defense minister and that Omar Suleiman Salah al-Hassi has been appointed to form a new national government in the next week, after taking the oath office before National Congress speaker Nouri Bou Sahmein," said Hmaidan.

Bou Sahmein, an Islamist, has locked horns repeatedly with liberal political leaders including Libya's former prime minister Ali Zeidan.  Bou Sahmein led the move to oust Zeidan last March.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, Libya's neighbors met to discuss the conflict and called for national dialogue to end Libya's violence.  Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said the regional grouping had agreed to oppose any sort of outside intervention.

"The parties had agreed to respect Libya's unity and sovereignty and to refuse any outside interference in the country's internal affairs, promoting national dialogue to solve the ongoing conflict and to put an immediate stop to all armed violence," said Shoukri.

Libyan TV, which is now controlled by the Islamist forces in Tripoli, announced that outgoing army head Abdel Salam Jaballah al Obeidi, who was removed over the weekend by the Libyan parliament in Tobruk, would remain in office.

The station also claimed that Libya's judiciary had agreed to the reinstatement of the old General National Congress, due to what the TV report called “the current political void.”  The GNC's official mandate expired last February.  The new parliament was elected in June and began to meet last month.

Meanhwile, the U.S. State Department, along with Britain, France, Germany and Italy, issued a statement Monday saying actions by outsiders exacerbate divisions in Libya and undermine democracy.

Those five allies strongly condemn fighting in such major cities as Tripoli and Benghazi, especially in residential areas, and urge all parties to accept a cease-fire and put together an inclusive government.

 

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid