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Libyan parliament strips speaker of military command - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A car, driven by former Libyan intelligence officer Solomon Alvesy, burns after a bomb attack in Benghazi November 3, 2013. (REUTERS/Stringer)

A car, driven by former Libyan intelligence officer Solomon Alvesy, burns after a bomb attack in Benghazi November 3, 2013. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Libyan parliament issued a summons to Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and the ministers of defense, interior, and justice, as well as the army commander and the head of intelligence services on Monday to discuss the security situation in the city of Benghazi. The northern port has been the scene of an increasing number of attacks on military and security officials over the past few months.

The parliament also voted to relieve its speaker, Nouri Abusahmain, of a mandate which allowed him to exercise control of the Libyan Armed Forces.

The vote led to the adjournment of the morning session, which was in the process of discussing the implementation of a resolution regarding the integration of military and security groups, and the cancellation of the mandate of the militia group known as the “Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries” to provide security in Tripoli.

Zeidan accused the group–along with the “Anti-crime Commission”–of being involved in his kidnaping last month, when he was taken by force and held for seven hours, in order to force him to resign.

Members of the government have painted a dark picture of the security, military, and judicial situation, amid mounting public anger at the continued violence and instability in the country, citing the government’s continued reliance on militias and the failure to create new professional security forces.

Minister of Justice Salah Meraghni revealed that members of the judiciary were frequently subject to threats, causing disruption to judicial and criminal proceedings. Commander-in-Chief Gen. Abdelsalam Al-Obaydi, meanwhile, said the biggest problem faced by the Libyan army is the formation and funding of army units on a tribal or sectarian basis.

Obaydi said the problem of the assassination of police and army officers could not be solved by one department. He added that the security department had information about some of the parties who carry out these crimes. He said that he could not reveal the information to the media or the parliament for reasons of operational security, adding that the investigations are ongoing.

Libyan Interior Minister El Sadiq Abdelkarim vowed to arrest those responsible for the assassinations and disruptions in Benghazi.

In another development, leaders of a movement seeking unilateral self-rule in oil-rich eastern Libya announced the formation of a shadow government on Sunday, in defiance of the central government in Tripoli.

Sources said leaders of the movement held a meeting in Ajdabiya, near the Port of Brega, to announce the government, calling it “the government of Barqa.”

A Libyan TV channel aired footage of more than 20 ministers of the breakaway government taking an oath of office on a stage adorned with the flag of Barqa, Libya’s eastern region, also known as Cyrenaica.

They were joined by Ibrahim Jadran, a tribal militia leader and former commander of a unit which protected oil installations in Libya. Jadran renounced ties with the central government in the summer and took control of the ports of Ras Lanuf and Sidra.

Jadran, who fought against Gaddafi’s forces during the 2011 uprising, stood next to Abd Rabbo El-Barassi, who appointed himself prime minister. Barassi is a former commander in the air force who defected from the government. Other tribal leaders also participated in the ceremony.

Jadran and others in eastern Libya accuse Prime Minister Zeidan and Islamists in the parliament of corruption and failure to provide security.