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article imageOp-Ed: Clashes begin as GNC speaks out against GNA in Tripoli

By Ken Hanly     Mar 30, 2016 in Politics
Tripoli - The Prime Minister of the General National Congress (GNC) Khalifa Al-Ghwell has urged the Presidency Council members of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli to turn themselves in or leave the country and return to Tunis.
Al-Ghwell called the group headed by Prime Minister Faiez Serraj "illegitimate infiltrators". The GNC did not approve the GNA or the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) and has warned the GNA against trying to establish itself in Tripoli. The UN, the GNA, and a chorus of countries demand that the GNA and the HoR hand over power to the GNA and that all countries recognizethe GNA as the sole legitimate Libyan government. However, countries appear to be waiting until the GNA establishes itself. It still has not had a formal vote of confidence in the HoR as required by the LPA. Amendments to the Constitutional Declaration of 2011 must also be passed by the HoR. The GNA simply accepted a letter by an alleged majority of the HoR that said they approved the GNA, as equivalent to the formal vote. The constitutional amendment does not deserve a mention.
The HoR has insisted that there must be a vote and amendments. The president of the HoR, Ageela Salah, had twice earlier this week urged members of the HoR to come to Tobruk to vote on the issues. There has been no quorum on Monday and Tuesday. Even though a majority are supposed to support the GNA, they cannot be bothered to turn up. No scolding from the GNA or the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Martin Kobler. The HoR refuses to hand over power to the GNA even though it will be the legislature of the GNA. As a tweet today put it: "HoR member Saleh Fhaima from #Tobruk tells @LibyasChannel that the GNA government still lacks legitimacy & says HoR vote a must."
Al-Ghwell asked how the new GNA would treat revolutionaries: “How will the UN-imposed government treat the revolutionaries and their sacrifices that led to the liberation of Libya from dictatorship and oppression?” He denounced Martin Kobler for describing General Khalifa Haftar, commander in chief of the Libyan Nation Army (LNA) as part of the solution. He also denounced PM Faiez Serraj for accepting the description. I am not sure when or where Kobler actually said such a thing, if he did. The GNC and others want Haftar sidelined. The LPA has two sections 8 that take away his job and give it to the Presidency Council. No one talks about them anymore and they have been ignored by most everyone including the press. Al-Ghwell urged the honorable all over Libya to stand together against "the infiltrating group". He concluded: “We assure all the capital’s residents that they and their properties are safe and we confirm that we will exact security and protect all the properties across Tripoli as it is our responsibility.”
All the big power good guys praised the GNA move to Tripoli: The British, Italian and the EU have joined UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler in welcoming the arrival of the Government of National Accord in Tripoli. Kobler said it marked an important step in Libyan’s transition toward peace, security and prosperity. “I commend the courage, determination and leadership of the Presidency Council under its president Fayez Serraj in moving forward with the implementation of the Libyan political agreement and the aspiration of the overwhelming majority of the Libyan people” he said, “The international community stands firmly behind them and is ready to provide the required support and assistance “. He urged Libyan public bodies and financial institutions to fully cooperate with Serraj. He wants to starve the HoR and the GNC of their funds. Some officials from both governments are to be subject to EU sanctions. There will be howls of moral outrage if things do not go as they are supposed to. The US also praised the move to Tripoli.
Already a TV station opposed to the GNA has been forcibly shut down by an armed gang from one of the many militias in Tripoli. Of course news media take sides. The Libya Herald describes the event: "Shortly after Khalifa Ghwell had warned Faiez Serraj to get out of Tripoli or face arrest, Nabaa TV station in the capital, which had carried his press conference, was shut down by “angry residents” "
As can be heard on the appended video there are already clashes. Any violence will be the result of "spoilers", "obstructionists" and other assorted bad guys. Among them are the HoR and in particular its president Ageela Salah who is supposed to be about to be sanctioned by the EU. Won't there be a problem when the GNA has a bad guy heading up the GNA legislature? Reports over the next few days may be conflicting as the two sides fire their propaganda volleys.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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