Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat

Armed Convoy Moves into Tripoli to Shore up Dbeibah

GNU head Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah gestures as he arrives to submit his candidacy papers for the presidential election at the headquarters of the electoral commission in Tripoli, Libya November 21, 2021. (Reuters)

A convoy of fighters moved into Tripoli from the Libyan city of Misrata on Saturday to shore up the interim prime minister amid a push by the parliament to oust him in favor of its own candidate.

Interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah has sworn he will hand over power only after an election and has rejected the move by parliament this week to appoint former interior minister Fathi Bashagha to head a new government.

The convoy's arrival underscored the danger of renewed fighting in Libya as the crisis plays out, following mobilizations in recent weeks by armed factions backing different political sides.

Saturday's convoy, comprising more than 100 vehicles according to a Reuters witness, arrived after Dbeibah earlier on Saturday accused the parliament of being "responsible for all this bloodshed and chaos" in Libya over recent years.

The parliament speaker, Aguila Saleh, has accused Dbeibah of corruption and of seeking to use his position for his own ends rather than to effect a meaningful transition.

Libya has had little peace since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Moammar al-Gaddafi and it split in 2014 between warring factions in east and west.

During the war, the parliament mostly sided with the eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). The main armed forces from Misrata were on the other side, backing the the former Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

Dbeibah was installed last year as head of the Government of National Unity (GNU), a body that was put in place through a UN-backed process to unify Libya's divided institutions and oversee the run-up to elections in December.

After the election process collapsed amid factional disputes over the rules, the parliament moved to take control of the political process by declaring a new "roadmap" to elections and replacing the interim government.

This week it asked Bashagha to form a new government after a session in which the speaker said the only other candidate had withdrawn and then voted the former interior minister in with a quick show of hands.

Bashagha flew into Tripoli on Thursday night ahead of a two-week government formation process and said he expected Dbeibah to hand over power peacefully.

Dbeibah has said he will next week announce his own roadmap for the country involving elections this summer.

The position of the United Nations and major powers will be critical in determining the outcome of the struggle over the interim government after years of foreign involvement in the conflict.

The UN has said it still recognizes the validity of Dbeibah's GNU and the political process it was part of.

However, the UN said on Friday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had taken note of the move by parliament to appoint Bashagha, and of a move by parliament along with another body, the High State Council, to chart a revised path towards elections.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.