Saturday, February 11, 2017

Misrata Military Council announces all brigades under its control to join "Libyan Army"

The Misrata Military Council (MMC) announced that all brigades under its control will join the Central Military Zone of "the Libyan Army".

No detailed explanation of what exactly the Central Military Zone group is supposed to be is given except to describe it as forces in much of western Libya loyal to the UN-brokered Government of National Accord(GNA) and its Presidency Council (PC). The Libyan Army is opposed to the Libyan National Army(LNA) associated with the rival House of Representatives (HoR) in the east. The LNA is commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The Council appears anxious to create a unified GNA army as a rival to Haftar's LNA. The group has been critical of the GNA for not taking a strong stance against the LNA and Haftar as noted in a recent DJ article. In the announcement the LNA is described as "private protection units and militias". Haftar is described as a "rogue general" even though he is now a Field Marshall and appointed commander by the HoR government.
Many of the brigades of the Misrata Military Council took part in the Al-Bunyan al-Marsous(BAM) military offensive that liberated Sirte recently during an 8-month battle during which 700 fighters died. The offensive helped forge the MMC into a relatively structured fighting force as is the LNA. The Third Force deployed in southern Libya would also logically be part of the Libyan Army. Presidency Council deputy chair Ahmed Maetig spoke positively about various militias being absorbed into a single army. One of the continuing problems is that the GNA has depended upon various militias for security. There have been constant clashes and many militia have their own agendas that can sometimes conflict with that of the GNA.
A Presidential Guard was formed last May but most of the group defected to those from the former Salvation Government attempting a coup and who are occupying the Rixos hotel complex in Tripoli. This happened last October! Maetig was also scathing in his criticism of Haftar and the LNA. The UN envoy to Libya Martin Kobler has been adamant that Haftar must play a role in a new GNA government. Unless, Kobler is able to offer Haftar terms that he accepts, it is unlikely that the HoR will ever vote confidence in the GNA as required under the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA).
The Libya Observer also covers the same announcement and also says that the aim is to unite the most powerful armed brigades under one command and would take place according to the laws in force of the Libyan National Army. A military source said:“This action could be described as a reaction and attempt to reinstate an authentic version of a military institution, which is universally known to have loyalty to God and country, not private protection units and militias similar to those employed by rogue General Khalifa Haftar and his predecessor Gadaffi before him."The Libyan Express also reported on the announcement.

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