Libya’s defense minister rescinds resignation

Topics: From the Wires,

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya’s defense minister on Tuesday rescinded his decision to resign in protest over the continuous show of force by militias that stormed government buildings in what Mohammed Al-Barghathi described as an “assault on democracy and elected authorities.”

Libyan state news agency LANA quoted Al-Barghathi as saying that he withdrew his resignation based on a request from Prime Minister Ali Zidan.

Al-Barghathi told reporters earlier that he had decided to resign after militias stormed several ministries and surrounded others with trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns. Al-Barghathi said he also submitted his resignation over how militias pressured parliament to pass a contentious and sweeping law that bans anyone who served as a senior official under ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi from working in government. Ousting elected officials could further stall the country’s already rocky transition to democracy.

“The moment of courage has come and I find myself forced … to announce my resignation voluntarily and without hesitation,” he said at a news conference in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. “I came to this post as a revolutionary and I pledged not to battle the sons of my nation.”

The so-called Political Isolation Law could lead to the dismissal of many current leaders, some of whom had defected to the rebel side during the country’s 2011 civil war or had been elected to office since Gadhafi’s ouster and killing.

Al-Barghathi himself could be affected by the law because he was a military attaché under Gadhafi along with the head of parliament Mohammed al-Megarif.

A number of Libyan militias refused to back down from protests they staged for more than a week outside government buildings, despite passage of the law on Sunday. Militiamen remained outside the Foreign Ministry where several signs demanded the resignation of the prime minister.

Most militias have roots in the rebel groups that fought ousted Libyan dictator Gadhafi in the country’s eight-month civil war, but their numbers have mushroomed in the more than a year since his fall. Some militias have been accused of rights abuses, but the government continues to rely on them for security in the absence of a strong police or military.

For months after Gadhafi’s ouster, militias protected Tripoli’s international airport, provided border security and ensured the country did not spiral out of control.

However, those flexing their muscles appear to be a mixture of militia groups with different motivations, according to lawmaker Tawfiq Breik, from the liberal-leaning National Forces Alliance bloc in parliament.

One group comprises former rebels who fought Gadhafi forces and want to see his loyalists out of government. A second group driven by personal interests is made up of people who either failed in the country’s general elections last year or demanded government posts but didn’t get them. A third group, Breik said, is the most politicized and wants to see Zidan and his liberal allies out of power.

In their latest show of lawlessness, gunmen stormed the state-owned electric agency and beat up the director, LANA reported. The attack forced the closure of the agency after workers denounced the incident and said that they would not be able to resume work without security.

Meanwhile, rivals to militias of mostly military commanders are waging a campaign against the country’s chief of staff Youssef Mangoush whom they accuse of being behind continuous weakness of the state army. On Tuesday, lawmaker Mohammed Zayed posted on his official Facebook page that the parliament had voted to remove Mangoush and gave a defense committee a month to find a replacement.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>