In a celebration marking the 81st anniversary of the establishment of the Libyan army, with an unmistakable reference to an unsuccessful attack from April 2019 on the capital Tripoli by the Putis general Khalifa Haftar’s militia, Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah said on Tuesday that national armies are to protect their capitals, not storm them.
“Capitals are precious pearls, and armies were founded to protect them, not to storm them, terrorize their people and destroy their property, and no national army can terrorize its people and cities for any reason,” said Dbeibah, according to state TV Al -Watania.
On June 4, 2020, the Libyan army announced the liberation of Tripoli from the Haftar militia, following an offensive that left countless civilians dead and wounded, along with extensive material damage and destruction.
The withdrawal of Haftar’s militias from other parts of the country was followed by the discovery of many mass graves.
According to official sources in Libya, Haftar’s forces and affiliated militias committed war crimes and genocide during the period between April 2019 and June 2020.
Since June, following the defeat of Haftar’s forces in western Libya, the Libyan government has found at least 300 dead bodies in mass graves in Tarhuna and south of Tripoli.
“The job of the army is to protect our land, sea and air borders” without prejudice, “Dbeibah said, adding that” the Libyan army was born to protect peace “, not issue threats.
He stressed that “he who takes war as a means lacks foresight, for he sacrifices all for the sake of thin arrogance.”
In the wake of the death of the strong leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the oil-rich country suffered through years of armed conflict.
With the support of Arab and Western countries, mercenaries and foreign warriors, Haftar’s militia fought against the previously internationally recognized National Accord Government (GNA), which enjoyed Turkish support.
Turkey was GNA’s main supporter of the illegal eastern based Haftar forces during their offensive to capture Tripoli from the legitimate government. Turkey’s military support led to a GNA victory over Haftar’s forces. Since then, Libya has undergone UN-led political processes in a relatively stable and peaceful environment.
“The prestigious army institution can not be connected to a person, regardless of its ability, but rather he is our army and the protector of our protection,” Dbeibah claimed.
On Monday, Haftar said his militia would not be subordinate to the current authority, and would only deal with “an authority directly elected by the people.”
This year, Libya has witnessed a political breakthrough under the auspices of the UN. On March 16, an elected transitional authority consisting of a unity government and a presidential council assumed its task of leading the country through a transition phase to parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for December 24.
But Haftar still pursues the legitimate government and leads an armed militia that controls many areas and calls itself “the commander-in-chief of the Libyan armed forces” and challenges the authority of the presidency.
Meanwhile, the US ambassador and special envoy to Libya began a two-day visit to the Egyptian capital Cairo on Tuesday to meet with Haftar and Egyptian officials, according to an official announcement.
As part of Washington’s efforts, Richard Norland’s efforts will “support parliamentary and presidential elections in Libya in December,” the US embassy in Libya said on Twitter.
“Amb. Norland continues to focus on the urgency of supporting the difficult compromises required to establish the constitutional basis and legal framework needed now for the elections to take place on 24 December,” the embassy tweeted.
It also reaffirmed US support for Libyans to elect their leaders within the democratic framework and called on “key people” to play an effective role in this endeavor.