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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Libya parliament speaker appoints Haftar army chief

Iran Press TV

Mon Mar 2, 2015 5:32PM

The Libyan parliament speaker has appointed retired General Khalifa Haftar as the country's new army chief.

'I've chosen Major General Khalifa Belgacem Haftar for the post of commander-in-chief of the army after promoting him to the rank of lieutenant general,' said Aguila Salah, the speaker of Libya's internationally recognized parliament, on Monday.

Salah added that the general will be sworn in before the parliament in order to officially assume the position of the general commander of Libya's armed forces.

Under the Libyan law, the parliament's speaker, as the country's Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has the power to promote the military staff.

Lawmaker Tarek al-Garoushi said Haftar's promotion to the rank of lieutenant general, the highest in the Libyan army, has been in accordance with 'popular demand' and aims to 'unify the ranks of the army.'

Haftar, once an ally of Libya's long-time dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, joined the Libyan revolution in 2011. He has also been active in military operations against the militants which now control parts of the country.

Source of conflict

Libya has two rival camps vying for control of the country, with one controlling Tripoli, and the other, Libya's internationally recognized government, governing the cities of Bayda and Tobruk.

Libya's government and elected parliament moved to the eastern city of Tobruk after an armed group based in the northwestern city of Misrata seized Tripoli and most government institutions in August 2014.

Libya plunged into chaos following a 2011 uprising against the dictatorship of Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

The country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups, which refuse to lay down arms.

ISIL enters the equation in Libya

The presence of ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Libya has further complicated the situation in the violence-wracked North African country.

The terrorist group, which controls some regions in Iraq and Syria, has also launched operations in Libya.

In February, 45 people were killed and dozens of others injured in ISIL's triple bomb explosions that struck Libya's northeastern city of al-Qubah.

In the same month, the Takfiri group also released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. The victims had reportedly been abducted in Libya's northern coastal city of Sirte in two attacks in December and January.


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