By Ahmed Elumami
Tripoli, 27 June 2013:
Defence Minister Mohammed Barghathi, was today relieved of his duties by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.
Barghathi’s departure . . .[restrict]comes after widespread dissatisfaction with his responses to the rising tide of violence and killings that has hit Benghazi, Sebha and now Tripoli.
The Prime Minister confirmed his decision during an interview this afternoon on Libya Alwataneya TV.
Zeidan also rounded on the acting Chief of Staff, Salem Gnaidi, for comments he made yesterday, that the army had been unable the intervene decisively in this week’s Tripoli clashes, as it did not have the means, because the government had given it insufficient funds.
This statement, said Zeidan, was political and inappropriate. He added: “Almost LD 7 billion were given to the Chief of Staff between the budgets of both 2012 and 2013, and the year is not over yet!” Zeidan went on to announce that a permanent chief of staff would be would be appointed in the near future.
The Prime Minister said that GNC decision No. 27 of 2013, calling for the removal of all armed groups from Tripoli to the outside of the capital would be carried through, by force if necessary. In particular he called on the forces occupying the Yarmouk camp to evacuate the facility within the next five days or they would be made to go.
Zeidan also said that a committee had been formed to investigate what had really happened in the Tripoli violence.
Jumaa Sayah, a member of the GNC defence committee told the Libya Herald: “We were not satisfied with the performance of the defence minister.” However, Sayah maintained that Zeidan had taken the decision to fire Barghathi himself, because of the recent upsurge in violence, which the army, along with militia units nominally under armed forces command, have been unable to contain.
There was however social media speculation that the final trigger in the 71 year-old Barghathi’s ouster was his claim that the Supreme Security Committee and security support forces were responsible for starting the recent violence in Tripoli. There were claims that the leaders from both forces had gone to see Zeidan to protest the comments.
Ironically, Barghathi had submitted his resignation in early May over the sieges of the Foreign and Justice Ministries but was persuaded by the Prime Minister to withdraw it.