By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 21 March 2014:
The head of the air force, Air Force Brigadier-General Ahmed Habib Al-Mismari, has been sacked over . . .[restrict]his public backing for controversial Major-General Khalifa Hafter. He has been replaced by Air Force Colonel Ali Mohamed Alabid Abu Diya. Air Force Colonel Mohamed Mansur Ali Al-Amin has been appointed as deputy head of the air force.
The office of the Chief of Staff, Major General Abdussalam Jadallah Al-Obeidi, has also announced in a statement dated 18 March that Mismari, along with the commander of Benghazi’s Benina Airbase, Air Force Colonel Saad Faraj Al-Warfali and three army officers, have been referred to the Military Prosecutor for their involvement with Hafter. They are Colonels Mansour Abdeljawad Mohamed Mazini, Najeeb Hamad Abdullah Al-Hassi and Hamid Abdullah Al-Hassi.
Hamid Al-Hassi was named as head of defence forces in Cyrenaica by former National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil during the revolution, with specific responsibility for the defence of the east. He has since been without any real function.
Two days ago, Mismari denied that he or Waarfali were being dismissed although he admitted that he was under investigation for talking to the media and for his links with Hafter.
On 14 February, Hafter notoriously announced on TV that the General National Congress and the government had to be removed and replaced by a military council led by himself. The government in vain ordered his arrest. Since then he has been campaigning in favour of his so-called “initiative”, mainly in the east of the country. On Monday he did so at a meeting of air force officers and others Benina Airbase where Mismari and Warfali welcomed his initiative.