By Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 30 August 2014:
Operation Dignity has said it will take orders from then newly-appointed chief of . . .[restrict]staff although it will retain certain amount of autonomy.
The commander of Operation Dignity’s air forces Adam Saqr Geroushi told the Libya Herald this proved that the Dignity campaign was legal and legitimate. The leaders of the predominantly Tobruk-based force have reiterated this claim since they began fighting Ansar Al-Sharia and its allies.
Geroushi said Operation Dignity would take orders from the chief of staff, Colonel Abdul Razzaq Nazhuri, but when pushed, explained that the relationship between the forces under the command of General Khalifa Hafter and Nazhuri would be more collaborative. He said Hafter would not be stepping down from his post and would retain overall control of Operation Dignity.
The appointment of Nazhuri, an Operation Dignity commander himself, has already proven deeply controversial and caused a significant schism in the armed forces. The General Staff has refused to accept his authority and has said it will continue to take orders from the former chief of staff Major-General Abdussalam Jadallah Obeidi, who is alleged to have supported the Libya Dawn operation in Tripoli which is diametrically opposed to Hafter.
Nazhuri, from Marj, was one of seven candidates considered for the post of Chief of Staff by the House of Representatives. General Khalifa Hafter was not on the list, according to a source in the House, because of concerns about his past and that he would be too divisive. His son was killed in one of the early Dignity operations.
In a statement issued by the General Staff when it broke away from Nazhuri, Hafter was branded a ”criminal”. It went on to vow that he and everyone who supported his Operation Dignity or was involved in the so-called “Libyan National Army” which he leads would be pursued and brought to justice.
The Head of Saiqa’s Investigations Unit, Fadel Al-Hassi, has also said that Saiqa Special Forces, which have aligned itself with Operation Dignity, will take orders from the new chief of staff
This move will do little, however, to heal the rift between Saiqa and Operation Dignity. Dignity’s commanders have been dismissive of the special forces since they were routed from their main base in Benghazi at the end of Ramadan.