Turkey’s parliament has approved a bill to deploy troops to Libya in support of the embattled United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), paving the way for increased military cooperation despite criticism from opposition legislators.
Lebanon parliament approves sweeping powers for the army |NationalTribune.com
Beirut, Lebanon – Lebanon’s parliament has approved a state of emergency that grants sweeping powers to the army, citing the exceptional circumstances in the country following a massive explosion in Beirut last week. The cabinet had declared a two-week state of emergency on August 5, the day after the Beirut blast that left at least…
Beirut, Lebanon – Lebanon’s parliament has approved a state of emergency that grants sweeping powers to the army, citing the exceptional circumstances in the country following a massive explosion in Beirut last week.
The cabinet had declared a two-week state of emergency on August 5, the day after the Beirut blast that left at least 200 dead and some 6,000 injured. Parliament on Thursday voted for the emergency declaration eight days in, as is legally required, though it could have also voted it down.
The state of emergency allows the army to curb free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press, as well as to enter homes and arrest anyone deemed a security threat.
Judicial proceedings are to take place in the country’s military courts, which Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have shown do not conform to standards on due process.
Rights groups have raised serious concerns about the state of emergency, saying it would enable security forces to crack down on a public raging with anger against the ruling class following the blast.
The huge explosion – one of the biggest non-nuclear blasts in history – was fueled by some 2,750 tonnes of dangerous chemicals left in storage at Beirut’s port for nearly seven years, with the knowledge of top security and political officials.
‘Room for protest’
Citing the “militarization of the state”, parliamentarian Osama Saad was the only one out of the 119-member chamber, a reduced number after the resignation of nine MPs since the explosion, to oppose the state of emergency.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri responded the army had “not taken steps that people fear, nor suppress television [channels] and despite the chaos in the media it did not intervene and left room for protest”, according to local media. Sessions are not televised and, therefore, statements by lawmakers are carried by local media.
But the Lebanese army, Internal Security Forces, and armed plain-clothes officers were observed using excessive force against anti-establishment protesters on Saturday.
Some 728 people were injured, many left with serious wounds that required emergency surgery. About 12 journalists were also assaulted, including at least four who were assaulted by soldiers, one of whom was an Al Jazeera reporter.
Lebanese security forces stand guard outside the UNESCO Palace in Beirut on Thursday [Anwar Amro/AFP]
‘Control the streets’
The state of emergency is set to run until August 21 but it can be renewed.
Karim Nammour, a member of legal NGO Legal Agenda, told Al Jazeera the state of emergency was entirely unnecessary to address the aftermath of the Beirut blast, given that the country had already been in a state of “general mobilization” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This general mobilization already allows cabinet the powers to mobilize the armed forces and to control stores and matters of a strategic nature, including controlling the prices of things like glass and wood, as well as to raise the rubble and provide relief to people,” said Nammour.
“The only real reason we can see for a state emergency is to grant security forces powers to control the streets as much as possible – to give legal coverage to things that would otherwise be impossible,” he said.
“The ruling regime knows that it is weak and unpopular on the streets, and they are afraid because the fingers are pointed at them, and there are calls for revenge.”
Somalia’s parliament votes to remove PM Hassan Ali Khaire: Report |NationalTribune.com
Somalia’s president has accepted the decision to remove Khaire, citing the need to preserve the unity of various arms of government [File: Feisal Omar/Reuters] Somalia’s parliament has removed Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire by a vote of no confidence, the speaker of the house told the state news agency. Legislators voted 170-8 to remove Khaire,…
Somalia’s president has accepted the decision to remove Khaire, citing the need to preserve the unity of various arms of government [File: Feisal Omar/Reuters]
Somalia’s parliament has removed Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire by a vote of no confidence, the speaker of the house told the state news agency.
Legislators voted 170-8 to remove Khaire, Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman told the news agency, according to a Reuters news agency report on Saturday.
“We urge Somalia’s president to appoint a new prime minister,” he was quoted as saying.
“The prime minister failed to establish national security forces to tighten security for the federal and state governments.”
Khaire, a former oil company executive, was not immediately available for comment. He had led the eastern African country since March 2017.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, in a statement carried on state radio, said he had accepted the decision of the legislators to remove Khaire, citing the need to preserve the unity of the various arms of government.
“He will soon appoint a new prime minister,” said a statement by the president on the state radio’s website.
Khaire is a dual Norwegian citizen who once worked as a primary school teacher in Norway and also for the Norwegian Refugee Council before joining the British energy explorer, Soma Oil and Gas.
He had resigned from his job at Soma Oil as the executive director for Africa to take up the job of the prime minister.
His selection was seen by some as a nod to balancing clan interests in the Horn of Africa nation. Khaire is a member of the Hawiye clan.
Al Jazeera and news agencies
Eastern parliament seeks Egypt’s direct intervention in Libya war |NationalTribune.com
Libya’s eastern-based parliament has approved a motion authorising neighbouring Egypt to directly intervene militarily in the country’s war if needed to counter Turkey’s support for the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). The body in Tobruk backs renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, who fought a 14-month, ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to seize Libya’s capital, Tripoli, from the…
Libya’s eastern-based parliament has approved a motion authorising neighbouring Egypt to directly intervene militarily in the country’s war if needed to counter Turkey’s support for the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
The body in Tobruk backs renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, who fought a 14-month, ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to seize Libya’s capital, Tripoli, from the GNA.
After months of impasse, Turkish military support helped the GNA to turn the tide of the conflict in recent weeks and drive Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) – backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia – from Libya’s northwest.
The battle lines have now solidified near Sirte, a central coastal city seen as the gateway to Libya’s main oil export terminals.
In a resolution passed late on Monday, the Tobruk parliament authorised “Egyptian armed forces to intervene to protect the national security of Libya and Egypt if they see an imminent danger to both our countries”.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said last month that Egypt could send troops into Libya, warning GNA forces not to cross the current front line between them and LNA. In response, the GNA said it considered el-Sisi’s comments a “declaration of war”.
On Tuesday, Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, wrote on Twitter: “The drums of the war raging around Sirte in Libya threaten serious developments and dangerous humanitarian and political consequences.
“We in the UAE call for an immediate ceasefire and for wisdom to prevail,” he added, calling for inter-Libyan dialogue “within clear international frameworks”.
It came a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu dismissed prospects of any imminent ceasefire in Libya, saying Sirte and the Jufra airbase further inland needed to be turned over to the GNA before it agreed to a truce.
“There are preparations for an operation, but we are trying the (negotiation) table. If there is no withdrawal, there is already a military preparation, they [GNA] will show all determination here,” Cavusoglu told state broadcaster, TRT Haber.
Libya, a major oil producer, has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
Since 2014, it has been split between rival factions based in Tripoli and in the east, in a sometimes chaotic war that has drawn in outside powers and a flood of foreign arms and mercenaries.
Control over oil, the main source of state revenue, has emerged as the biggest prize in the current conflict, with eastern forces having imposed a blockade on production and exports since January.
Under international agreements, only the National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in Tripoli has the right to produce and export oil, while revenues must flow to the Central Bank of Libya, also located in the capital.
On Friday, international diplomacy led by the United Nations and the United States appeared to have ended the oil blockade when a first tanker was allowed to dock at Es Sider and load with oil from storage.
However, the LNA on Saturday said it was reimposing the blockade, a decision that the NOC blamed on the UAE.
The UAE said it wanted a swift resumption of Libya oil exports but only if some conditions were met.
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