Libya: Al-Mishri calls for revoking the authority to control drones from Dbeibeh… Why?

In response to the drone attack on parts of Zawiya by Libyan High Council of State President Khalid al-Mishri, Libya’s Defense Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh rejected the use of air traffic to settle political scores under the pretext of fighting crime.

Al-Mishri said that the bombardment “came a few days after the youth and the people of Zawiya took action to reject the spread of crime and smuggling,” stressing that “the Presidential Council, in its capacity as the supreme commander of the Libyan army, did not know the Chief of Staff, the western military region, and the Military and Security Committee that was recently formed.”

Al-Mishri called on the Presidential Council, in its capacity as supreme commander of the Libyan army, to withdraw the powers of the air force and its leadership from the head of government. He accused the President of using aviation to intimidate and confront his political opponents, and denied that Turkey had any relations with the Aviation Administration.

Al-Mishri stressed that drones are directly managed by the defense minister, Dbeibeh, who also accused him of marketing the order in order to thrust the Turkish ally into the internal conflict, rejecting any sign from any party that would compromise Turkey’s neutrality.

“Tripoli’s state-run air force on Thursday bombed several sites in Zawiya, including the home of MP Ali Abu Zureiba.”

In response, the Presidency of the Council of Representatives issued a statement expressing the Council of Representatives’ grave concern over the targeting of Abu Zureiba’s house. The Council condemned the attack on civilians and civilian facilities.

“Such acts are a threat to the lives of citizens, they increase tension, destabilize the security situation and chaos, and thwart efforts to establish security and hold elections,” the council said.

The council called on “everyone to calm down, to control the language of reason, and to preserve the lives of citizens and public and private properties”.

The Libyan national unity government’s defense ministry said on Thursday it carried out airstrikes against drug traffickers in the West Coast, according to a statement posted on the official Facebook page of the national unity government spokesman Mohamed Hamouda.

“According to the Ministry of Defense, our national air force carried out this morning (Thursday) precise and targeted air strikes against the nests of fuel smuggling, drug trafficking and human trafficking gangs in the West Coast region,” Hamouda said.

The strikes were “successful and achieved their desired objectives”, he said, adding that the ministry is “carrying out its national task with direct follow-up from the prime minister”.

Zawiya is located 40 kilometers west of Tripoli and is the third largest city in western Libya in terms of area and population. It is home to the largest oil refinery in Libya and has been active since 2011 with several gangs specialized in the smuggling of subsidized fuel, illegal immigrants, and drug trafficking.

The city of Zawiya has been suffering from a long period of insecurity; due to the competition of armed militias inside them who are loyal to the interim government of national unity led by Dbeibeh for areas of influence and control.

In the past few days, the city of Zawiya witnessed demonstrations demanding the removal of armed militias that residents blame for the spread of crime.

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