Clinton Pressed on Benghazi; Abu Shagur Reaches Deal
Karim Mezran and Eric Knecht of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center argued in US News that the international community must “offer whatever assistance the Libyan government needs” as it struggles to reign in militias and form a national army and police force. On Tuesday, U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, ”We have consistently, since the liberation of Libya, been offering our support to the Government of Libya in its efforts to consolidate the militias [and] to deal with the remnants of the Qadhafi-era weaponry.”
Nuland also discussed a letter that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, which questioned the State Department’s security decisions leading up to the Benghazi attack on September 11. Nuland said that the State Department intends to “cooperate fully” with the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s call for an October 10 hearing on Benghazi security. Clinton reiterated Nuland’s statements in a letter to Issa today, noting that ”nobody will hold this department more accountable than we hold ourselves.”
Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur announced [Ar.] an agreement to form a coalition government on Tuesday after reaching a last-minute deal with Mahmoud Jibril, the head of the National Force Alliance. Abu Shagur was in danger of being sacked before his job had even begun after he failed to build a majority coalition by the original September 28 deadline. Abu Shagur requested a ten day extension, and despite “strong disagreement over several important policy areas,” Jibril agreed to support Abu Shagur after a meeting between the two men on Monday.
Meanwhile, several members of the General National Congress walked out of a GNC session to protest comments by President of the GNC Mohammed Magarief that “Libya should be a ‘secular’ state where religious figures do not interfere in the political running of the state.” In an interview with al-Hayat last week, Magarief was explicit that “the government and the authorities, in light of the constitution, are the ones that specify the laws, legislation and decisions [of the government] and not a religious body.” Sami Zaptia of the Libya Herald reported that 12 GNC members walked out of the Assembly before returning to demand an apology or clarification from Magarief.