Tunisia’s Ennahda slams ‘military coup’ in Libya

Ennahda’s leader warns Libya could plunge into civil war

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Tunisia’s powerful Islamist Ennahda party on Tuesday denounced a military campaign by a rogue general in the neighboring Libya as an “attempted coup” against the elected Islamist-dominated government.

“Ennahda movement strongly condemns the attempted coup and all use of weapons to express a political view or position,” Rashid al-Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda movement, said in a statement published on the movement’s website.

Ghannouchi warned that the “alarming spread of arms” could lead to civil war in Libya, urging the rival parties to engage in “national dialogue without exclusion.”

A renegade Libyan general has launched a military campaign against Islamist militants in the eastern city of Benghazi since last week.

While the government in Tripoli criticized Islamist militants, it also condemned General Khalifa Haftar’s military move without government orders.

Haftar’s forces last week stormed the Islamist-dominated parliament urging it to disband. The parliament, however, rejected his demand and moved ahead with a confidence vote on the government.

An Islamist force from the city of Misrata that was ordered to deploy around the parliament refused the government order, prompting the parliament to hold its session on Tuesday at an undisclosed location. The parliament however failed to obtain the necessary quorum to hold the vote.

The government in Tripoli was dealt another blow on Tuesday when the military intelligence and the Tripoli police directorate joined the “operation dignity” that was declared by General Haftar.

Haftar already enjoys the support of Libya’s elite Saaqa force, two air force units, and a naval base.

It remains unclear how much support he has among Libya’s major tribes and whether his expanding military alliance is capable of quickly winning a military war against armed Islamist militias.

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