Libyas General National Congress (GNC) has approved the appointment of Colonel Abdusalam Jad Allah al-Salheen al-Obaidi as the countrys new chief of staff amid worsening security across the country.
Al-Obaidi, a veteran of the Libyan revolution to topple the Gaddafi regime replaces Major General Yousef Mangoush, who resigned in early June after clashes in the eastern city of Benghazi left scores dead, according to the local Libya Herald.
Mangoush had previously served as a colonel under Gaddafi and retired just before the February 2011 revolution. He was appointed by the interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC) in 2012.
However, he was widely criticised for failing to make quick progress on bringing a semblance of security to the country, a challenge the Al-Obaidi will also face. Al-Obaidi will not be helped by the governments inability to reestablish the national army. From the outset of the Libyan conflict, much of the army, particularly in the east, defected immediately, while other officers and troops sat out the conflict.
In the absence of the army, Libyas security has been left to the various regional and tribal militias, along with military councils with no central command.
In early July, the government repealed a resolution to set up a National Guard, which would support the Libyan army and police. A new law is being planned by the GNC.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan who is currently acting defence minister has also appointed Staff Brigadier Rasheed Mohammed Saleh al-Sabri as head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), which is tasked with protecting the countrys critical oil and gas assets.
Libyas oil production, refining and exports have all faced significant disruptions due to protests and security incidents at the facilities. For example, production at the 350,000 barrel-a-day Sharara oil field was shut down in early July by armed protesters, who opposed the appointment of the PFG to protect the facility.