Fathi Bashagha

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Fathi Ali Abdul Salam Bashagha
فتحي-باشاغا-1.jpg
Minister of Interior
Assumed office
3 September 2020
PresidentFayez al-Sarraj
Prime MinisterFayez al-Sarraj
Preceded byKhalid Ahmad Mazen
In office
7 October 2018 – 28 August 2020
PresidentFayez al-Sarraj
Prime MinisterFayez al-Sarraj
Preceded byAbdussalam Ashour
Succeeded byKhalid Ahmad Mazen
Personal details
Born (1962-08-20) August 20, 1962 (age 58)
Misrata, Kingdom of Libya
NationalityLibyan
Websitewww.fathibashaga.ly
Military service
Allegiance Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Branch/service Libyan Air Force
Years of service1984–1993

Fathi Ali Abdul Salam Bashagha (Arabic: فتحي علي عبد السلام باشآغا‎), known simply as "Fathi Bashagha", or "Fathi Ali Pasha" on his website, was born on 20 August 1962 in Misrata and is the current Minister of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA) appointed by Fayez al-Sarraj on 7 October 2018.

Childhood and education[edit]

Bashagha was born on August 20, 1962[1] in the city of Misrata, Kingdom of Libya.[2] He is of Turkish descent.[3]

He graduated from Misrata's aviation college in 1984 and the following year became a trainer pilot specialising in fighter jets. After working as a trainer for nearly a decade, he quit the Air Force in 1993 and later set up a commercial firm.[1]

Military/political career[edit]

Bashagha remained at Air College until he resigned from the Libyan Air Force in 1993 and started working in import-export trade. After the 2011 Libyan revolution, the Judicial Committee was formed. The Judicial Committee summoned serving and resigned officers to form a military committee, the Military Council in Misrata, of which Bashagha was a member.[4]

In 2011, he joined the Military Council as Head of the Information and Coordinates Department, then as spokesperson for the Misrata Military Council. He joined the advisory committee at the National Reconciliation Commission. He served as a member of the controversial Misrata Shura Council in 2012, and is considered a supporter of and involved in the Libya Dawn operations. In 2013, he ran for the position of Minister of Defence.[5]

Bashagha was elected to the House of Representatives for the city of Misrata in 2014. He decided to boycott the House of Representatives within a group of Misrata deputies. He was nominated in 2015 to head the Defence and National Security Council of the Al-Wefaq government and apologized for not accepting the position. In 2016, he participated in the Parliament's Political Dialogue Committee. In October 2018, the GNA government decided to assign him the duties of Minister of Interior. He then resigned from the Air Force to found a private commercial company.[6]

In his position he attempted to create a professional police force for Libya and reorganize militia groups that the GNA has relied on. Originally from Misrata and being a former fighter pilot, he was elected in 2014 to the House of Representatives. But it is no longer recognized internationally and Bashagha has been boycotting it since the Second Libyan Civil War began.[7][8]

Bashagha graduated from the Misrata aviation college in 1984 and spent a decade working as a trainer pilot specializing in fighter jets. He left the Libyan Air Force in 1993.[9]

Bashagha has since 2013 been involved in the Libya Dawn Operations of 2013-14, and 2019–20 Western Libya campaign "Volcano of Anger" counter offensive operation against the LNA Operation Flood of Dignity.

On 28 August 2020, Bashagha was suspended as Interior Minister amid protests in Tripoli.[10] He was restored to his position on 3 September 2020.[11]

Political/militia links and role[edit]

Bashagha is described by journalist Fehim Tastekin as "wield[ing] influence over the Mahjoub and Halbous brigades in Misrata", being the [Muslim] Brotherhood's man" in the GNA and having "strong bonds" with the government of Turkey.[3]

Sami Zaptia, writing in the Libya Herald in September 2020, saw Bashagha playing a role in the GNA as strong as or stronger than that of formal prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj.[12]

Assassination attempts[edit]

On 16 December 2019, Bashagha was injured after being shot at in an assassination attempt by unknown gunmen.[13]

On 21 February 2021, Bashagha survived an ambush by gunmen on his motorcade in Tripoli, in which one of his guards was wounded and the others chased the assailants, killing one of them and arresting two others.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BBC Monitoring – Essential Media Insight". monitoring.bbc.co.uk.
  2. ^ Staff, Al-Monitor (August 31, 2020). "Intel: Libya's Sarraj suspends interior minister, fracturing Tripoli government". Al-Monitor.
  3. ^ a b Tastekin, Fehim (2019-08-26). "Are Libyan Turks Ankara's Trojan horse?". Al-Monitor. Archived from the original on 2020-06-17. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  4. ^ "فتحي باشاغا واستقالته من السلاح الجوي". awstsh.com (in Arabic). 6 April 2020.
  5. ^ "من هو باشاغا مرشح وزارة الداخلية بحكومة الوفاق؟". www.afrigatenews.net.
  6. ^ الوسط, بوابة. "فتحي باشاغا من نائب مقاطع إلى وزير داخلية «الوفاق»". Alwasat News.
  7. ^ Wehrey, Frederic (19 March 2019). A Minister, a General, & the Militias: Libya's Shifting Balance of Power. The New York Review of Books.
  8. ^ Zaptia, Sami (16 February 2019). Bashagha recognises Haftar's role. Libya Herald.
  9. ^ Libya's outspoken interior minister Fathi Bashagha. BBC. Published 17 January 2019.
  10. ^ Influential Libyan interior minister suspended amid protests. Reuters. Published 28 August 2020.
  11. ^ Libyan interior minister restored to post after talks. Reuters. Published 3 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Serraj backs down over sacking his dominant Interior Minister". Libya Herald. 2020-09-04. Archived from the original on 2020-09-04. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  13. ^ "Libya's GNA Interior Minister injured in assassination attempt". Al Arabiya English. December 16, 2019.
  14. ^ "Libyan interior minister survives attack on motorcade". ABC News. 22 February 2021.