Political Observation - Strings of the Political Game in Libya
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Political Observation - The Strings of the Political Game in Libya Following Bouznika Understanding & Geneva Dialogue
As Turkey decided to firmly join the fray in western Libya where Khalifah Haftar was trounced, the impact of the states sponsoring him, especially France, faded and Russia’s influence shrunk to the level permitted by the US for its designs for the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Europe and NATO.
The Russians and the French discovered they had backed the wrong horse after America made them believe she was supporting Haftar through Egypt and the Emirates, and supporting Turkey to storm Sirte and al-Jufra, whereas in fact she was planning to pull the rug from under the feet of all the stakeholders, including Turkey, by embedding the demarcation lines in Sirte and al-Jufra, turning Sirte into a demilitarised zone through the ceasefire announced by al-Sarraj and Aguila Saleh and kick-starting the negotiations in Morocco and Geneva to galvanise the political process which is based on the upshots of Bouznika and the Berlin Conference, and which intersects with the Cairo Declaration that stipulates expelling “foreign mercenaries” from Libyan lands, dismantling and disarming the militias, in addition to electing a presidential council consisting of three members representing the provinces of Tripoli, Barqah and Fezzan. The political process intersects also with the start of a new transitional period of 18 to 24 months, which necessitates from both sides neutralising the city of Sirte so as to allow the Government of National Accord (GNA) to work freely and without any pressure, and without the need for the protection of the Fajr Libya Battalion, and pawning it to a UN peacekeeping force controlled by the US. This explains why the competencies of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) have been extended, why a host of executive tasks have been added to its mission, and why it has acquisitioned the lion’s share in the negotiating committees in Geneva based on the recent UN Security Council resolution stipulating restructuring UNSMIL, increasing its activity and extending it from 40 to 80 members, whereby UNSMIL would select 54 of its members and the other 26 members would be from parliament and the High Council of State. Restructuring UNSMIL would turn it into a tool steered by the US to determine the progress of the situation in Libya, in isolation of the influence of the covetous states, and without necessarily ruling out the presence of bilateral understandings between America, Turkey and Russia at the expense of the European states and their African and Mediterranean interests, in addition to the dimensions pertinent to Chinese interests in Africa, and triggering competition between China and Turkey, Europe and Russia. US Senator Lindsey Graham alluded to this by backing the notion of allowing Turkey to compete with China in west Africa.
Hence, through the new Libyan political process, America could achieve what Haftar failed to achieve through armed conflict, namely restructuring the Libyan regime and sending the “revolutionaries” back to their homes to employ them in protecting the regime formed by the deep state and the remnants of Gaddafi, now that she has succeeded in thwarting the Paris, Palermo and Moscow conferences, turned Libya into a scene of rivalry between Turkey, France, Russia, Germany and Italy, and made Libya a source of anxiety for the European Union because of illegal migration, “terrorism” and Russia and Turkey’s presence in the basin facing southern Europe which constitutes Europe’s Achilles heel and deepens her need for America and NATO.
It is worth mentioning that each side in the Libyan file attempts to exploit the other stakeholders for its own advantage. America is exploiting the Russian presence to corroborate the continuance of NATO and contain the security and defence European policy. She is also exploiting the Turkish presence to contain the forces of western Libya and its armed groups to integrate them into the army and retrain them in an institutionalised manner under the political authority. The GNA defence minister, Salah al Namroush, announced few days ago that his ministry, with the help of the Turkish side, “has begun to implement programs to build and restructure the Libyan Armed Forces, develop the army, air and naval defence sectors, along with the anti-terrorist forces and the special forces.”
As for Haftar’s objections to the new understandings, it is part of the plot. In the past, he rejected Egyptian mediation and refused to meet al-Sarraj in Cairo in 2017 and to sign the ceasefire agreement in Moscow. He also turned his back on the European states congregated in Berlin. Although all this reflects the narcissism of Haftar’s personality and his recent exasperation as his role has been marginalised and dwarfed and as he has sensed the intention to end it altogether, especially as the declared understandings failed to mention his future as was the case with the previous talks that used to take his role into account. Haftar’s rejection of the ceasefire declared between al-Sarraj and Aguila Saleh comes within the context of exchanging the roles and exerting pressure on the forces of western Libya to coerce them into proceeding with the political solution on the grounds of the Berlin Conference and the Geneva talks with the collusion of al-Sarraj. This was corroborated with Haftar’s acquiescence three days ahead of the political agreement to the dictates of the US embassy in Tripoli pertinent to reopening the seaports and oilfields and resuming oil exports which have been suspended for over seven months. The agreement was concluded with Ahmed Omar Maiteeq, vice chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, and announced by the spokesperson of Haftar’s militias, Ahmed al-Mismari, on Friday 18 September 2020.
It is worth mentioning in this context that Haftar’s decision to suspend oil exports since the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the collapse of oil prices was not simply to exert pressure of his opponents in Tripoli but also in service of the US who was seeking to halt the freefall of oil prices and prevent the crisis from worsening. As for resuming Libyan oil exports before winter when demand is expected to increase, especially if coronavirus recedes, it is designed to curb a sharp rise in oil prices, and Russia is attempting to thwart this scenario as she continues to benefit from the suspension of Libyan oil exports; this is why Russia is hellbent in remaining in the city of Sirte which represents the gateway to the oil seaports; but Haftar’s collaboration with America is not helping Russia achieve her aims. As for al-Sarraj’s decision to resign by the end of October, provided a presidential council is formed and the work of the 5+5 committee is resumed, it will be a pretext to alienate Haftar whom Turkey insists is removed in order to deepen the Libyans’ acceptance of her presence and consolidate her role in Libya. Moreover, alienating Haftar and all the spent and publicly rejected figures is designed to reduce tension and resentment and remove the obstacles before an appropriate team of cadres for the forthcoming phase.
This is the situation of Libya where the masses are not in control of their destiny and their resources. This is in fact the situation in most of the Islamic lands. Hence, will the people of Libya take heed of the reality in which they are living and of the plots of the Kuffar against them, and will they work towards burying the hatchet, standing united in the face of America and the Kafir Western states’ covetousness ,and sacrificing to uproot America’s influence instead of fighting each other, fragmenting the country and plundering its resources on behalf of the Kufr states and their surrogates?
6 Safar 1442h
23 September 2020
23 September 2020