Libya’s political deadlock and recent crises have been neglected by the world following what is happening in Ukraine. This is what is currently taking place in the war torn nation.
Following the attempt by the Tobruk-based, pro-Haftar House of Representatives (HoR), to install a rival government against the UN-backed Government of National Unity, Fathi Bashagha has been designated as the PM of the new parallel government. The move has been denounced by the legitimate PM, Abdulhamid Dbeibah.
On March 8, Bashagha announced that he would assume power in Tripoli by force of law, however, his convoy was claimed to have been seen accompanied by armed factions trying to reach the capital.
Raising white flags, the military convoy of parallel prime minister Fathi Bashagha has reached Qarabulli town, some 60 km east Tripoli coming from Tarhuna city, sources confirmed, adding that his escorts are negotiating for his safe arrival in Tripoli pic.twitter.com/vtaJFlOxXW— The Libya Observer (@Lyobserver) March 10, 2022
Local media outlets have reported that the convoy of PM-designate Bashagha will not be allowed to enter the capital, Tripoli.
The coastal road has been closed in Khoms city as parallel prime minister Fathi Bashagha is mobilizing forces in a bid to enter Tripoli while his opponents warned to respond with fire if he approaches Tripoli pic.twitter.com/5TAvcLHFHp— The Libya Observer (@Lyobserver) March 10, 2022
Before these developments, the US was quick to call on Dbeibah and Bashagha for calm and de-escalation regarding any potential attempts by Bashagha to enter the capital, Tripoli.
On Twitter, the US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, said his country seeks for calm and de-escalation in Libya.
“That was my message to Dbeibah at the meeting he hosted with foreign diplomats, and my colleagues in Washington had a similar conversation with Bashagha,” Norland added.
The EU’s Libya ambassador, Jose Sabadell, on the other hand, stressed the support of the international community for a democratic roadmap in Libya to establish a secure and democratic system in the country.
Withdrawal of foreign mercenaries
The other major issue regarding Libya’s democratic transition has been the presence of foreign fighters, mercenaries who were primarily sent by Russia including pro-Syrian Regime fighters and Wagner Group militants.
In the wake of the Russian assault on Ukraine, reports emerged that Moscow has pulled out several Syrian fighters and some media reports claim that they will be sent to Ukraine to aid Russia in its fight.
Commenting on the situation, a member of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission, Al-Fitouti Gharibel said that the process of mercenary withdrawal from Libya failed to be implemented because of the political deadlock in the country.
He added that no one is sure how long implementing the withdrawal plan will take.
“We have already formed communication committees for Cairo and Tunis meetings in November 2021 in addition to the visits to countries which are involved in those meetings. The delay of elections by current political bodies and their extended mandates with a continuing division will keep the JMC plan shelved,” Gharibel said..
What the UN says
As the UN-backed government and its rival led by Bashagha both try to find support from locals and the international community, UN Special Advisor on Libya, Stephanie Williams, is focusing on holding elections by June - which is the date the UN-backed government’s mandate expires.
Williams on Monday met pro-Haftar speaker of the HoR, Aguila Saleh as part of her focus on forming a joint committee from the HoR and High Council of State to provide a constitutional basis for elections.
Sharing her views on Twitter, Williams said; “I reiterated my call for calm, as well as highlighted the importance of cooperation between Libyan institutions for the sake of lasting stability. I look forward to receiving the nominations from the two Chambers within the coming days”.
In the aftermath of his meeting with Williams, Aguila Saleh claimed that he confirmed to the UN Advisor his rejection of any intervention on HoR’s decisions.
Libyan PM Dbeibah last Friday said that the statements made by the UN and major international powers are all in line with the GNU’s plan to hold elections in June, this year.
Stressing the lack of transparency of the HoR in designating Bashagha as the parallel PM, Dbeibah said what he is trying to achieve in Libya is in harmony with the international community to have free and fair elections and democracy in the country.