Monday, April 11, 2016

Libya, To Be Or Not To Be, That Is the Question

By Abdelkader Assad
April 08, 2016
Spring came all rosy and full of new never-smelled-before scents in Libya. It is not the same as the 2011 Arab Spring, yet it has many common threads with it. This 2016 spring has brought new unpredictable visions to both ordinary citizens and politicians as regards how the new Libya would be shaped.
On Wednesday, the Presidential Council (PC) members of the UN-backed accord government arrived cruising on board a frigate in Tripoli Naval Base, in Abu Sitta, and they were received by many high profile military figures and commanders of Tripoli and Misrata brigades as well as several political and social activists.
This arrival was hailed by many Arab and world countries, better yet, it was welcomed by most of the Libyan cities and municipal councils, not to mention the social applause that Prime Minister Fayez Al-Serraj and the other six PC members received. However, his arrival did not pass so unnoticed by some other opposing parties, who are the armed brigades and societies that support the Tripoli Salvation Government of the General National Congress. Those brigades expressed their dissatisfaction for the new comers by exchanging fire across Tripoli’s city centre in an attempt to show that they were ready to push the PC back to Tunisia by force.
Now as never before, at least since 2014 Airport Road battle, the capital does fear an all-out war between rival factions, who have different visions for the country regarding so many controversial points.
One point in case is the GNC and Libyan Fatwa House in Tripoli, which both demanded clear stance on terrorism, inclusion of Islamic Sharia laws, ending Benghazi war and discarding Khalifa Haftar from the military scene, naming the GNC as a key endorser of power posts nominations, not a consulter, besides a fifth significant point. The GNC and Fatwa House called these points vital for them to approve the GNA and allow it to take power in Tripoli.
No clear response by the PC was given to these demands; however, it took a couple of brave measures that really showed it was so unready to go into amendments dialogue once again. Such measures included freezing of state ministries’ bank accounts, meeting with both opposing and welcoming political parties, activists and stakeholders from all around the country to find out a midway solution for the current complexity.
Eastern government and its Parliament in Tobruk threatened with force, and so did some of the Tripoli-based SG forces, yet they both remained vigilant and took no reckless action amid continuous talks and dialogues taking place in Tripoli with all conflicting parties.
Does Libya need Al-Serraj to get out of its entanglement? He promised to flow the cash into banks, solve the Misrata-Tawergha displacement issue, end war in Benghazi and a lot more, but that remains ink on paper and needs a comprehensive cooperation across Libya and involvement of all Libyan sectors to apply.
Some Libyans say he came with a promising future for them as he was applauded by all conflicting parties in Libya, except GNC, HoR (Tobruk Parliament) and Haftar’s Dignity Operation forces. He allowed, in one way or another, an attack on a media outlet, Al-Nabaa TV in Tripoli, in what journalists said is a violation of the freedom of speech, but Al-Serraj said he was not responsible and it was an individual act.
Which government will allow Libya to stand on its feet again, the western SG one, the Un-backed GNA one, or the one in the east? Little is known and much is gradually unfolding, at least for the UN-backed government, which was backed up on Monday by many countries that offered to reopen diplomatic attaches and embassies in Tripoli to support it from inside Libya, such as France, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco.

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