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Waiting for Daesh in Libya

Image of Daesh militants [file photo]
Daesh militants in Syria [File photo]

Libya has already started the restructuring phase and is currently witnessing constant pressure and friction between the main parties and conflicts of influence regarding the future of Libya. Of course this includes regional and international parties, each with its own extensions and branches within Libya.

During the past two years, regional countries were the most immersed in the Libyan reality, mainly immediate neighbours and some nearby countries. Foreign countries, mainly major powers, are remotely following what is going on, with some coordination or communication with regional countries.  They are heavily dependent on the UN envoy whose main role is to stabilize the overall situation without substantial change. In recent weeks, there have been some strange Western signs in more than one direction, including the possibilities of direct military intervention, in support of Fayez al-Sarraj’s government and partially lifting the ban on importing weapons into Libya, all suggesting that major powers of the world are actively moving towards Libya in competition for resources of the region.

A few days ago, news from Western sources reported that the presence of members of Daesh is on the rise in Libya and that their numbers in the country exceeded the numbers in Syria .A number of countries held a meeting in Vienna to discuss Libya and the meeting is expected to end with recommendations of a partial lifting of the ban of weapons’ imports to Libya. This comes after Washington announced its approval, provided these weapons are used to fight against Daesh. But since the accord government is still not in control, it is not clear what the position of Khalifa Haftar’s forces and Libya’s brigades and other armed militias from this step is.

The question of timing is very important in this context. Why allow the importing of weapons now and not before or after? During the previous period, the world did not take any proactive action to secure Libya or to stabilize it. All they did was to warn of the danger of Daesh, without any practical moves to prevent it reaching Libya or anywhere else in the region. Although Libya witnessed a relatively politically stable situation during the National Transitional Council and the General National Council periods, when Libya had a clear government and serious attempts to build an army and security forces, all foreign and regional powers did was watch the situation deteriorate, stability collapse and the security vacuum worsen. Then they spoke about the arrival of Daesh members in Libya, attributing the group’s rise to the instability and the security vacuum that they did nothing to prevent.

Maintaining safety and security in Libya requires the formation of a Libyan united national army that includes those who fought against Muammar Gaddafi and not those who fought with him or who have worked with him for decades. It also requires the establishment of a political system that accommodates all current social forces. It cannot be achieved through support of growing extremism, fuelling divides, instilling a security vacuum and then preparing for military intervention. This instead begins a new front for an open conflict in which Libya and the Libyans would lose.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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