Creating new perspectives since 2009

Libya was present in Berlin, but the Libyans weren’t

January 20, 2020 at 3:07 pm

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres (R) pose for a photo within the Berlin Conference on Libyan peace in Berlin, Germany on January 19, 2020 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]

Things went downhill after Turkey signed two agreements with Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord, one related to the delineation of the maritime borders between the two countries in the Mediterranean, and the other for military cooperation between Turkey and the GNA in Tripoli. Both agreements were based on international law, and were followed by an agreement between Russia and Turkey on the Libyan issue.

Europe immediately collected its cards together to catch up with the issue because it feels excluded and that it will not receive a share of Libyan oil or gas. That is why, before it was too late, Germany’s Angela Merkel announced a conference to resolve the Libyan crisis, and invited countries concerned with Libyan affairs based on her own perspective. She did not invite Morocco, for example, a country close to Libya in North Africa, and which hosted the Skhirat Agreement, but she did invite Abu Dhabi, which plots against Libya and is located in West Asia. When Tunisia objected to not being invited, the German leader sent an invitation a few hours before the conference began, which the Tunisians declined. She also realised at the last minute that Libya is located in Africa, which would require the attendance of the African Union in order to complete the audience, not to play a role in the conference.

It is odd that Greece and Cyprus were angry about not being involved in determining Libya’s future, as it is an Arab African country being ravaged by hyenas, while the wolves rush to the table and the Libyan people stand and watch like orphans. No one cares about the Libyan people; the priority is Libyan oil. And no one looks at Libya as an independent country with a long history; it is viewed solely as a source of gas and oil.

They should have called the Berlin event the “Western guardianship of Libyan oil conference”, because that was always the intention. In public, the leaders taking part expressed grave concern for the future of Libya and their keenness to preserve its unity and territorial integrity. Behind the scenes, though, they were carving it up.

READ: The Berlin conference benefited everyone except the Libyans

Conspiracies once took place in secrecy in darkened rooms, but now they are out in the open and in front of the cameras for the whole world to see, recorded for posterity in the form of international conferences. Whereas spies and agents would once deny their actions and defend their patriotism, today they gloat about satisfying their masters. Treachery and betrayal are now seen as “common interests” and a simple difference of opinion.

Turkey came late to the Libyan crisis, as it did in Syria. Just as cities fell into the hands of the killer Bashar Al-Assad and his followers, cities in Libya with the exception of the capital Tripoli, have fallen into the hands of the mercenary militias led by the criminal Khalifa Haftar. He has received support from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the centres of the counter-revolutions, where all of the conspiracies and plots against the Arab nation are hatched. He also receives support from the US, Russia and Europe.

Turkey as a regional superpower rushed to sign agreements with Al-Sarraj’s government only when it sensed a threat to its national security and territorial waters in the Mediterranean. The UAE considered this to be a declaration of war by Turkey, and rushed to send Haftar money and weapons so that he could seize control of the capital before Turkish forces arrive in Libya.

However, the renegade has failed to enter the city, as he failed several times before, despite announcing every time that the takeover would be complete within hours. This is thanks to the heroic Tripoli rebels, who responded strongly and thwarted fierce attacks that only harmed defenceless civilians and students at the military college, which was bombed by UAE aircraft; students were killed and wounded.

The late arrival of Turkish forces enabled the criminal Haftar to seize Sirte through treason without any fighting. He thus secured a place for himself at the Berlin conference where he could negotiate from a position of strength, even though he is a war criminal wanted by the International Criminal Court. Merkel’s conference gave Haftar international legitimacy and enabled him to control the cities he seized by force of arms, killing their inhabitants.

It is unfortunate that this coup leader and commander of a mercenary militia — falsely called the Libyan National Army — was invited to Berlin and negotiated with heads of state. He appointed himself as a commander, promoted himself to the rank of Field Marshal, and decorated his uniform with dozens of medals and badges. However, he has no significant victories to his name. The only war he fought in was in Chad; he left defeated, humiliated and a prisoner, which forced Gaddafi to expel him from Libya only to be embraced by the US. He was saved for when he was needed, which Washington does with all of its agents. His time arrived after the glorious Libyan revolution on 15 February, 2011.

Everyone ganged up against the Libyan revolution, as they did with the other Arab Spring revolutions, in order to abort it. Libya also experienced the division and fragmentation faced by the other revolutions, which ultimately led to its end. We need to know what happened then in order to make sense of what is happening now.

After the rebels’ success in overthrowing Gaddafi’s rule and building state institutions from the ground up, the regional forces of evil were not happy. This prompted the centre of the counter-revolution in the UAE to get to work on thwarting attempts to rebuild Libya and even demolishing what had already been achieved. Social strife and incitement prevailed and the revolution was lost by the division of the spoils, allowing the deep Gaddafi state to sigh with relief and come out of hiding. They took advantage of the divisive fighting amongst the rebels and divided Libya into two, each part with its own government.

The eastern side of the country has Benghazi at its heart, the second largest city after Tripoli, and the birthplace of the revolution in the past. It was attacked by the defeated, then-retired General Haftar and his mercenaries, who seized Benghazi from the rebels. He took control of the city along with the others under his control. Hence, eastern Libya has its own government, which is supported by the House of Representatives in Tobruk. As for the rest of the country, including Tripoli, it has the headquarters of the Government of National Accord, which is recognised internationally under Fayez Al-Sarraj.

READ: EU outlines need for Libya-owned political process at Berlin Conference

Whether we are agents of our own misfortune in the Arab world intentionally or unintentionally, our enemies exploit us either way, often using agents and spies from our own people. They know what they are doing and what our enemies are plotting. It is treachery in its ugliest form.

Khalifa Haftar has betrayed his country and killed his people, and is a loyal servant of Libya’s enemies. They have thrown money at him and promised that he will rule Libya, which is his lifelong dream. When the Russians and Turks reached an agreement that called for a ceasefire in Libya and he was to go to Russia to sign the deal, he was ordered by the UAE not to do so.

Russia expressed its anger at Haftar’s behaviour. He is an ally of Moscow, which supports him, although in a press conference with Merkel, Putin denied that Russian forces are in Libya. This was an obvious and malicious attempt to evade responsibility for what his soldiers are doing there. The men work for the Wagner Group, insisted Putin, and neither represent the Russian state, nor are they funded by it.

The Russian President’s position makes us fearful of his treachery and weary of any agreement he has made. He previously signed a ceasefire agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regarding Idlib, but Putin and the murderer Assad’s regime did not honour it. They continue to bomb the city. Will the same scenario be repeated in Tripoli? Libya may have been present in Berlin, but neither its people nor their interests were.

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