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Libya is limping from chaos towards a state

July 6, 2021 at 9:21 am

Libya’s interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on June 24, 2021 [Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images]

The various Libyan factions with different regional, tribal and political affiliations have met for the twentieth time in Geneva but, unfortunately, it was announced on Saturday that they had not reached an agreement. The Geneva meeting was held after the Libyans had toured European, Russian and Maghreb capitals under the auspices of the UN, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Arab League, or the EU. Nevertheless, it suffered the same fate, and the factions returned either to Libya or to their places of exile; each to their own base, group, weapons, mercenaries, and sponsors to await the next armed clash or peace initiative.

This difficult path has seen the Libyans getting a temporary government and parliament assigned with one essential task; to make the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for 24 December take place successfully. This, it is hoped, will turn the page on these dark days forever.

The chaos in Libya lasted 43 years under the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, the eccentric army officer who emerged in September 1969 and became known as the Great Al-Fateh. Everything he deemed to be good became “great”. The authentic Libyan kingdom with its austere King Idris Al-Senussi became known as the Great Libyan Arab Republic.

READ: Libyan dialogue failed to agree on constitutional basis

I remember one day in the 1970s, we were around the then President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia when he greeted Gaddafi, whom he asked for the secret of using the term “Great”. The colonel replied with the spontaneity of a revolutionary, limited in historical and geographical knowledge, “Why is Britain called Great Britain and not Libya?” Bourguiba was surprised by this answer, and he waited until he had left the Carthage Palace before he turned to those of us around him and explained that Gaddafi is a young man who is enthusiastic about Abdel Nasser and does not know that the origin of Britain’s name is from the French province Brittany, and its kings wanted to distinguish it by calling it “Great” in their arrogance.

The important thing is that the current circumstances do not provide much hope after the rebel Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar challenged the new government by organising a military parade in Benghazi as if he intended to return Libya to the period before the Government of National Accord.

The Libyan oil and Haftar - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Libyan oil and Haftar – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Informed sources have revealed that unusual security arrangements are being discussed by the interim Government of National Unity for urgent approval. They said that the security alert announced by the Ministry of the Interior agencies based on a report submitted by the Head of Intelligence, Hussein Al-Aib, to Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, claims that members of Al-Qaeda or Daesh are targeting cities in western and southern Libya, specifically Tripoli and Al-Zawiya.

A security source close to the government told the media that the intelligence letter to Dbeibeh contained a “very serious” warning about terrorist attacks by sleeper cells. Arrangements are being made by the government to verify the details and thwart the attacks. Lax security in the Libyan capital and other cities is apparently the motivation for the terrorist groups to target them. Dbeibeh has been asked to raise security alert levels, and intensive deployments of security forces, including the army, have been observed around state institutions and main routes into and out of Tripoli.

READ: Haftar uncovers details of army withdrawal from Tripoli

The worrying obstacle that continues to beset the interim political agreement in Libya is the issue of appointing a defence minister, because Libya’s biggest dilemma, frankly, is the ongoing rebellion against the law of the land by the rogue Haftar. He is still employed by foreign governments, unfortunately, to invest in the Libyan chaos for various reasons. Whatever the latter might be, they converge on prolonging violence within Libya and sowing the seeds of instability in the region. These are foreign plots targeting Algeria and its security; Tunisia and its democratic transition; and Turkey and its effective role in supporting Libyan legitimacy and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

All hopes now rest on the patriotism of the Libyan people; their support for the unity of their country; their desire for peace and security; and the elimination of the terrorist remnants and their rebellion. In the meantime, Libya is limping from chaos towards a state.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Sharq on 5 July 2021

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