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Libya talks in Morocco deemed to fail

May 25, 2023 at 8:00 pm

A Saudi delegation arrives in Libya and meets with officials from the Government of National Unity on 14 May 2023 [Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Facebook]

Early this week, the 6+6 committee, formed jointly by Libya’s House of Representative based in the eastern city of Benghazi and the High Council of the State based in Tripoli, started a series of meetings in the Moroccan city of Bouznika to draft electoral laws paving the way for presidential and parliamentarian laws slated for the end of this year.

After a long time of disagreement, the two sides held two meetings – one in April and the other in May – in Libya. During the last meeting, there was “a convergence of views among the members of the committee”, said the official spokesman of the House of Representatives, Abdullah Blihaq, adding that a “working mechanism was also agreed upon”.

On Tuesday, the 6+6 committee announced that the two sides reached a full consensus regarding the election of the head of state and members of the House of Representatives, as well as how to involve the political parties in the elections through party lists or individual nominations.

The committee said in a press conference held at the end of the second day’s meeting, Tuesday, stating that was able to achieve progress in determining and distributing seats in the House of Representatives and Senate according to electoral districts, procedures for forming and approving candidate lists, representation of women, control of electoral crimes, procedures for electoral appeals and regulating the right of all candidates to have equal access to government and private media platforms.

READ: Libya body agrees on election of head of state, govt representatives

Meanwhile, the committee stressed that its members and their colleagues in the House of Representatives and the High Council of the State are keen to complete the preparations of various electoral draft laws during the ongoing meetings in order to achieve a consensual and comprehensive legislative framework for the elections in the war-torn country.

Reaching these important outcomes in a very short time of discussion was an indication of positive progress towards turning the black page of disintegration and civil war that tore the country into pieces. I hope that the discussions between the two sides sitting in Bouznika continue in such a positive manner until the end, and the Libyans will be able to choose their president and MPs democratically and freely.

However, reading the very short history of the political arena in the African country, I do not think that the situation is as easy as anyone is seeing from the outside. The problem in Libya is that there are no problems among the Libyans. The problem is that external interference in the Libyan affairs is the reason for all of the fragmentation and chronic disagreements among the Libyans.

The Libyans revolted against their dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011 and they could successfully oust him and his regime with the assistance of the NATO after a bloody conflict. Then, through a fairly tough political process, the Sunni Muslim majority country democratically and freely elected in 2012 its parliament – known as the General National Congress (GNC). It was overwhelmed by Sunni Islamists – the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party and its allies.

The minor factions and alliances, mostly backed by foreign governments, refused to take part in a government led by the Islamists. They started to take to the streets, erupted chaos and launched smear campaigns against the GNC, which was tasked to prepare the Constitution and prepare for the elections in 18 months.

External powers stuck their noses into a hidden war against the Islamists. Disinformation about Sharia Law and controversial issues floated on the surface just to stain the Islamists. The US sent its Daesh and other terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to spread chaos in the country. No need here to prove that Daesh and the other fanatic Islamists are US agents.

READ: How the man who wants to be president of Libya committed political suicide

Following the appearance of Daesh in Libya, the US considered the North African country the third front for ISIS, and this served as justification for continued intervention. “The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and British Secret Intelligence (MI6) operatives, too, played a critical role in helping the insurgents,” Insight Turkey has reported.

It added: “Arming insurgents in the conflict against loyalist forces not only intensified the first civil war, but it also dissuaded the insurgents from accepting a negotiated agreement, as was encouraged by the African Union and countries, such as China, Russia and others, which had opposed NATO’s military intervention.”

France acted secretly for some time in Libya. In 2016, French support for Haftar, who was a CIA agent, was disclosed when three of its special operations soldiers were killed in the country.

Paul Tylor wrote to the Politico: “France ostensibly supports the UN-mediated peace process … It has never officially acknowledged providing weaponry, training, intelligence and Special Forces assistance to Haftar. The death of three undercover French soldiers in a helicopter accident in Libya in 2016 provided a rare recognition of its secret presence in operations against Islamist fighters at the time.”

Arab countries, including the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia also played a dirty role in the devastation of the Libyan political process led by the Islamists. They are being used by the Western colonial powers. The extremist Islamists of the US attacked the moderates of the GNC, erupting violent clashes. Havoc, blood and ruins spread all over the country.

In such an atmosphere, the GNC could not complete the Constitution or draft the electoral laws. At the same time, the Western-backed propaganda, which blamed the Islamists and the GNC for the instability and bloodshed, put much weight towards holding elections despite the unpreparedness of the Libyans. Under much pressure, the GNC set a date for the elections and with a turnout of only 18 per cent, a new parliament was elected.

However, most of the Libyan rebel groups immediately recognised it was a conspiracy to take them off the table and regain the figures of the Gadhafi regime. At the same time, Haftar attempted to forcefully claim power through two failed coup attempts. So the rebels stormed the headquarters of the new parliament, known as the House of Representatives, in Tripoli and asked the GNC to reclaim power.

Later on, through a legal process, the Supreme Court invalidated the House of Representatives and the country plunged into an open-ended political chaos and became with two heads – none of them was legitimate. That was the condition the US and the Western colonisers wanted. “The lack of a legitimate government means that there is no one to do things like guide and regulate the Central Bank or manage Libya’s oil funds and revenues abroad. This makes international intervention necessary and all the more likely,” the Foreign Policy said.

READ: Turkiye economist calls for investments in Libya

The Libyans do not accept any external assistance without any regulations because they are aware of notorious previous examples where external interference led to partitioning countries like what happened with the international interventions in Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Kurdistan, Yugoslavia, etc. … So the Tripoli-based government, which was later on formed and recognised by the UN and international community, requested Turkish support to stop the Haftar-led aggressions.

Thus, the Arab League stepped in to defend its masters in the West and announced the Cairo Declaration which called for all external powers to leave Libya. Unfortunately, that was aimed at Turkiye, the only country which entered Libya legally, not at Haftar’s supporters.

External powers, mainly the US, France, UK, Germany and Russia, along with their proxies, including Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have to lift their hands off Libya and the Libyans and let them, alone, decide their future. Only this way, their talks will succeed; otherwise, the different parties will not come together as each one of them is playing for an external power. Even if the 6+6 committee concluded its meetings with brilliant outcomes, nothing will materialise without ending the external interference.

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