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article imageOp-Ed: Army chief Haftar pledges loyalty to Libyan HoR if it rejects LPA

By Ken Hanly     Oct 20, 2015 in Politics
Tobruk - CIA-Linked General Khalifa Haftar pledged his loyalty to the internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) government but only if they reject the Libya Political Agreement(LPA) brokered by UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon.
Haftar claims the LPA favours those who back terrorism in Libya. Haftar said his hands would not be tied "if the HoR goes too far, under Western dictation and foreign pressure on its president and other members and yields to form a government which calls itself the Accord, but in fact is biased toward the supporters of terrorism in Libya.” The unity government to be formed under the LPA is called the Government of National Accord(GNA).
Haftar said of the Libyan army: “We will not rest until the security of our injured country is restored.” His Operation Dignity, which he started a year ago in May, is intended not just to defeat radical Islamists such as the Islamic State, but the militia of the rival General National Congress government as well, whom he calls Islamist terrorists. Haftar boasted that Russia and "other friendly states" have promised him "colloboration against terrorism" and help in forming a national army capable of dealing with challenges and threats faced by Libya. The UN envoy, Leon, keeps emphasizing that there is only a political solution to the conflict, not a military one. Haftar not only thinks otherwise but has acted otherwise as well. The UN has stood by for over a year while he has constantly ignored UN warnings and laughed off EU threats to sanction him. The UN, meanwhile, is carrying on in some parallel universe that somehow manages to ignore the reality that there is no way that the HoR can pass the LPA as it is.There would need to be an understanding that Haftar will remain as the commander of the Libyan Army. This is incompatible with the LPA as it is written and interpreted by Leon and the GNC. The other day, the pro-HoR Libya Herald reported:
Following a meeting this evening with delegates from eastern tribes, notably the Obeida tribe, HoR members said that they were prepared to endorse the proposed UN-brokered agreement. However any attempt to remove Hafter was a red line for them
The LPA gives the function of commander-in-chief of the armed forces to senior members of the GNA. This is one of the reasons that Haftar rejects it. There is no report yet as to what happened at today's meeting when the HoR was supposed to approve Leon's draft. The rival GNC has not yet approved or rejected the draft.either.
The Political Committee of the GNC has criticized the draft as well as Leon's conduct and accused Leon of double-dealing during the development of the draft. They also noted that Leon claimed he could not further amend the draft to consider more of GNC concerns, while amending it on his own. The group also claimed Leon had favoured the HoR over them. In the end they said they were committed to the dialogue but claimed Leon's actions could lead to rejection of the draft. Neither side wants to be first to reject the draft, but neither side appears willing to accept it without certain guarantees that some of their demands will be met.
The international community and the UN appears to believe that the way to deal with this reality is to threaten any Libyans who object to the LPA with sanctions and hold international meetings to plan ways to help out the new Libyan Government of National Accord: Representatives of 40 countries, UN Agencies, and international bodies, as well as a number of independent Libyan experts, met in London on 19 October at a meeting co-hosted by the UK and UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to agree the most effective way to support a new Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA).
Neither of the two rival governments in Libya have yet agreed to the GNA. Neither of the two rival armed forces have agreed to the GNA. Perhaps, it might be a good idea to concentrate on creating the conditions necessary for there to be a GNA, before elaborating plans as to how to help a government that does not exist. While the UN has a news report on this meeting, there is no reporting on the progress of the dialogue itself.
The two parliaments have ignored the UN deadline. The HoR has unilaterally extended its mandate. Just how is the GNA supposed to be created and how can it take over from the existing rival governments in these conditions? The appended video shows Leon on September 22 announcing everything is now finished and the two rival governments only need to approve or reject the draft. This all had to be done and the GNA up and running by October 20. Instead, there is a huge meeting with representatives from over 40 countries discussing how best to help a non-existent government.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about House of Represenatives Libya, Libya General National Congress, Bernardino Leon
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