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article imageOp-Ed: Libya Political Agreement supported by U.N. Security Council

By Ken Hanly     Dec 13, 2015 in Politics
Rome - After a meeting in Tunis with select representatives of the Libya dialogue members, one member from each of the parliaments announced that the latest draft Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) had a target date of December 16 to be signed.
The Libya dialogue was started over a year ago now, with the UN Special Envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon , heading the process. There were numerous groups in the dialogue and several parallel dialogues but the main one was intended to forge a deal between the two rival governments. The internationally-recognized government is in Tobruk in the east the House of Representatives (HoR). The rival government is in the west in Tripoli — the General National Congress (GNC). The final deal or Libya Political Agreement (LPA) would also involve the formation of a Government of National Accord (GNA). Towards the end of his tenure as head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, Leon presented the two parliaments with a final draft of an LPA with names of senior members of the GNA. In spite of several deadlines neither parliament ever voted on this LPA.
When the new head of the dialogue, Martin Kobler, took over from Leon on November 17, he carried on where Leon left off, attempting to get both parliaments to sign the same LPA. He was unsuccessful, just like Leon. Both parliaments demanded changes to the LPA and officials blocked a vote on the LPA. The most recent attempt at a vote in the HoR resulted in a fight and subsequent suspension of the session. In response, to this Kobler called together a group of dialogue members and held a meeting in Tunis. As a result of that meeting there was a declaration by one member of the HoR and another of the GNC that there was agreement to approve the LPA plan and that the target for signing was December 16. Kobler hailed this as a breakthrough. As I explain in a recent DJ article it is in fact an end run around the two parliaments. The new GNA is a prerequisite for possible foreign military intervention in Libya. There is a rising chorus of warnings of the necessity to confront the Islamic State in Libya. UK is said to be considering bombing ISIS in Libya as well as Syria. Nowhere, in the most recent news release by Kobler is there any mention of the necessity for the two parliaments to pass the LPA. Quite the opposite, he explains that he called the Tunis dialogue meeting because he could not get the LPA passed through either parliament.
Kobler was able to get full support from the UN Security Council for his plan to in effect impose the LPA on Libya by having selected members of the dialogue and from the GNC and HoR approve the plan. Those who object to this process are threatened with sanctions: The Security Council welcomed the Dec. 16 target date and expressed “grave concern” at the expansion of Islamic State extremists and their threat to Libya and the region. Council members “stressed that a unity government must be formed swiftly to counter this threat” and they again threatened sanctions against those impeding the restoration of peace and stability. It is the UN demand to pass the LPA in the face of refusal of either parliament to do so that is creating further divisions and instability in Libya. The meeting today in Rome on Libya will be co-chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry and include Foreign Ministry representatives from Tunisia, the UAE, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt as well as delegates from the EU. Martin Kobler will be there to promote his plan.
A few voices have voiced a note of caution and warnings that the whole plan may be premature: Intense diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Libya are of course welcome, but there are risks associated with a precipitous rush to anoint a government without consolidating domestic support or addressing urgent security concerns. Ending negotiations will strengthen hardliners; granting recognition to a government that has insufficient backing will condemn it to irrelevance. One might add that at present the GNA will not have the support of either rival government or of the main armed forces associated with either.
The GNC has condemned the whole Tunis meeting and said quite clearly that their member who announced the agreement was not authorized to be there. The HoR has said nothing one way or the other but the president of the HoR supports not the LPA, but the alternative Libya-Libya plan as does the president of the GNC. The Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room, a militia group associated with the GNC president and one of the armed forces of the GNC, warned any members of the GNC against signing the LPA. They denounced the selection of Saleh Al-Makhzoum by Kobler to represent the GNC when Abdul-Sadeq was the appointed head of the GNC negotiating committee. The GNC president Nuri Abu-Sahmain wrote to co-chair of the Rome Conference Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni informing him that only First Deputy President Awad Abdul-Sadeq is authorized by the GNC to attend the meeting The UN will pay no attention and the cheerleading for the LPA will go on as planned.
The international community used a UN resolution establishing a no-fly zone, designed to protect the people supposedly, to actually produce regime change through foreign intervention to enable the rebels to overthrow the Gadaffi regime. Now the international community is using the UN LPA to create regime change also by simply ignoring the two rival governments in Libya and supplanting them by the UN-brokered GNA. Of course this is all justified since it is designed to protect Libya from the threat of the Islamic State and other extremist groups and restore peace and stability. Application of force to serve foreign interests in Libya always requires a fig leaf of moralizing rhetoric. For some time there has been no statement on what is happening from the HoR or Khalifa Haftar. Perhaps, the UN is working on some scheme to have him stay on as head of the Libyan National Army even though the LPA would relieve him of that position.
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 DigitalJournal.com
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