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article imageOp-Ed: Libya's new parliament asks for UN intervention

By Ken Hanly     Aug 15, 2014 in World
Tobruk - Meeting in the eastern city of Tobruk, Libya's new parliament passed a motion by 111 out of the 124 members present to ask the UN Security Council for help. The legislature is of 200 seats.
Some members are boycotting the sessions and some seats have not yet been filled. The outgoing parliament agreed to move the parliament to Benghazi and a meeting was slated for August 4th but Benghazi has been taken over by Islamist militias who have driven out CIA-linked General Haftar and his allies who had controlled the city before that. There is also militia violence in the capital Tripoli and so the parliament decided to meet in the far eastern city of Tobruk.
MP Abu Biira quoted from the decree: "The international community must intervene immediately to ensure that civilians are protected." This is the same sort of language that was used to justify the resolution that led to a no-fly zone and attacks upon Gadaffi's forces that eventually led to his overthrow. What may be planned is a similar intervention to attack Islamist militias. However, it is not clear yet what sort of help the parliament is seeking. A new special envoy to Libya has just been named by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Spanish diplomat Bernardino Leon will replace the present envoy Tarek Mitri on the first of September. A United Nations delegation has been seeking a ceasefire between rival Zintan miitias allied with Haftar and Misrata militias allied with Islamists.
The general UN mission has been closed down as well as many embassies including that of the US because of the continuing violence. Many countries have been evacuating their nationals often foreign workers.
The parliament has also passed a resolution to disband militias. As with resolutions passed by the earlier parliament it is not clear how the resolution can be enforced since the militias are more powerful than the regular armed forces or police. The rival Misrata and Zintan militias continued their battle for control of the Tripoli international airport even though it is closed and has been ruined by earlier conflict. Seventeen people were reported killed on Wednesday August 13 and 31 more injured. One article notes that the security situation is degrading quickly and that Libya may become a failed state.
It is not clear how the militia can be disbanded as some of them provide security within the country. The Zintan brigades for example, at one and the same time attacked and burned the previous parliament and kidnapped Islamic legislators and officials yet are charged with providing security at the international airport. They have obvious links within the government as do the Misrata militia. It is not at all clear how the UN will respond to the parliamentary motion. The new parliament is said to be dominated by anti-Islamists although every candidate ran as an independent.
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
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