Op-Ed: Foreign military intervention in Libya already well under way

Posted Feb 26, 2016 by Ken Hanly
Many nations have indicated that they are wanting to intervene militarily in Libya to fight against the Islamic State. However, most are waiting for the formation of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord(GNA) to be up and running first.
Libyans stand next to a crater and debris at the site of a jihadist training camp  targeted in a US ...
Libyans stand next to a crater and debris at the site of a jihadist training camp, targeted in a US air strike, near the Libyan city of Sabratha
Mahmud Turkia, AFP
Before the term of the GNA starts it must first receive a vote of confidence from the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) based in Tobruk. However so far there has been no vote. The last meeting on Tuesday the 23rd did not hold a vote although afterward 100 members of the HoR issued a statement supporting the GNA. A meeting is supposed to be held next week perhaps in the desert city of Al-Jufra. Even if the GNA does finally get a vote of confidence in the HoR, there is no guarantee that it can move to Tripoli where the LPA and Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, say should be its location. The rival government the General National Congress(GNA) and its associated militia both oppose the GNA. As a result, there are signs that more military action is taking place without any request from the GNA or any other government to legitimize the military action. The US, the UK, and France are among the nations that are already militarily involved in Libya.
The UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) has already for some time been flying surveillance sorties over Libya. There are some reports of UK Special Forces being in LIbya as well. UK foreign office minister, Tobias Ellwood, refused to comment on British special forces operations but did admit that air surveillance missions were taking place,
The US has announced that it plans a third front against the Islamic State in Libya but is awaiting an invitation to intervene once the GNA is up and running. Meanwhile, however, there are US Special Forces in Libya looking for potential allies. The US has already carried out a devastating attack on an Islamic State site in the western city of Sabratha, killing more than 40. Two Serb diplomats were also killed but the US claims that they were not killed as a result of the US bombing. Italy has announced that it will allow US armed drones to take off from a US base in Italy.
One anonymous western diplomat told the Daily Mail: "We have always made clear the intention of providing assistance in fighting Daesh. We need to take action where we can, that requires forces on the ground that we can help and train. Patience is very short with the House of Representatives."
There are reports that French Special Forces as well as intelligence commandos are engaged in covert operations along with special forces from both the UK and the US.
French special forces and commandos are also said to be involved in supporting the commander in chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, in his attempts to regain control of all of Benghazi. However, some sources have denied that this is happening. However, no doubt whatever is happening in terms of foreign military intervention is mostly classified and meant to be secret in the first place. What seems to be evident is that Haftar has in fact approved foreign special forces presence, which appears to be mostly if not entirely in the eastern part of the country under the control of the HoR government and the LNA. Haftar is ensuring he has good relations with foreign militaries. This will help ensure that he keeps his job in spite of the fact that once the GNA gets a vote of confidence, the Presidency Council of the GNA is to take over the role of commander in chief of the LNA according to the terms of the Libya Political Agreement (LPA).