Op-Ed: Algeria becoming more involved in attempts to solve Libyan crisis

Posted Dec 19, 2016 by Ken Hanly
Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) of the eastern-based House of Representatives (HoR), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar visited Algeria at the invitation of the Algerian government.
Speaker of Libya's internationally-recognized parliament Aguila Saleh has been placed on the US...
Speaker of Libya's internationally-recognized parliament Aguila Saleh has been placed on the US sanctions blacklist
Mohamed El-Shahed, AFP/File
The visit comes after the President of the HoR government Ageela Saleh had just visited Algiers the capital for talks with the Abdelkader Messahel, the minister of Maghreb, African and Arab affairs. Eastern representatives including Saleh and Haftar have had recent talks in Cairo in Egypt and even in Moscow. Algiers now appears to be anxious to be involved. Foreign officials appear anxious to talk to Saleh even though he is under sanctions by the U.S. and the EU for blocking progress of the implementation of the Libya Political Agreement (LPA).
Haftar was accompanied by the head of the air force Saqr Geroushi. Both Haftar and Geroushi were on a list of people to be sanctioned by the EU back in July of 2015 but the sanctions never came about but no explanation was given that I have ever seen. Haftar met not only with Messahel but also with the Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellai.
The invitations are part of a new initiative by Algeria to be more active in trying to find a solution to the Libyan crisis. No doubt it also wants to increase its influence rather than have Egypt become the strongest influence on the development of events in Libya. Many analysts believe that the LPA has failed and new ways must be found to solve the crisis based on a new Libya-Libya dialogue independent of foreign intervention of the sort involved in creating the LPA and the associated Government of National Accord(GNA). As part of a plan to set up such a dialogue, Algeria is having talks with numerous Libyan stakeholders associated not only with the HoR but with the rival UN-brokered GNA as well.A release by the Algerian state press service said after the talks with Saleh: “The importance of an inclusive inter-Libyan dialogue which leads to a solution to the crisis and to national reconciliation was emphasized.”
Until recently, the UN envoy to Libya Martin Kobler has insisted that the time for dialogue is over and that the existing draft of the LPA is final and not to be amended. As the Libya Observer noted: In January of this year, Martin Kobler indicated that the Libyan political agreement, signed on December 2015, is final and no way open to new amendments. Three months later, he rejected the five proposed amendments to the Libyan political agreement by Grand Mufti Sadiq Al-Gharyani in order to recognize it and support the Presidency Council. Recently however Kobler has taken quite a different tack: All outstanding questions, including the supreme commandership and the chain of command of the Libyan army, can be addressed by the process incorporated within the Libyan Political Agreement. The Agreement incorporated a mechanism for change – its articles are not set in stone. Kobler does not say what the mechanism for change is within the LPA. It can be amended but only after it is passed as I understand it. However, the terms of the agreement have never stopped Kobler from forging ahead with whatever he wants to do.
The GNA was denied a vote of confidence as required by the LPA back on August 22. There has been no new cabinet suggested, and no meeting scheduled to have another vote. We should soon discover what new plan Kobler has to get around the terms of the agreement.