Libya got bogged down in a major political crisis after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Between armed clashes and East-West divisions, the inter-Libyan conflict seemed to drag on, before a beginning of a way out of the crisis began. to draw.
After several rounds of negotiations, notably in Morocco in Skhirat and Bouznika, a new scenario emerged, a government was put in place, and a date for the presidential and parliamentary elections was set for December 24.
Differences have erupted again against a backdrop of disagreements between a power in the East embodied by Parliament and Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and another in the West around the Dbeibah government and the High Council of State. A postponement of the election was finally imposed, synonymous with a return to square one.
Believing that the current interim government is at the end of its mandate, the Parliament sitting in Tobruk organized a vote and appointed the former Minister of the Interior, Fathi Bachagha as the new head of government, replacing Abdelhamid Dbeibah.
The latter not hearing it that way, said from his HQ in Tripoli that he “would only cede power to a government that emerged from the ballot box”.
“I would not accept any new transition phase or parallel authority,” he warned in a televised address, saying his caretaker government would hand over power only to “an elected government”.
Ignoring all these declarations, the new “strong man”, a former fighter pilot, announced on his arrival in Tripoli from Tobruk, his intention “to open a new chapter”, by “reaching out to all “.
He even “thanked Mr. Dbeibah for the work done during this difficult period”. Bachagha, strong with the support of Haftar’s army, has twelve days to submit a government to Parliament.
Result of the races, Libya finds itself since last Thursday with a two-headed executive. Each camp sticks to its positions, thus reproducing the pattern of the 2014/2016 period in the midst of civil war, and in so doing mortgaging years of talks and efforts to put an end to the interminable post-Gaddafi transition.
A stakeholder in the management of this conflict, the UN quickly took a stand, reiterating its support for Abdelhamid Dbeibah as Prime Minister.
Asked about the question, the spokesperson for the Organization, Stéphane Dujarric, had this brief answer: “Yes, to make it short, yes”.
Tajeddine El Husseini, expert in international relations, gives us his reading of this new twist in the Libyan file.
“So far, there has been no official Moroccan reaction, but it cannot deviate from the line that the Kingdom has always adopted in this matter”, begins by explaining to us the academic, recalling that “from the start , Morocco had the same position, namely that the problems of the Libyans must be discussed and resolved by the Libyans themselves, without any foreign interference”.
“The Kingdom has not changed its position according to the evolution of the situation on the ground. It has no agenda other than that of Libya, no interest other than for Libya, no proposal outside of what was agreed to by the Libyans,” the head of Moroccan diplomacy, Nasser Bourita.
Concerning the current situation, Tajeddine El Husseini underlines that “today what we can note is that for the first time a consensus has been found between the parliament and the High Council of State, and that in itself is a good thing”.
Except that, he continues, “the international community does not seem to appreciate, and affirms, like the UN, that it will continue to deal with the government in place, that of Abdelhamid Dbeibah “.
In my opinion, believes the expert, “the United Nations organization had to take into consideration the inter-Libyan consensuses, which are rare and difficult to achieve, and to preserve its neutrality in this conflict, without supporting one party at the expense of the other”.
Asked if this situation can last, the expert argues that “a two-headed government in Libya that would be sustainable remains the most pessimistic scenario. But in my opinion, the Libyans have now reached a certain level of wisdom in the management of their affairs, and know full well that any return to the politics of clans, axes of influence, or even submission to foreign directives, will not only lead to clashes and disagreements at the internal level”.
“Now that the parliament and the Council of State adopt the same position, which was very difficult to achieve, things could move forward. But it is a question at this stage of convincing the international community, in particular the UN, of this position”, he believes.
However, argues Tajeddine El Husseini, “another actor remains key in this story, namely Abdelhamid Dbeibah, who must be aware of the balance of forces on the Libyan scene, and over which he has no influence and that he does not have the means to shake”.
To conclude: “Ultimately the Libyan parties are under an obligation to find a way out, and to agree on the question of the elections, which can be resolved through dialogue, consultation and concession, and which in fact constitutes the main bone of contention.
The UN is busy
It is precisely on this question of the elections that Stephanie Williams, Special Adviser for Libya, insisted during her meetings this Sunday, February 13 with the two protagonists, whom she tried to convince to do everything to preserve unity. and the stability of Libya.
“Today I visited the Prime Minister of the GNU, Mr. Abdulhameed Dbeiba, to discuss recent developments and the votes of the House of Representatives to pass a constitutional amendment and appoint a new Prime Minister. We reviewed the ongoing process and I reiterated the importance for all actors and institutions to work within the political framework and, above all, to preserve calm on the ground in the interests of unity and the stability of Libya. UN remains committed to raising the voices of the 2.8 million Libyans who have registered to vote“, she said.
“I also met today with the Prime Minister-designate, Mr. Fathi Bashagha. I stressed the need to move forward in an inclusive, transparent and consensual manner, and to maintain stability in Tripoli and throughout the country“Williams tweeted again.