Internal conflicts and international movements.. Signs of new crisis in Libya

The military parade organized by the Libyan army at the base “Beninah in Benghazi” has drawn the features of the conflict in Libya. The parade coincided with the visit of  Mohamed Al-Menfi; the President of the Presidency Council, to Tunisia. The parade has also been held without “Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh”, the Prime Minister because he has been to Algeria. While “Aguila Saleh Issa”, the Speaker of Parliament, has apologized for his absence due to the meeting with “Jan Kubiš”, the UN envoy.

Before the military parade, the Libyan Presidential Council, in its capacity as the commander-in-chief of the army has warned in a statement that “unilateral actions could be exploited by other parties which could lead to break out the conflict again.”

Unilateral Actions

Khalifa Haftar, Field Marshal, The Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army, had invited Muhammad al-Menfi, head of the Presidential Council, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, head of the national unity government, and Aguila Saleh Issa, Counselor, head of the Libyan Parliament, to attend the military parade that was held on Saturday on the occasion of Celebrating the seventh anniversary of the Dignity Revolution.

“The council has repeatedly stressed to avoid any unilateral actions of a military nature made from any party including maneuvers, field movements, press statements from the military, and military parades that may lead to break out the war again,” says Abdullah Al-Lafi, the Vice President of the Presidential Council for the Tripoli region, in a separate statement issued from Ankara. He has also drawn attention that “if any party acted unilaterally, it would give justification to other parties for similar actions, which may lead to obstruct the political process and threaten security and peace.

In addition, the media has reported, “A message via WhatsApp has reached the ministers affiliated with the eastern region and those close to the army. The message is inviting them not to attend the parade to avoid any unpredictable reaction from the militias of the western region which has threatened the authorities in the capital, Tripoli, that they would punish everyone who supports the army by attending its parade in Benghazi.

“The world has rushed to find a peaceful solution in Libya after the army forces were about to liberate the capital, Tripoli,” says Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar the Commander-in-Chief of the National Army during the military parade. He calls, explicitly, for “dissolving armed groups in Tripoli and moving towards direct popular elections without stalling.”

Haftar has considered that “all the international conferences that were held to adopt the peaceful path, specifically Berlin Conference, were nothing but the result of the correct decision to direct our forces towards Tripoli.” He notes that “we would not hesitate to fight battles to impose peace by force, if it were obstructed by the consent peace settlement, and if so: forewarned is forearmed.”

Ahmed Al-Mesmari, Spokesman for the Army General Command, Major General, says in response to the critics of the parade that “the parade is not intended to threaten anyone, but rather it is a show of peace and loyalty to the martyrs, the wounded, and everyone who has supported the war project against terrorism and crime.”

He has also pointed out “the Libyans and the General Command are in an unfinished and continuous war against terrorism and crime, which is an international war against terrorism in several countries, not just Libya.” For this, he has demonstrated that “the army is still chasing sleeper cells, and it has reports from internal security, military intelligence and many relevant agencies to the extent that the entire Libyan territory under the watchful eye of the armed forces.”

Cold war ..

The statement of the Presidential Council about the military parade organized by the Libyan army has revealed the depth of the contention and conflict that is still prevailing the political scene. This might be a dangerous sign that could prompt the scenario of the Al-Sarraj government again, and perhaps, make the political scene turn into a field in which the cold war takes place. These political attitudes are confirmed by the nature of recent moves even before Berlin Conference 2.

Political observers have confirmed that the statement did not contain the signatures of the three members, which indicates that a real contention is existed among the members of the Presidency Council. They have also explained that “this contention may affect holding the elections on the specified date at the end of this year, according to the sovereign decision issued by the House of Representatives in 2014. The decision stipulates that the elections must be held directly through the general vote of the people.”

“The statement expresses a contention among the members of the Presidential Council,” Abdel Qader Hawili, Member of the Council, says in the Forum for Political Dialogue. He adds “the division of the military establishment and its non-compliance to the commander-in-chief, which is the Presidency Council, affect holding the elections on time.” Hawili implies that “what is happening in eastern Libya does not bode well.

On the other hand, “Ramzi Al-Rumaih,” advisor to the Libyan Organization for National Security Studies, has considered that “the statement is illegal, unconstitutional and opens the way for an impersonation, related to the capacity of commander-in-chief, which Libya has suffered from over the past 7 years.” Al-Rumaih emphasizes “The commander-in-chief capacity belongs to the Presidential Council as a whole, and no single member has the right to speak on behalf of the Commander-in-chief of the Libyan Army.

Al-Rumaih has also pointed out that “Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan Army, according to the consensus issued by the House of Representatives, Law No. 12. As well for Major General Al-Nazuri who was assigned by Parliament to lead the army staff.  The same Parliament which has given confidence to the current government.”

It is noteworthy that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum was held on the 26th and 27th of May in order to discuss the constitutional basis for the election. But it did not reach a consensus on it due to the disagreements that occurred within the forum. in addition to proposals such as choosing the president through Parliament and banning the candidacy of security and army personnel, some were talking about a referendum on the draft constitution first. The matters that were opposed by many members of the forum.

Shuttle movements..

While observers expect the scheduled date for the presidential and parliamentary elections to be delayed due to the current political climate, international efforts continue to prepare for the Berlin 2 conference, which will be held on the twenty-third of next June. Many countries will be participated in a comprehensive process to achieve the political, security and economic benefit of all Libyans and their partners.

Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, The Libyan Prime Minister, is heading to Paris on Monday, on a two-day official working visit to discuss many files between the two countries. Dbeibeh will discuss military, security and economic cooperation. He will be accompanied by seven ministers from his government, including the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, economy, transportation, oil and health.

Given that Algeria has not interfered in Libya’s problems over the past ten years, Dbeibeh during his visit to Algeria yesterday, Sunday, asked the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to participate in the national reconciliation.

The Libyan delegation discussed with Algerian authorities to raise the level of financial cooperation between the two countries which Dbeibeh described as weak. While Algeria promised to overcome the remaining obstacles to raise it to about three billion dollars annually.

Richard Norland, the US ambassador to Libya, has also held talks with Muhammad Al-Menfi, head of the Libyan Presidency Council. According to the US embassy statement, they have dealt with unifying the military, security and other institutions.

The statement has pointed out that “the talks that took place in Tunisia in conjunction with the visit of Al-Menfi, have also touched the file of Libyan reconciliation, the expulsion of foreign fighters from Libya and the elections scheduled for next December; in addition, improving security conditions in the south to better deal with issues such as human trafficking and the presence of mercenaries.”

In turn, Libyan Presidential Council announced yesterday, Sunday, the launch of national reconciliation forums, which start on Monday and last for a month. The citizens, during these forums, will be presenting their views on structuring the Reconciliation Commission and achieving the reconciliation process. Libyans of all sects and social components are scheduled to meet.

It is worth mentioning that, on April 6, the Presidency Council announced the establishment of a High Commission for National Reconciliation to resolve disputes between Libyans. The commission includes legal experts, reconciliation members and academics from all regions of Libya.

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