Before the elections scheduled for the end of this year, the Libyan file is going through many developments that are not only at the internal level, but also at the external level, specifically the ones coming from the United States. These developments are represented by the US House of Representatives adopting Libya Stabilization Act, which aims to punish foreign parties that interfere in Libyan affairs, according to data released by the press office of the US House of Representatives.
The press office data also reveals that there is almost a consensus in the House of Representatives on the need to take punitive steps against anyone who interferes adversely in Libyan affairs. The data shows that the aforementioned amended act has received the approval of 386 deputies against 35 opposed.
All roads lead to Ankara
Amr Abdel-Ati, a researcher in Middle East and North Africa affairs, comments on the American decision by emphasizing that it targets the Turkish role in Libya, especially since Turkey is the country most involved in the Libyan war through Ankara’s regular soldiers and foreign militias that are fighting on Libyan territory. Abdel-Ati also points out that the act also targets the Russian side, but to a lesser extent, which spreads in some Libyan oil areas through the Russian Wagner militia.
“The aforementioned act reflects American seriousness in going into a confrontation with the Turks in order to limit their influence in Libya, especially when considering the almost consensus of Libyan, regional and international countries that Turkey has played a very negative role that contributed to limiting Libya’s stability during the Government of National Accord’s presence, which was affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Abdel-Ati tells. He notes that Turkey has not shown any intention to withdraw its forces and affiliated militias from Libya so far.
Abdel-Ati also indicates that reports issued by Syrian human rights organizations confirm that the Turkish army continues to recruit fighters from northern Syria and send them to Libya, even though a new Libyan national unity government has been formed while the country is preparing to contest elections. The researcher opines that Hulusi Akar’s actions, Turkish Defense Minister, and his repeated unannounced visit to the areas of deploying Turkish forces raise many question marks about the credibility of Turkish commitments in Libya.
In addition, Abdel-Ati describes the American decision as the most serious international resolution for Libya as it includes direct punitive measures. He considers that the Turkish government has erred evaluating the political changes in the region and the world in general, and that it was betting on Donald Trump to be the President for a second term, given that he was more lenient dealing with Turkey than his successor, Joe Biden, the current President.
“Even with the Democrats’ arrival at the White House at the beginning of this year, Turkey has continued to misread the situation believing that the new American administration will be preoccupied with other files, such as the Iranian nuclear file, the Afghanistan file and the file of the economic effects of Corona epidemic. The Turks have also thought that the Libyan issue will be the least important file; however, what happened later has contradicted the Turkish expectations,” Abdel-Ati clarifies. He stresses that the Justice and Development government has enough crises with Washington, especially after the Turkish army involved in the Syrian crisis and the Russian missile crisis.
A clear message and another subliminal one
Ihsan al-Aswad, a political analyst, believes that the American decision is a message to all parties. Its content is that what comes after the upcoming elections will not be the same as before, and that the gun sound will no longer be heard in Libya again, especially since the war severity has been due to external interventions more than internal disputes. The analyst draws attention that the US House of Representatives, through its act, has affirmed Washington’s support for the expected political transition process in Libya.
In the same context, Al-Aswad describes the act as also an American announcement of Washington’s interest surge in the Libyan file, especially with the spread of many terrorist organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. He highlights that there is American concern that Libya will turn into a stronghold for terrorist organizations in case the war has broken out again in the country.
“Biden’s administration seeks to reduce armed tension in the world in general and wants to end many files, as was the case with the Afghanistan file and soon the Iraq file, as well as find a solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis and, thus, the Libyan crisis is no exception. It may be the least complicating one for the Americans compared to the rest of the crises,” Al-Aswad says. Biden is working with a policy very different from his predecessor Trump who reduced America’s role at the global level and opened the way for many countries, including Turkey and Russia, to play a greater role, as Al-Aswad sees.
Moreover, Al-Aswad also stresses that the act, even if it threatens the external parties, it carries hidden messages between the lines for the internal parties, especially since the past period has had great tension between the Libyan political actors led by Abdul Hamid Al-Dabaiba, the Prime Minister, and Aguila Saleh, Parliament Speaker.
Synchronized events and intersecting interests
The most noticeable thing about the American act, according to Mahdi Al-Senussi, a political analyst, is its coincidence with the escalating security tension and the high rates of kidnapping and targeting of Libyan activists by unknown parties. He indicates that there is concern in Libyan and even international circles about the impact of these occurrences on the results of the upcoming elections in case some parties use them to threaten voters and activists.
It is worthy of note that Libyan activists announced that Imad Al-Harati, the head of the National Youth League, had disappeared. Following this disappearance, there has been a state of international condemnation and calls for a rapid and comprehensive investigation into the case of his kidnapping to disclose its circumstances.
Al-Senussi considers that Libya is going through a very difficult time and needs any help it can get in order to be able to pass through this stage. he spotlights that the US posture will reach the European Union and active countries in this file, especially when taking into account Europe’s concerns about migration by sea and exporting terrorism.
Furthermore, Al-Senussi also stresses the intersection of interests between the United States and the European Union regarding Libyan stability. He considers that European countries have been waiting for Washington to take a serious decision so that they do the same.
Al-Senussi indicates that if the United States was actually serious about the decision to punish external parties that interfere in Libyan affairs, this would mean that the upcoming elections will be the first step to achieve Libya’s stability, as well as to come to a decline in the intensity and pace of fighting. The analyst points up that this is what the Libyans people have been waiting for years.