The Libyan political scene is heading for more complexity due to the poor relations between the Government of National Unity on the one hand and the parliament and the Libyan army leadership on the other, especially after the parliament has decided to summon the government of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh to appear before its members in an interrogation session on August 30.
“Although the Government of National Unity has come to run the country’s affairs for a few months, its relations with the army and parliament seems to be unstable and pushes towards the belief that the formation of the government came on a volcano’s crater still liable to explode,” Yahya Saleh, a North African researcher, says.
He emphasizes that these differences underline the importance of holding the elections on time ensuring that the country will not return to military tension again.
It is notable that for the past two weeks, there have been escalating statements between Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan army, and Dbeibeh, the Prime Minister. The escalations have been about what extent should the army be subordinated to the government. On the one hand, Haftar accept the army to be subordinated only to an elected government. On the other one, Dbeibeh believes that the army cannot be led by one person.
Parliament is a Useless Scale for the government
Saleh stresses that things seem to be going the way that the prime minister does not desire, especially in light of perspectives confluence between Aguila Saleh, Parliament Speaker, and Haftar. They have found a common ground represented by their negative attitude towards the government’s performance. Saleh points out that the government did not pay attention fact that it is closer to a business-running government, rather than an elected government with full powers.
In addition, Saleh clarifies that for five years, Libya has been ruled by 4 parties, namely the government, the Presidential Council, Parliament and the army. “Each of these parties has its own strength and areas of influence, and currently it can be said that the Presidential Council has become frail, especially with Muhammad al-Manfi, its president, Self-distancing himself from what is happening, while the Parliament Speaker, who is close to the army commander, has its influence risen, the thing that makes Dabaiba feel weak confronting this duo,” Saleh tells.
It is noteworthy that the three parties, the army, the government and the parliament, have confirmed their support and adherence to holding the general elections on the scheduled date at the end of this year and rejected any call to put them off.
Saleh also considers that the Prime Minister has made a mistake while dealing with some files, specifically the military institution unification’s file and believing that the militias could be part of the Libyan army and the military institution. In addition, the Prime Minister has not taken a clear stand on the Turkish presence and the treaties signed between the Turkish government and the former Government of National Accord. Saleh shows that except for the Najla Mangoush’s position, the Libyan Foreign Minister, no explicit and clear position has been issued by the government towards the Turkish policies in Libya, which represented the crisis basis in the country during the past years. He opines that these postures have surged the rift between the government, the army and Parliament.
It is worthy of mention that Aguila Saleh, the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives, criticized the performance of Government of National Unity, which he said had not accomplished many tasks that would support citizens and prompt national reconciliation. Parliament Speaker points out that this government has not yet been able to unify the state institutions and government ministries. He says that, on the contrary, this government has centralized the work of state institutions making all departments subordinate to Tripoli, the capital, instead of setting up a mechanism that would further coordinate the official bodies’ tasks.
Negative signs of hope
Commenting on the Libyan political quarrels, Mohamed Tarabulsi, political analyst, points out that the crisis in Libya bears negative signs for the coming period, which is supposed to carry hope for the Libyans ending the years of conflict and tension. The analyst indicates that these differences reveal a real power conflict between the ruling parties.
Tarabulsi has explicated that this power conflict shows a lack of intention of the Libyan politicians to hand over power and, therefore, the dream of elections may turn into a nightmare and be a prelude to a new chapter of the conflict if the the political dialogue outcomes are not fully adhered to, specifically in the file of handing over power to the elected government and the elected president. He draws attention that the government deals with public affairs as if it were a ruling regime that will continue in power for years to come.
Tarabulsi also alerts to the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood exploiting the situation of disputes and conflicts to return again to permeate in governance, specifically from the government gate, which may be looking for more support in its political confrontations with Parliament.
The Turks Returning is On the Table
The worst point in the Libyan future scenarios amid these conflicts is the possibility of Turkish influence returning to Libya again from the Government of National Unity’s gate. “Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, the Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Unity, is well aware that the centers of power in the Libyan West need a leader to strike balances between them, which is what he is currently trying to do,” Al-Habib Lassoued, journalist writer, says.
Lassoued indicates that Dbeibeh may work under the Turkish cover in its various military, security, political, financial, economic and even cultural dimensions, which means that his leadership would be incomplete without the direct support of Erdogan’s regime, which has become the most prominent force in Tripoli. He clarifies that the Turks have their conditions to support this leadership, including legislating their permanent presence and their goals endeavors in controlling the commercial market and major deals for reconstruction and granting them compensation they demand for contracts concluded with the former regime. Above all, the Turks want to impose their guardianship on economic and cultural affairs making western Libya, as a first stage, the most prominent center of Turkish influence in North Africa. This guardianship has been tied up with a vision that the Turks linked it to the Ottoman occupation era and the alleged ethnic identity of half of the population of the western region whom Erdogan considered hereditary Turks.