Lybia, MLL 150 E 28 WS New Risks as Khalifa Haftar Dismisses UN-backed Accord

Di Vincenzo Santo*

(Da ICG – 21 DICEMBRE 2017)

Tripoli. Tensions are rising in Libya after the de facto ruler of the country’s east, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, publicly dismissed the two-year-old international deal on how Libya should be governed. […] The latest row started on 17 December, the second anniversary of the 2015 Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), when Haftar, the commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) that dominates eastern Libya, announced that he considered the LPA to have expired. […] As a result, he argued, institutions emanating from the agreement such as the Government of National Accord and Presidency Council headed by Fayez al-Serraj are no longer officially valid. Haftar said that his own LNA is now the “sole legitimate institution” in Libya, and rejected the authority of any government or parliament until new elections can be held. He made his statement after his allies moved to occupy eastern offices of the High National Elections Commission, which is preparing for elections in 2018 with international support. His allies also have made calls for the commission’s staff to be changed and its headquarters moved from Tripoli, the capital. […] In parallel, Haftar supporters promoted a petition to appoint him as military ruler of Libya, which they claimed garnered over one million signatures. Calls for mass demonstrations in support of Haftar have also spread, although protests largely failed to materialise. Indeed, Haftar’s announcement has had scant impact so far and has not changed the situation on the ground. […] Amid this uncertainty, other developments on 17 December are adding to the confusion. One is the assassination by unknown assailants of Mohammed Eshtewi, the mayor of Misrata. This important city is a dominant military and political actor, and the killing risks widening multiple divisions: between factions that are open to a deal with Haftar and those that reject any compromise with him; between the city’s Municipal Council and its Military Council; and between locals and members of armed groups driven out of Benghazi by the LNA and now based in Misrata. […] Admonitions may not convince Haftar himself, who appears to be tenaciously clinging to his ambition of becoming either Libya’s military ruler or its next president. […]

Haftar

 

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