Conflict Alerts # 485, 16 February 2022
In the news
On 10 February, the Libyan Parliament appointed former Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga as its new Prime Minister. The decision comes due to the failure of the existing Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah to conduct national elections in December. Dbeibah refused to accept the decision and swore to remain in power until national elections. He said: “accept no new transitional phase or parallel authority.”
On 11 February, protestors gathered in large numbers in Tripoli and Misrata objecting to the appointment and demanded Dbeibah’s National Unity Government to stay. They also called for elections to be held as per the Geneva Agreement.
On the same day, UN Chief Antonio Guterres made a statement: “All parties to continue to preserve stability in Libya as a top priority.” The UN warns of renewed fighting and political instability. Earlier it appointed Dbeibah as part of the UN-led peace process to resolve the conflict.
On 12 February, Joint Operation Force gathered at Tripoli’s Martyrs Square in support of Dbeibah. According to Colonel Ibrahim Mohamed, Field Commander of the Joint Operations Force said: “…the reason for our presence here in the first place is to preserve the democratic path in Libya. We are here to defend international legitimacy, and our goal is to preserve legitimacy.”
Issues at large
First, the political divide in the east and west Libya. The divide can be seen from the existence of two governments - one backed by the UN and the other by the militia leaders of the east. Libya has been governed by a constitutional political system after the killing of Muammar Qadhafi in 2011. Since then, there was a divide between the east and west.
Second, the external actors. The West has urged the current government to remain until elections to prevent chaos. In terms of accepting the appointed new Prime Minister, the stance of the West, and other countries - Turkey, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates is unclear. Apart from them, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the new government. The UN has constantly backed the Government of National Unity (GNU) and recognizes Dbeiba’s leadership. If the elections take place, it will replace the current power-sharing structure with Prime Minister leading the government with a three-person presidential council and a single President. External actors hope that the elected President would act as the push toward a new constitution, ban foreign mercenaries inside Libya and bring one bank, one military force.
Third, the problem of transition. Since 2011, the political system of Libya is tangled. Even after the constitutional government came to power, Qadhafi’s political system has not been modified. The elections were to be conducted in December 2021. The political transition is yet to happen.
First, the possibility of conflict continuing. Looking at the current scene and tensions brimming between the east, west, and the militia, the conflict is likely to continue. Second, political instability in Libya. Until an agreement or a common dialogue is agreed between the parties, Libya will remain unstable.