Saturday, December 6, 2014

Even as CIA-Linked General Haftar continues bombings UN attempts to form unity government

CIA-linked General Haftar continues his bombing of what he considers military sites in western Libya in areas controlled by the rival Tripoli government. His attacks have the support of the internationally recognized government in Tobruk.



The United Nations Support Mission in Libya(UNSMIL) through its special envoy Bernardino Leon is attempting to hold more talks with "various stakeholders" in order to promote dialogue and end the fighting. Leon has been holding talks trying to convince both sides the Islamist-backed Tripoli government and the elected Tobruk government in the far east of Libya to form a unity government. This government could rule until the drafting of the new constitution, a referendum on that and then subsequent elections. Both sides accept the committee that is drafting the constitution. The new round of talks is to be held on December 9th.
The UN announcement does not say who the stakeholders are who will take part in the dialogue. The Tripoli government under prime minister Omar al-Hassi supports dialogue, although he has warned that with continued attacks by Haftar and actions of the Tobruk government, the country could break up. Earlier talks were virtually useless since they did not involve anyone from the Tripoli government, only elected parliamentarians who refused to go to Tobruk. At that time, the stress was all on the fact that the Tobruk government was the only legitimate government and needed to be strengthened. Since that time on November 6, the Libyan Supreme Court ruled that the June elections were unconstitutional and that the Tobruk government should be dissolved. At the time, the UN issued a statement saying that it was studying the ruling. The Tobruk government summarily dismissed the ruling.
Since November 6th the UN has studiously avoided even mentioning the ruling let alone saying anything about what the results of its prolonged study have been. The ruling has led the UN to extend the stakeholders to individuals associated with the Tripoli government although it has refused to provide them with any titles while still calling Abdullah al-Thinni of the Tobruk government as the prime minister of Libya. The most recent statement manages to even avoid talking of a Libyan government period. There are only "stakeholders" and "actors' and "parties." The UN statements for the most part avoid providing specific information on much of anything. They are filled with very general anodyne rhetoric and describe the situation in a manner that has virtually no relation to reality at times.
 For example, the recent statement says: There is agreement among the various Libyan actors that the way forward is to hold an inclusive political dialogue to tackle the crisis with a view to end the fighting and alleviate the suffering of the civilian population, ensure the political transition process is back on track and safeguard Libya's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. One of the actors, CIA-linked Khalifa Haftar, has been engaged in battle since last Spring on May 16 when he launched Operation Dignity. As part of the operation, he not only attacked Islamist bases in Benghazi but also through his allies the Zintan Brigades attacked the parliament, and burned and sacked it. Since that time he has together with the help of foreign countries, likely Egypt and the UAE, bombed Tripoli at least three times in August. Just recently there were two attacks on the one remaining functioning airport in Tripoli as shown on the appended video. Again, Haftar took responsibility for the attacks.
 Far from suggesting there be dialogue Haftar has boasted about his military plans: Libyan general Khalifa Haftar said on Friday he has given himself two weeks to take control of Benghazi and three months to capture the capital Tripoli. Haftar independently launched attacks on militias in the eastern city of Benghazi beginning in May but was recently reintegrated to the Libyan army by the House of Representatives (HoR). Haftar's actions hardly show any agreement among the "actors" that there should be dialogue and an end to the fighting except when he wins. He continues with attempts to retake Benghazi and also a new bombing on a warehouse and factory that killed eight people and wounded 24 in the city of Zwara, 110 km west of Tripoli the capital. A security spokesperson in Zwara said the one warehouse hit was used to store food and the other was a chemical factory. A spokesperson for the Tobruk government army said the building were arms depots used by "terrorists". The media center for the town reported that two Libyans and six African workers were killed.
If Gadaffi had bombed "his own people" who were rebelling in this way all the western nations would be up in arms. With the bombing led by a former CIA asset who is out to defeat Islamists and has strong support from President al-Sisi of Egypt next door, there is no sense of outrage at all. Haftar and the Tobruk government have turned the UN dialogue into a laughing-stock and thumbed their nose at the UN and its demands to stop fighting. Finally, Ministers of Foreign Affairs from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, the US Secretary of State, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy together with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs issued a statement after a meeting in Brussels to assess the situation in Libya:They expressed grave concern over the deteriorating situation in Libya and welcomed the announcement by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Bernardino Leon, that he will convene on December 9 a new round of talks bringing together key Libyans. They also welcomed the positive reactions of the parties and urged them to participate constructively and without any conditions in this process, which represents the most viable path for Libya to chart its own future. They strongly endorsed the UN's efforts to work with key stakeholders to build a national unity government for Libya, and committed themselves to support such a government. They strongly condemned recent violence, including air strikes, which undermines the prospects for a negotiated settlement, and highlighted the terrible suffering for all in Libya caused by the continued violence. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, the EU and the UN reiterated their calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and underscored their willingness, if key stakeholders fail to participate in the UN-led process, to consider additional measures to protect Libya's unity, stability and prosperity, and to counter expanding terrorist threats to Libya and the region.
As with the UN statement there is no mention of the Libyan government, just unidentified stakeholders and parties.This statement also makes no reference whatsoever to the decision of the Libyan Supreme Court that the Tobruk government should be dissolved. The statement also welcomes the positive reaction of the parties to the process suggested by Leon, even though one party, the Tobruk government, and another, Khalifa Haftar, have vowed to carry on fighting. The statement condemns violence "including air-strikes" but fails to mention who is carrying them out and how such an "actor", "party" or "stakeholder" can be having a positive reaction to dialogue and the formation of a unity government through a political solution to the crisis.
 Notice that if the key stakeholders do not participate in the UN sponsored dialogue the signatories do not suggest punishing Haftar and the Tobruk government but rather additional measures to "counter expanding terrorist threats to Libya and the region." But that is exactly what Haftar wants to do according to him.

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