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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Kobler regrets missed deadline but one report claims he ordered the delay

As usual, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, ignores the most relevant facts in his statements. Even what he says is in direct contradiction to other reports.

According to the Libya Herald, Kobler condemned the extra 48 hours that have been taken by Faiez Serraj the Prime Minister designate of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord to create that government.Kobler said: “I regret the decision of the Presidency Council to postpone the formation of the Government of National Accord. Libya can no longer wait”. The UK ambassador Peter Millett called the delay disappointing because the GNA was needed to deal with terrorism and rescue the economy. Translated, this means the GNA is needed to give permission for foreign intervention and in return will receive economic aid. It is also needed so that a western-approved government controls the National Oil Company, the Central Bank and the $57 billion in frozen Libyan assets. This will give the GNA a great deal of ammunition to buy off opposition. Reportedly, Kobler is talking with HoR president Ageela Salah pressing him to ensure that the HoR approves the LPA along with a vote of confidence in the GNA. For some time now we have been assured that a majority of the HoR favor the LPA and GNA and this includes Salah. Yet the HoR met four times with no quorum. What on earth could be wrong, SRSG Kobler? The deadline under the LPA for the GNA to be formed was yesterday. There is likely no legal basis for extending the time, and signers of the LPA could claim the agreement is now void and needs to be redone. Kobler says nothing of all this.
Anyone observing the spin put on events by Kobler and others can see what might be coming. The majority support in the HoR for the GNA has always been in principle, with at least one proviso being that Khalifa Haftar remain as commander in chief of the Libyan National Army(LPA). The LPA, at least according to the last text available in English, assigns the function of commander in chief of the LNA to the Presidency Council of the GNA, not Haftar. Haftar could later be appointed again as commander in chief,but if he is, the GNA will probably not be able to function, because of the divisions this would create. Those from the GNC and the militias associated with it would never agree to Haftar as leader of the LNA. Haftar's Operation Dignity. that for the most part started the civil war in May of 2014, is aimed at ridding Libya of Islamists and that includes those associated with the GNC, whom he calls terrorists. Kobler has insisted all along that no changes can be made to the LPA. It may be difficult to know if changes are made since the UN has not seen fit to post the text in English of the LPA as signed on December 17 at Skhirat. Given this is claimed to be such a historic document it is strange that it appears impossible to find it on line, in English at least. If anyone has a link please post it in comments. My version is from July. Those opposed to any changes made will certainly make public what has happened if it is changed.
The pro-GNC Libya Observer claims that the UN Support Mission in Libya(UNSMIL) is in limbo because of the fate of General Khalifa Haftar in the GNA. The Observer reports: Tobruk parliament hardliner Issa Al-Araibi said Saturday that Cyrenaica members in the government of concord were about to issue a statement announcing their membership suspension from the Presidency Council due to lack of guarantees for what he called "the Libyan army", Khalifa Haftar's de facto armed groups.In other words, many who are now in the government from the east or Cyrenaica, are there only because they believe they were promised that Haftar would remain as commander in chief, even though this clearly would violate the LPA.
Even more revealing, the Observer reports that on Jordan-based 218 TV channel Al Araibi claimed that it was Kobler himself who asked for a delay of 48 hours so that he could fulfill their demands: “Kobler called Ali Al-Gotrani (deputy prime minister) and begged him for a span of 48 hours promising to bring the needed support for the army from the United Nations, so we are here waiting for the approval of our demands.”
Al-Airibi said the group would not discuss any names for ministerial portfolios until their demands are guaranteed. Those demands he said include support for General Khalifa Haftar's army, the LNA, lifting the arms embargo on weapons sales to the army and keeping in place the army leadership. They also demand a funds commission for helping to rebuild Benghazi, and also distributing the political occupations between the three regions equally. I thought the last demand was agreed upon by all sides. Al-Araibi said that the presidency council had not responded yet to these demands.
The GNC meanwhile re-iterated their rejection of the Serraj GNA government. The Libya-Libya dialogue is still in process as described in this article. However, it is much weakened by the departure of the president of the HoR Ageelah Salah from the group.
Meanwhile, without noting the likely illegality of the GNA extension of the time for its formation Kobler tweets:Translated from Arabic by Bing
Urge the Presidential Council to abide by the new calendar proclaimed and ensure the formation of a Government of national reconciliation as soon as possibleTranslated this means he is urging himself to get to work to find a new fix for the disaster that is looming closer and closer.

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