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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

UNSMIL head Kobler politicizes IS attacks in Libya while ignoring other issues

The Islamic State or Daesh has carried out a number of operations in the last few days that have set a number of oil storage tanks on fire as well as a suicide attack on a police training academy that killed many recruits.

The mayor of the town of Zliten where the attack on the police academy took place claimed at least 50 people that were killed in the blast from a truck bomb after it plowed into the facility where about 400 had gathered for a morning assembly. A suicide attack at a checkpoint at the entrance to the oil port town of Ras Lanuf killed six people including a child. Earlier in the week, on Monday and Tuesday, IS launched several attacks on oil ports of Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf. Kobler in condemning these attacks also used them to press for acceptance of the Government of National Accord(GNA) being pushed by the UN and international community.
The last three news releases by Kobler from the UN site are condemnations of the attacks and the theme in them all is that the attacks show the need to press forward with the GNA. The latest is a good example: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, strongly condemns the deadly terrorist attack today on a security training centre in Zliten. SRSG Kobler said:“... This heinous act once again shows that urgent progress is required towards the formation of the Government of National Accord and the activation and rebuilding of Libyan security forces. The Special Representative urges Libyans to put their differences aside and unite to confront the scourge of terrorism. “This attack comes at a time when fighting is still going on at oil facilities in Sidra. Libya cannot afford to remain divided in the face of such serious terrorist threat.”
There is no mention of the progress of forming the GNA. The GNA does not yet exist. The HoR needs to provide a vote of confidence before its term can begin but the HoR has now met four times with no quorum and no vote.The vote needs to take place before January 27. There are serious splits in the GNA presidential council over the role of General Haftar. The eastern representatives threaten to resign if General Khalifa Haftar does not remain as the commander in chief of the Libyan National Army. If he does, the members of the GNA from the rival Tripoli-based General National Congress will be outraged and will no doubt quit. None of these issues are mentioned by Kobler. The present GNA rules give senior officials of the GNA the role of commander in chief of the Libyan National Army once the HoR approves the GNA.
Nor does Kobler mention that it was GNC planes that helped the Ibrahim Jodran-led guards who defended the oil ports of Es Sidra and Ras Lanauf, while the Libyan National Army air forces and troops were not involved. This is because Jodran and Haftar are at odds with Jodran saying that Haftar is no better than the Islamic State or Daesh. Apparently, these issues are not to be addressed and are not part of all the news that is fit to print as far as Kobler is concerned. Kobler engages in constant hectoring and lecturing on the need to unite. However, there is to be no further dialogue that might lead to an agreement, just more pressure to accept an agreement that both sides want changed but Kobler claims he will not change. We are given no clue as to what is happening behind the scenes. No word as to when the HoR will meet again to approve the GNA. No word as to what the status of Khalifa Haftar will be.


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