Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pressure grows for foreign military intervention in Libya

Before the term of the UN-brokered Libya Government of National Accord begins its term, it must first receive a vote of confidence from the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) based in Tobruk.

The HoR met some time ago and rejected the GNA presented as too large. The GNA Presidency Council with prime minister designate Faiez Serraj as head presented a new GNA cabinet list that was reduced from the original 32 ministers to just 13 ministers and 5 ministers of state. However two of those named as ministers refused to serve. A new list has to be presented again to the HoR and will be voted on next Tuesday February 23.
Even if the GNA is passed on February 23, it faces a security issue if it tries to locate in Tripoli an area controlled by the rival General National Congress(GNC) government. The head of the United Nations Security MIssion in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, insists the GNA be located in Libya since the headquarters of the National Oil Co. and the Libyan National Bank are there. The LPA also says the capital of the GNA will be in Tripoli. The GNC has not approved the GNA nor authorized those who signed from the GNC to do so. The Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room, a group of militia who support the GNC, has announced it will not recognize the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) nor the GNA signed in Skhirat on December 17 without the approval or authorization of either the HoR or the GNC. The Operations Room group said:“We won’t acknowledge the Skhirat agreement even if it is approved by Tobruk parliament because we are still committed to the rejection of any agreement that does not criminalize the ex-regime, sever all ties with its followers and stop reproducing it anew. We give our support to the Libyan-Libyan solution as it will guarantee the freedom of the political entities and the sublimity of Islam as well as the welfare of the people in the country. We are looking for a government that does not follow foreign dictations and does not want to go back to the bygone eras of colonization.”The members of the GNA "trusteeship government." as the Operations Room group call it. are play directors, headed by "agent" Faiez Serraj. They will all be legitimate targets should they set foot in Tripoli or other areas under the control of the GNC. The group supports the so-called Libya-Libya dialogue that consists only of Libyans associated with the rival groups, without the UN or foreign interference. The group's task is to come to a Libya-based political agreement between rival parties.
As the likelihood increases of the GNA coming into being only after some time, the pressure is building for foreign military intervention in Libya even before the GNA is up and running. Those ready to intervene were hoping to have the GNA ask them in and thus justify their intervention. However, with the delay in the formation of the GNA and the difficulties of its moving to Tripoli, pressure is increasing to intervene soon and without the blessing of the new GNA. There are already special operations forces from several countries in Libya, and UK planes are already flying sorties.
A recent article in Foreign Policy outlines some of the difficulties posed by foreign military intervention. The article gives a good summary of the extent of holdings that the Islamic has in Libya. Estimates of he number of fighters present varies enormously from source to source from 2,000 to 3,000, up to 10,000. The higher figures seem designed to show that rapid intervention is necessary to block any further growth. The article notes that those those who expected the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Skhirat on December 17 to lead rapidly to a new Government of National Accord (GNA) — that could then justify their intervention by asking them to help fight the Islamic State — were misguided:Those who were hoping that the December agreement would allow for the rapid formation of an internationally recognized unity government are misguided. The temptation to simply recognize a government — even if it cannot set foot in Libya, and especially the capital — and get it to make an official request for foreign assistance is foolish. It would be instantly discredited among many Libyans, probably causing more new problems than it would resolve.Those who insist the Islamic State threat is severe and immediate apparently are arguing that some type of intervention should be attempted without any sort of justification provided by the GNA. So far, Obama in the U.S., has resisted some in the military who want quicker action.


No comments: