Wednesday, February 3, 2016

UN not yet considering sanctions against any Libyans

Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) in Libya said the UN is not yet looking at sanctions against those the UN views as sabotaging the peace process.

The UN may not be looking at sanctions because it cannot guarantee the sanctions it suggests would be approved by the UN, as China or Russia could veto the suggestions, as has happened before.
The UN may be getting the EU to do the sanctioning. This was done earlier when the EU named both Khalifa Haftar and his Air Force chief to be subject to sanctions. Nothing ever happened though and Haftar went on to gain the support of the Arab League, Egypt, the UAE, and Jordan among others. This time around the sanctioned officials are the President and Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC). As I argued in an earlier article it is Haftar and his supporters in the HoR who are the immediate threat to the GNA and the process since they are blocking the necessary confidence vote in the GNA that is required before its term begins.
At a press conference in Tunis, Kobler explained that he was trying to broaden support to have as many opponents as possible back the GNA. He noted that the entire international community backed the LPA and the only people who were opposing it were "some forces in Libya." The forces include the two rival parliaments and their associated military forces. However, Haftar might agree providing he remains commander-in-chief of the LNA.
According to the Libya Herald, Kobler insisted that the HoR could not make changes at this point to the LPA, signed December 17 in Skhirat and also approved by the UN Security Council later. The Libya Herald sums up the dilemma facing Kobler: Amendments to the LPA could only be made by the HoR acting “in consensus” with the planned State Council, he said. But “the State Council does not yet exist,” he stated. Although not saying so in as many words, he indicated that the only way that the deal could be changed was for the HoR to first vote for it it in its entirety.Kobler called on the HoR to sign the agreement but noted this could not happen until the Presidency Council of the GNA submitted a new list of names for the Government of National Accord. The HoR had rejected the 32 member list previously submitted as too large.
Kobler was sharply critical of the GNC regime for denying him landing rights at several airports in western Libya. The GNC refused to continue in the dialogue when Kobler would not consider their suggested amendments to the LPA . The GNC did not approve the LPA. While Kobler says talks with militia in Tripoli were working, what has happened is that Kobler, following the same strategy as his predecessor Leon, has taken advantage of a division within the militia who supported the GNC and especially those in the Misrata area. Kobler and Leon managed to have a number of them agree to support the GNA. Kobler would love for the GNA to gain control over the Libyan Central Bank to cut off salaries to those militia who oppose the GNA.. The headquarters of the Bank and also the National Oil Company are in Tripoli and Kobler wants the GNA to gain control of both. This is probably the main reason he insists that the GNA should be in Tripoli as soon as possible. It seems almost inevitable that any attempt to locate the GNA in Tripoli will result in even more conflict in the city and area. Kobler and his military adviser must know this.
Perhaps the plan is to have the Libyan National Army intervene, headed by Haftar. He has wanted to dislodge the GNC and the Libya Dawn militia from Tripoli for ages. He would gladly help the UN to establish the GNA in Tripoli, but at least one condition would be that he remain as commander in chief of the Libyan National Army. Should this happen it would provoke an exodus of most GNC-related members of the GNA. The group is already up in arms by the HoR demand that Section 8 of the LPA be deleted. As the Herald points out, Article 8 of the LPA supplementary provisions reads: All powers of the senior military, civil and security posts stipulated in the Libyan legislations and laws in force shall be transferred to the Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers immediately upon signing this Agreement.
As of December 17 when the LPA was signed at Skhirat, the Presidency Council was designated to carry out Haftar's function. Should not Prime Minister designate Ferraj be sanctioned for not carrying out his duties since he is head of the Presidency Council?And perhaps SRSG in Libya, Martin Kobler, should be sanctioned too since he has done nothing to ensure this provision was carried out. He has also watched while the LPA deadline for announcing the GNA was violated and now he is standing by as the deadline passes today for the vote of confidence in the GNA to have taken place.
Not surprisingly, the GNC members who signed the LPA at Skhirat completely reject the suggested deletion of section 8. As the Libya Herald reports:In a statement released late Monday and signed by Dialogue Committee head Salah Makhzoum, the GNC signatories referred to article 60 of the LPA which stipulates that all sides cannot take any actions or decisions contrary to the LPA. The statement said that the LPA must be accepted as a complete package and any rejection of any of its parts would be contrary to the agreement and to the UNSC Resolution 2259.The group said such an amendment would be a threat to the whole LPA. Somehow the group failed to notice that section in the additional provisions has already been violated for over a month. Kobler has said absolutely nothing critical about the role of Haftar and his insistence he remain as commander of the LNA. Because of his demand, the HoR failed to vote confidence in the GNA. For some reason, Haftar is not only untouchable, but he is unmentionable as well, at least as far as Kobler is concerned.

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