Friday, March 11, 2016

Prominent member of GNA claims the GNA will soon move to Tripoli with or without confidence vote by HoR

An anonymous but prominent member of the Presidency Council of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA), claims the GNA will soon move to Tripoli whether or not the internationally recognized House of Representatives (HoR) votes on the issue.

According to a report in the Libya Herald, the source said the move will be "very soon." According to the terms of the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) agreed to in Skhirat, Morocco, on December 17, the GNA must receive a vote of approval in the HoR before its term begins.
The last two attempts to pass the vote in the HoR have failed. There are competing reports about the failure of the last meeting to vote. Some sources report there was no quorum, but the main "official" story now is that there was a quorum but no vote because of disruptions. The HoR is to be the legislature of the GNA. If it is not even able to vote on whether to approve the GNA how is it expected to function when it becomes the legislature of the GNA? A letter signed by 100 of the HoR members approving the GNA was released after the last HoR meeting. Kobler has asked that the HoR "formalize" the letter. It is not clear if there will be a vote Monday in the HoR or some other mechanism will be used to avoid voting altogether.
The situation is becoming more and more bizarre. According to a recent tweet by Chris Stephen: US says recognised parliament (Tobruk) has agreed unity govt. because of Feb 23 letter signed by 100 MPs.
This suggests an actual vote might not be necessary. If this is the strategy, it is just one more of numerous violations of the LPA. Others include ignoring article 8 of the additional provisions of the LPA and also naming a group of GNC members to the State Council without the approval of the GNC but selected by an expelled member of the GNC. The GNC does not even support the GNA. The additional section 8 gave the function of commander in chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to the presidency council back on December 17 when the LPA was signed. This would relieve the existing commander, Khalifa Haftar, of his job. This matter does not even come up in mainstream media any longer.
The anonymous member of the Presidency Council maintained that most of the Tripoli militias were now willing to accept the GNA. The remaining opponents would cease to obstruct the GNA once it was in Tripoli even though it is at present, vigorously denouncing the GNA.
An anonymous top-ranking civil servant in Tripoli supported this position. The Herald reports:The militias, the official stated, “want two things: money, and an amnesty,” adding that the Presidency Council had agreed to give them both.“The militias see that the Ghwell government has no money”, he said. But they also know the GNA will have it, he added, noting that the militias would “go where the money was”.This is a much more convincing narrative than that of Kobler who speaks of the signers of the LPA as brave and courageous Libyans who put the national interest above their own. Many of the militia who support the GNA are already bought and paid for. However, to fund these militias, the GNA will need to gain control of the Libyan National Bank and the National Oil Company with headquarters in Tripoli. The GNA might not be able to achieve this without the use of force.
number of activists have warned what they call "defectors" from the GNC against holding any meetings in Tripoli. They are no doubt targeting members of the State Council who met recently in Tripoli. The State Council is part of the GNA and is not recognized by the GNC and were not appointed by them as was supposed to happen. There have also been actions taken by opponents. Kobler has complained repeatedly that the GNC refuses him landing rights in Tripoli. Even more ominous is a recent rocket attack on the Tripoli house of Abdurrahman Sewehli . While no one was injured, the home was damaged. Sewehli supports the GNA. The attackers were not identified. However, this is just a sample of what may occur if the GNA tries to move into Tripoli.
Ahmed Maetig, a member of the Presidency Council, who does not fear to be named, claimed that if the HoR does not approve the GNA and the LPA, then HoR itself will lose its legitimacy "because it extension in office is legitimised by the political process." In other words it is legitimate only if the HoR votes confidence in the GNA as required by the LPA. What Maetig ignores is that legitimacy does not depend upon legitimacy but upon power politics. The HoR had questionable legitimacy in the first place and the vote establishing it was declared unconstitutional by the Libyan Supreme Constituional Court. The turnout for the vote was between 14 to 18 percent. The mandate of the HoR ran out last October and was not legitimately extended. If the powerful players in the international community accept the 100 signatures supporting the GNA as the vote of confidence in the GNA, then the GNA is legitimate. It matters not that this is a fraud and illegitimate, nor that several said to have signed deny they signed the statement. International affairs are often not governed by law but by power. Might doesn't make right always. Sometimes it can't be bothered.
At present, it is not clear what will happen. There are sources who claim that the GNA might go to Benghazi. The Deputy Prime Minister-designate Fathi Majberi said if the GNA could not go to Tripoli it could work from Benghazi once it was totally liberated. Other HoR members have made similar claims. Perhaps many HoR members are wary of meeting in Tripoli because of security matters. However, they are not even able to hold successful meetings in Tobruk because they are disrupted. Perhaps they should move to Skhirat in Morocco or Tunis in Tunisia.


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