Monday, November 7, 2016

Libyan ambassador to the UAE resigns

The long-serving Libyan ambassador to the UAE, Aref Nyad, has resigned. He was originally appointed to the job by the National Transitional Council (NTC) in June of 2011.

In a letter to Ageela Saleh, President of the House of Representatives (HoR) Nyad gave no reason for his resignation but said that it had been an honor to serve as ambassador. He said that all official documents and stamps had been handed over to the financial controller of the embassy. A document attached to the resignation letter says that Nayed had not been paid his salary or received any money during the long period he was ambassador. However, it is not thought that non-payment of his salary was a reason for his resignation. One wonders why Nyad's salary was never paid. You would think this should be a reason for his resignation! However, it is Nyad rather than the UAE who has opted for this arrangement: "Nayed has resigned five times, each resignation being rejected by successive Libyan governments. During his tenure as Ambassador, Nayed has never taken a salary nor exercised diplomatic privileges."
The Libya Herald suggests that exasperation with the political impasse in Libya and the inability of Libyan politicians to do anything to solve the crisis were the main reasons for his decision to resign.
Nyad was born in Benghazi in 1962 and raised in Tripoli. He and his family fled to Costa Rica, Hong Kong, the U.S. and then Canada after the family property and businesses were confiscated by Gadaffi. Nyad received a BSc. in Engineering from the University of Guelph in Ontario, and afterwards a PhD in Hermeneutics. He also studied Islamic philosophy and theology at the University of Toronto and also Christian theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Nyad was back in Libya in the late nineties:In 1998, Nyad interrupted his academic career at the behest of his father and founded Agathon Systems Limited/Alada, an engineering and technology enterprise focused on building data centers, networking and banking infrastructures across Libya. Prior to the Libyan Revolution in 2011, Agathon represented 33 global technology companies in Libya, including IBM, CITRIX, NCR, Nortel, Microsoft and APC. Nayed directly oversaw the implementation of projects across Libya and deployed some of the earliest projects in the automation of both the oil and banking sectors of Libya. Nayed's companies introduced ATM systems across the country and was responsible for the national payment system for the Central Bank of Libya.The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) could probably use his expertise in building the financial system and ironing out difficulties.
Nyad was active during and after the revolution against Gadaffi and when Tripoli was liberated in August of 2011 he was made head of the Libya Stabilization Team. During the early days of the revolution, Nyad was active in gaining international support for the new government and he convinced the UAE to become the first country to recognize the rebel government. Nyad still has academic interests in Libya as he heads the Libyan Institute for Advanced Studies(LI(AS) which has campuses in Tripoli. Bayda, and Tobruk. The Libya Herald suggests that he may concentrate his work on the LIAS.
During the negotiations for the Libya Political Agreement, Nyad let his name stand among 12 names presented by the House of Representatives to the UN but Faiez Serraj was chosen as PM of the GNA and Nyad was not among those named. The rival General National Congress(GNC) did not submit any names. Nyad said that Serraj was his friend and he would help Serraj in any way he could. He also said he might run in a future election.
In an article in The Star in April of this year, Nyad claims that Islamists hijacked the Libyan revolution. He also criticizes Morsi, the Islamist who was elected president of Egypt. But Nyad refuses to criticize el-Sisi or even mention the thousands of protesters killed and jailed under Sisi, instead saying: "It is very simple for the Islamists to play the victim-hood game, which they are very good at!" He manages to blame the Islamists for hijacking the revolution without ever bringing up the subject of Haftar's Operation Dignity, or his attempted coup of February 2014, or his constant criticism of the peace process and rejection of the GNA. In fact, Haftar's name does not even come up at all!
The Libyan Gazette has quite a critical article on Nyad's resignation. The Gazette remarks that it is not clear why Nyad resigned. Some claim it is to further his political career. Others say it is that the UAE policy is changing away from Nayed and those he backs. The Gazette claims Nyad's popularity in Libya while he had been ambassador to UAE has declined. The Gazette mentions the secret airstrikes by the UAE in August of 2014 on Tripoli which were in support of Haftar's Operation Dignity. In April of 2016 the UAE sent an illegal shipment of Armored Personnel Carriers and military pick-up trucks to Haftar. The Gazette notes the UAE made several donations since 2012 which violated the UN arms embargo. The Gazette claims that UAE drones have also been used in attacks in the Benghazi suburb of Ganfouda killing many civilians. The Gazette notes: Despite the United Nations Security Council’s call on all UN Member States to end official contact with any parallel institutions that claim legitimacy in Libya, the UAE has continued to undermine the country’s attempts at unification and national resolve by supporting the House of Representatives and Haftar. Nyad's connection with the arrest of several business people, some dual citizens of Canada and the US, is also problematic. He certainly was no help in having them released it seems.
Another, possible reason for Nyad's resignation may be that he is suspected of having a role in the recent attempted coup d'etat in Turkey. Whatever, the cause of Nyad's resignation it is quite possible that he will seek out a role in Libya's politics. The Gazette suggests that Nyad could further divisions already present in Libya. However, perhaps with his business expertise and connections he could help the GNA improve services to Libyans as he did under the Gadaffi regime.


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