UN SRSG Kobler to meet with president of the GNC

- UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Martin Kobler, or the new head of the United Nations Support Mission In Libya, will reportedly meet with Abu Sahmain, the president of the General National Congress(GNC), on New Year's Day.

The Libya Herald says it saw a letter from Kobler to Sahmain indicating the SRSG and his security adviser, Major General Paolo Serra, would be visiting Tripoli Friday. Kobler already met with eastern authorities from the HoR government. There is no report on what happened at that meeting. Kobler has released no information about what is happening for over a week now. His last news release was about the UN Security Council resolution supporting UNSCR 2259 which included demands that the GNC and HoR authorities cooperate with the UN officials as they attempt to locate a rival government in Tripoli.
So much for recognizing the sovereignty of Libya. A foreign body is, in effect, again facilitating regime change in Libya. This time around the UN resolution will turf out two regimes, not just one as was the case with the UN no-fly zone supposedly meant to protect Libyans. This time it is not rebels being supported but those who see an opportunity for joining a new government that ,as with the old ones, will provide opportunities for well-paying jobs, but now also for gaining power and influence through relations with important international powers. The legislative body of the new Government of National Accord(GNA) is the same as the old HoR. All those who approve the GNA will automatically be part of the new GNA. There is also a State Council to be composed of former members of the GNC government. Both the GNC and the HoR may be left without quorums when the members who accept the GNA leave. The GNA will attempt to gain control of the Libyan Central Bank and National OIl company and this will cut off salaries to the old HoR and GNC governments.. Once the GNA's term begins when the HoR gives a vote of confidence to it, then only the GNA will be recognized by the international community, or at least that is the plan.
There are a number of interesting analyses of the present situation. One is in an Atlantic Council blog by Mohamed Eljarh, a nonresident fellow for the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. A second is in the Libya Herald by Sami Zapti. The new-year meeting will test whether the GNC and its main militia Libya Dawn will allow Kobler and General Serra to visit with him in Tripoli. According to the Herald, GNC authorities refused to let Kobler land at the Mitiga airport in Tripoli after he met with HoR authorities before the Skhirat signing of the LPA on December 17. However, now the UN Security Council Resolution demands cooperation with the UN authorities and the LPA is signed, Sahmain is unlikely to rile the waters by not allowing the visit.
For some reason, even Zapti, whose analysis is quite recent, does not comment on the fact that after two attempts to approve the LPA, the HoR has still not managed to do so. Even though 90 members of the HoR signed a statement approving the LPA and GNA — with important conditions attached — the HoR cannot achieve a quorum. Given that recently more members of the HoR have agreed to support the LPA, it is passing strange that only 25 members of the HoR should show up for a vote. The supposedly hard liner president of the HoR, Ageela Salah, even showed up at the last meeting. Given that the UN is anxious that the GNA be up and running — and that cannot happen until the HoR gives a vote of confidence in the GNA — it is more than strange that neither the Libya Herald, nor the pro-GNC Libya Observer have any analysis of why this is happening. Apparently, it is not only the UN that has topics that cannot be talked about.
The Eljarh article rightly points out that security issues are crucial to the success of the GNA. He notes in particular the present commander in chief of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, is a threat to the authority of the GNA and its Presidential Council:Another security-related challenge includes the issue of senior military posts. According to Article 8 of the agreement, the powers of all senior military posts revert to the Presidential Council as soon as the agreement is signed. Yet General Khalifa Haftar continues to direct ongoing military operations in eastern Libya, despite the signing of the agreement. This situation presents a clear challenge to the authority of the presidential council and the GNA.
I think Eljarh must be misreading the LPA. The term of the GNA does not begin until the HoR gives it a vote of confidence. In effect there is no GNA as yet. Haftar does not lose his job until the GNA is given a vote of confidence by the HoR. The Presidential Council does not yet have any authority over the LNA or Haftar. If it did, then the situation would be outrageous and the GNA already doomed by Haftar's successful flouting of the GNA authority. Of course this may still happen but it has not so far, in my opinion. If it had, surely the UN would complain about Haftar but they have not. However, Haftar may be arranging it so there is no vote in the HoR to ensure that for now he remains in power,
What puzzles me somewhat is that even if there is a vote in the HoR approving the LPA and GNA, it will only be in principle. The majority in the HoR want Haftar to remain as commander in chief of the LNA, so they will never approve a document that takes away his job. Unless Kobler agrees to eliminate section 8 and leave Haftar as commander in chief, there seems no hope that the LPA will ever pass the HoR. Kobler says that he cannot alter the LPA or the names presented. To eliminate section 8 would enrage members of the GNC and many others who support the GNA,.
In contrast to Eljarh, Zapti thinks Hafar is cooperating with the UN and following "their line":Equally, with Hafter towing the UN-brokered LPA line and the eastern tribes – the bedrock of Ageela Salah’s political support in the east – coming out in favour of Skhirat, Salah has been left marooned politically.
Presumably, Zapti was attempting to use idiomatic English and mistakenly used "towing" instead of "toeing" as they are homphones. Zapti suggests that the Libya-Libya alternative plan to that of the UN is petering out, even though a GNC group announced a new version of the plan. Salah, president of the HoR, along with Sahmain president of the GNC had earlier worked together to promote the plan. Now, Salah appears to have abandoned the plan and will support the GNA but with conditions.
Haftar has not spoken out against the UN plan or repeated his position that the GNC armed forces are terrorists with whom he cannot negotiate or agree to a ceasefire. While Haftar has been quiet, he has equally shown no indication that he is willing to step down as commander in chief of the Libyan Army. He may very well be behind the amazing scenario of an HoR, which the UN claims contain a majority who support the LPA and the GNA, yet t is incapable of mustering enough members to gain a quorum to take a vote in the HoR. The UN has not seen fit to comment on what is happening. This is to be expected, because it is a fact that is inconvenient and embarrassing but surely it should be of interest to other media. Perhaps, the problem is that the issue has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.


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