OPINION | Libya : The Road Ahead

OPINION | Libya : The Road Ahead

By Federica Fanuli
Editor-at-Large, IndraStra Global

OPINION | Libya : The Road Ahead

Al Sarraj, the Premier of the Libyan government of national union, has landed in Tripoli. The man of the United Nations waits for the official political support of the opposition, the militias and the population in order to drag out of the Libya crisis that has plunged four years ago, after the events of the Arab Spring that have sparked violent tribal revolts, up the collapse of the Rais Gaddafi regime.

In February 2011, during the anniversary of the massacre of Abu Slim in the prison in Tripoli in 1996, thousands of people poured into the streets of Benghazi. Protests spread out like wildfire and the wave of Arab Spring kicks off the "Revolution of February 17". With ten votes in favor, five abstentions - Russia, China, Brazil, India and Germany - and no votes against, the UN Security Council have approved resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya, while Gaddafi is going to attack Benghazi after the Rais has hit almost all the rebel centers of power. If the Resolution has required an immediate cease-fire and the end of the hostility, it does not exclude the use of force as well. As matter of the fact, the NATO has bombed Libya. Thus, the era Gaddafi has ended. 

The first free election after the fall of the regime of Colonel has not encouraged optimistic forecasts and the responsibility of having left the country to tribal uprisings has weighed on Western powers. Libya has fallen gradually into chaos and two months after the victory of the moderate coalition, militants of the group at the Fajr Libya led by the Islamic militia of Misrata, has conquered the capital. The country is divided into two political camps. In Tobruk city, at east side of Libya, there is the headquarters of the secular and democratic government - which has full international approval – of the Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani. At the west side, in Tripoli, has settled the "national salvation government", led by Omar al-Hasi, supported by the militias of Misrata and various Islamic groups. Third actor occupying the Libyan political scene is the Islamic State. The fightings have not stopped and the political vacuum of Libya as failed State has facilitated the jihadist penetration. 

The UN has committed in an attempt to initiate a plan for the stability and salvation of the country and, after years of effort, the special envoy of the United Nations in Libya, Bernardino Leon, has announced the formation of a national union government led by Fayez El Sarraj, deputy of the Chamber of the Representatives of Tobruk. The scenario is complicated, however, by the fragility of the political institutions. The neo-Sarraj Government may not achieve the legitimacy of two thirds of the Parliament meeting in Tobruk and without a majority that allows the executive Libya to settle, it is impossible to approve of military intervention in Libya allies against DAESH. 

Since October of last year, the favourable vote to Al Serraj government has not arrived and the situation has become more complicated because of the DAESH advance to the main areas Libyan rich in oil resources. Now, Fayez Al Sarraj is in Tripoli despite the threats of his opponents - the head of the Tripoli "government" and the President of Parliament, respectively Khalifa al-Nouri Abu Gwell and Sahmain, and the President of Tobruk Parliament, Aguila Sale - against whom the European Union has submitted sanctions. Serraj has the full Western support and the approval of the national oil company, the Libya National Oil Corporation. 

Great responsibilities now wait for the Government of the Libyan national union, which has had a strong acceleration, to ferry Libya out of the chaos in a stable condition, considering settlement procedures and the war against terrorism, internal and external challenges that blow on political fragmentation of the country and that to be fought require the intervention of an international coalition, which will be implemented only if authorized by the Libyan government.

About The Author:

Federica Fanuli was graduated with honours in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Salento and she has obtained a Master’s Degree in Political Science, European Studies and International Relations at the same University. Foreign Affairs analyst, she is Editorial Manager of Mediterranean Affairs, a project aiming to provide analyses that cover the Mediterranean area. Columnist of the Sunday Sentinel, she is Editorial Board Member of Cosmopolismedia.it and Editor-at-large of IndraStra Global. She can be reached at her LinkedIn profile. / Thomson Reuters ResearcherID : M-9093-2015

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