Libya

Ceasefire in Libya: A Gift for U.N. Day?

(Geneva).   On Friday 23 October 2020;  Stephanie Williams;  the U.N. acting Special Envoy for Libya said that the  representatives of the parties in Geneva had agreed to a ceasefire starting 24 October;  U.N. Day.  All military units and armed groups on the front lines  are to return to their camps.   All mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya;  are to depart  within a maximum period of three months;  from 24 October.

Both the Russians and the Turks have sent mercenaries to back their interests.  The Russians have used the “private” security firm Wagner;  first founded to back Russian interests in Ukraine.  The Turks have sent Syrian militias friendly to Turkey;  with promises of money and Turkish citizenship.

Since the outbreak of armed conflict on the outskirts of Tripoli on 3 April 2019;  many persons have been killed and wounded. Migrants and refugees;  being held in detention centers have suffered.  The humanitarian situation has degraded dramatically.  In the recent past; all the armed factions have violated the laws of war;  and have a sad record of abuses against civilians.

A Lightning War.

General Khalifa Hifter hoped his attack would be a blitzkrieg ( a lightning war). He badly underestimated;  he degree of military response that he would meet from the militias loyal to the Government of National Accord;  led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sariaj.

General Khalifa Hifter
General Khalifa Hifter

Libyan society faces large and complex issues  in order to create a stable administrative structure of government;  that takes into consideration the geographic and ethnic diversity of the country. There are three distinct regions;  which must have some degree of autonomy: Tripolitania and Cyrenaica;  both bordering the Mediterranean and Fezzan in the southern Sahara.  Within each of the three regions;  there are differing and often rival tribal societies which are;  in practice;  more kinship lines than organized tribes. (1)

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

There are differing economic interests and different ideologies ranging from “Arab Socialism” to the Islamist ideology of the Islamic State (ISIS);  which has spread from its Syrian-Iraqi base.  The Association of World Citizens has proposed the possibility of con-federal constitutional structures. However;  the first priority in the U.N.-led negotiations was to reach a ceasefire. We must hope that it will hold and that discussions on constitutional structures will follow.

Note

1) See J. Davis Libyan Politics Tribes and Revolution (London: L.R. Turis, 1987)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Leave a Comment