Realizing that even after a decade of popular uprising Libya continues to remain in chaos


Geopolitical rivalry blocks Libyan settlement, says expert

Realizing that even after a decade of popular uprising Libya continues to remain in chaos, an expert on the region urged for granting a social space to the traumatized country to bring divided institutions together.

But the expert also lamented that geopolitical rivalries have brought new barriers in the way of resolution of the conflict.

Libyans marked the 10th anniversary of the 2011 revolution on Feb. 17, which inspired by the Arab Spring succeeded to end the 42 years of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.

But soon after the revolution, the country collapsed into a political deadlock.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Nebahat Tanriverdi Yasar, an expert on North African political affairs said Libya was still struggling to design post-conflict reconstruction, in the wake of social and economic devastation brought by the civil war.

“Just after 2011, some challenges in reconstruction were Gaddafi’s legacy, like the necessity of building institutions that never existed under his heavy-handed rule. Some were the deeds of the international military intervention, and lastly not to mention the devastation of civil war”, said Yasar, who is also a fellow at the Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS), a research division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

She said that foreign interventions without strong post-conflict settlement plans only strengthened the drift towards fragmentation.

“With its deeply fragmented and traumatized social structure after the second civil war, Libya needs social peace to bring its divided institutions together and to decide how to shape its future. However, the geopolitical rivalry has set new barriers for resolution of the conflict in the country,” she added.

In a major development, 74 members of the UN-led Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) involving rival political groups on Feb. 5, elected an interim unity government after five days of UN-brokered talks in Switzerland. The move has ignited hope for political stability.

Mohammad Younes Menfi was elected to head the presidency council of the interim government. Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh was elected as the prime minister. Mossa al-Koni and Abdullah Hussein al-Lafi were also voted as other two members of the presidency council.

Political initiative valuable

The LPDF was launched in Tunisia on Nov. 9 to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis under the leadership of the UN Libya Support Mission. The forum represents the three main regions of Libya; Tripolitania (west), Barqa (east), and Fezzan (south).

“Any political initiative hoping to overcome the current stalemate in Libya is valuable, but the talks supported by the UN, especially after 2014, showed us that political initiatives limited to the elite level are not enough to solve Libya’s deep-rooted problems, more even institutionalize and nurture current political polarization and rivalry,” said Yasar.

Ahead of elections scheduled on Dec. 24, the hands of the interim government will remain full in shaping a road map and also evolving consensus among various groups.

“The new interim government is responsible for shaping a road map leading to elections on the one hand and creating consent between competing political and military actors on the other hand, but most importantly overcome the power dynamics of foreign intervention,” said the expert.

The interim government will replace the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The GNA assumed office in 2015 under an UN-led agreement. But efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive launched by militias loyal to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The UN had been recognizing the Sarraj government, which was also supported by Turkey, as the country’s legitimate authority.

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