Withdrawals from the Tunis Forum increase the political incompatibility between the Libyan factions.
Libyan tribes have pre-empted the direct Libyan – Libyan political dialogue forum, scheduled to begin on the ninth of November in Tunisia, warning that it would become a platform to pass the agendas of the Muslim Brotherhood and perpetuate its hegemony over power in Libya under the cover of the United Nations Support Mission that sponsors this forum.
This warning, which was accompanied by the announcement of some personalities that they would refuse to participate in the forum, shifted the fluctuating political equations that govern the paths of organizing this dialogue, the results of which are supposed to culminate in political and military understandings reached in the meetings of the Moroccan town of Bouznika and the 5 + 5 meetings in Geneva.
It also raised concerns that the Tunis Forum would prevent a serious breakthrough in the current political blockage, which has been deepened by the dissonant regional and international agendas, and the calculations of the strategic interests of the influential powers in the Libyan file.
Abdel Karim Harami, the diplomatic advisor to Tunisian President Qais Said, confirmed that his country has completed all preparations to host the Libyan Dialogue Forum, expressing his hope that this forum will establish peace and security and launch a comprehensive political path that ends the state of fighting and chaos in Libya.
Muhammad Al-Mesbahi: We refuse to pass the Brotherhood’s agenda through the UN mission’s gate.
He pointed out that his country “does not deal with the situation in Libya out of positioning, influencing the decision, or competing with other countries, but rather to ensure that Libyans surpass the current situation as soon as possible so that they can enjoy their lives and head to the future with greater optimism.”
However, the optimism of the diplomatic advisor to the Tunisian president – which coincided with similar optimism expressed by Stephanie Williams, Acting Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya – did not find an echo with the Libyan tribes, whose role and influence in shaping the Libyan political scene with all its different balances cannot be ignored.
This was evident through the position of the Supreme Council of Sheikhs and Notables of Libya, as well as the position of the Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes and Cities, in addition to the announcement by a number of parliamentarians that they would refuse to participate in this forum for reasons that were dictated by serious concerns about passing Brotherhood agendas at the expense of the interests of the Libyan people.
In this context, Muhammad al-Mesbahi, head of the Office of the Supreme Council of Sheikhs and Notables, affirmed that the Supreme Council of Sheikhs and Notables “rejects fraud and passing the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya through the UN mission.”
The Supreme Council of Sheikhs and Notables of Libya – which was established in Azizia in 2014 and held its first public meeting in the city of Seluk in 2015 – is considered one of the important and influential bodies, as many Libyan tribes and cities fall within it, and it aims to mend the Libyan rift and stop the fighting, and combat militias and terrorism in all its forms.
Al-Mesbahi said that the Supreme Council of Sheikhs and notables of Libya “did not object to the meeting of Libyans,” but “to the way in which the will of the Libyans is deceived through the UN mission to pass the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, through controversial names invited to participate in the forum”.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya announced earlier that it had invited 75 people from Libya representing the political and social spectrum of the Libyan society to participate in the first meeting of the Libyan – Libyan Direct Political Dialogue Forum, to be held in Tunisia based on the outcomes of the Berlin Conference on Libya, which was approved by UN Security Council.
After the leaked list of the names of the personalities invited to participate in the Tunis Forum, it was found that 42 out of 75 people invited are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which prompted the Supreme Council for Tribes and Libyan Cities to express its disapproval of what it described as “the domination of Islamic organizations and their allies on the list of those invited to dialogue, at a time when national actors and influential social components were excluded.”
And he considered that the selection of the members of the Tunis Forum – among them “some personalities who live abroad and have no bases at home, dozens of extremists, and even some known for practicing and advocating terrorism” – shows “disregard for the sacrifices made by the Libyan people in the face of terrorism.”
He warned that “poor preparation and planning for the conference heralded a new failure of the political process,” which would lead the country to another stage, which he described as “dark”, announcing at the same time his “rejection of the convening of the Tunis conference in terms of the manner and persons invited by the United Nations mission, its illegality, and rejection of its outcomes”.
And while the response to these criticisms and warnings is similar, Stephanie Williams said that the United Nations mission “wants the Libyan dialogue to be at the level of historical responsibility … and that what matters to the Libyan people is what will result from the next meeting in Tunisia and not whoever participates in it.”
Nevertheless, the Libyan parliamentarian, Misbah Douma Waheeda, who received an invitation to participate in the Tunis Forum, expressed his fears “that this forum will produce an agreement that would return the Libyan crisis to the first square of division and place Libyans in a state of confusion that could last for several years”.
Translation by Internationalist 360°