Libya and the Option of Division

Habib Lassoued

The Dabaiba government has no legitimacy and operates outside the framework of the law, but enjoys international recognition, while the Bashagha government, which enjoys full parliamentary legitimacy and expresses the will of most Libyans, finds itself banned from entering the capital.

In the absence of national unity the situation in Libya still requires serious efforts to overcome the crisis of governance and the struggle for wealth. Today, two weeks before the end of the legal term for the transitional phase emanating from the Forum for Political Dialogue, there is no indication that a political solution is  about to crystallize.  Elections, which the outgoing Prime Minister, Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba, claimed would be held this June, turned out to be an illusion in keeping with influential Western capitals and the UN mission, with the apparent collusion of regional powers, as well as internal ones, represented  by Mr. Dabaiba and his active team.

Libyan oil is still prohibited from production and export, which wastes important daily income for the state in light of the rise in energy prices in global markets as a result of the situation in Ukraine and Western sanctions imposed on Moscow. In mid-April, tribal activists closed a number of fields and ports in the south and east of the country in reaction to the policies of Mr. Dabaiba, who shifted his authority from a government of national unity to a government of national division, searching for the closest means to provoke the General Command of the Army in Benghazi and partners in governance in the the eastern and southern regions.  He focused on gaining the support of warlords, militia leaders, regional leaders, political Islam, and corruption networks that would thrive on the continuation of the current situation, relying on them to support his emerging dictatorship.

Oil will not return to flow in the closed areas until an agreement is reached on the mechanism for distributing the revenues between the three regions, as agreed by Washington, a country trying to control all aspects of the Libyan file,  and the United Nations mission whose positions echo American ones. This was announced by several parties, including Ambassador Richard Norland, after his last meeting in Cairo with Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh. Meanwhile, it was officially announced that the government emanating from the House of Representatives will carry out its duties from Sirte, the center of the country, the closest city under the influence of the National Army to the capital, Tripoli, which represents the historic unity of Libyans before Libya appeared in the mid-thirties and the establishment of the national state at the beginning of the fifties of the last century.

The House of Representatives will hold a general session in the city, during which it will ratify the state budget for 2022, and although the outgoing government uses all available means to prevent a quorum from being completed, the issue of division has become a reality as Dabaiba refuses to peacefully hand over the reins of power to Fathi Bashagha.

Dabaiba had his hand on all the sovereign institutions, but Aqila Saleh is aware that the heads of these institutions refused to accept his invitation to attend the Sirte meeting due to the influence of external forces. Yet, they jumped at the invitation of the American ambassador in Tunisia.

With the Governor of the Central Bank, Al-Siddiq Al-Kabeer, the head of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, the head of the Administrative Control Authority, Suleiman Al-Shanti, and the head of the Audit Bureau, Khaled Shakshak, refusing to attend the Sirte meeting, they have paved the way for a new stage of institutional division, similar to what the country knew after the Brotherhood’s militia coup over the results the June 2014 legislative elections, which lasted until March 2021 when an illusion of unification was perpetuated by the Government of National Unity that came into power fraught with corruption cases documented from Tunisia to Geneva.

The new government arrived as a last attempt to end division and declare national reconciliation in preparation for free and democratic elections. We have to remember that its president, Fathi Bashagha, was one of the most hostile opponents of both the House of Representatives in Tripoli and the army leadership in Benghazi. He had to take practical steps in this direction, but the opponents of the idea of ​​one Libya and the reconciliation project strongly opposed him, whether in his city of Misrata or in the capital, from which he was exercising his duties as Minister of the Interior for the last two years in the Government of National Accord.

Today, many voices have begun calling for a return to the 1951 constitution, without the 1962 amendments, to federal Libya, and the advocates of secession now discuss the possibility of dividing the country, suggesting a geographical distribution according to the interests of external forces.

Meanwhile,the Dabaiba team is active at all levels to remain in power, and they are unceasing in their internal and external incitements against the Bashagha government, the army and parliament.

The UN mission and the US are unable to find a solution because they are involved in a game of interests that serve foreign countries, not the Libyan people. Internal and external forces of corruption systematically obstruct a political solution, blocking any effort to transcend the internal conflict and unify institutions towards comprehensive national reconciliation and fair, pluralistic, democratic elections.

Weeks ago, Dabaiba discussed elections this June, and the American ambassador said elections that may be organized soon, but none of that will happen, and the earliest possible date for legislative elections will be Spring of 2023.

The Dabaiba government lacks legitimacy and operates outside the framework of the law, but it enjoys international recognition resulting from the inability of the United Nations to dismantle the network of confrontation open to the sharing of external influence in the country.

Some say that there are no serious efforts to reach a political solution in the country, and this is partly true. External and internal parties believe that guaranteeing their interests lies in maintaining the situation as it is. The Dabaiba government is currently best able to perpetuate crisis for the forces that benefit from the absence of the state.

The state of division has become an option for internal and external parties that do not accept national unity. Only on the day the state regains its sovereignty and the people’s will, will Libya be able to protect itself, fortify its capabilities and confront those who covet its natural, economic, financial and strategic wealth.

Libya: Bashagha Settles in Sirte, Defends Attempt to Enter Tripoli

The Cracking of the Dabaiba Front in Tripoli Places Libya at Risk of War

Libya Suffers a Permanent Humanitarian Catastrophe Under the Dictate of US Interests

US is Trying to Restrain Libya with its Power Collar

Omens of War in Libya