Since the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, which tore the nation apart and resulted in the brutal murder of its former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been in a state of ruin. despite UN attempts to stabilize the situation, the fate that seems to be awaiting the country is a war-lord President and/or more civil war.
For years, two primary factions have fought over territory, both claiming legitimacy to rule Libya. One group is the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), and the other is a band of militias under the command of former CIA operative and warlord, Khalifa Haftar, called the Libyan National Army (LNA). On top of this, there were countless militias affiliated with terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda, and local gangs. These groups would attack at will and still prove to be a significant hinderance to peace, even in areas under the control of the two opposing major political forces in the country. On March 10th of this year, the GNA – an interim government – was dissolved to be replaced by the Government of National Unity (GNU).
In October of 2020, a UN brokered ceasefire agreement was held by both the GNA and LNA. This was the only successful attempt out of countless other failed attempts at a ceasefire. Although the ceasefire did largely hold, there have been breaches; like in June when Haftar sent his forces to Libya’s south to capture territory and closed off the border with Algeria, in a show of force.
According to the UN ceasefire agreement, mercenary militias controlled by foreign powers such as Russia, the UAE, and Turkey were supposed to have withdrawn — although we have yet to see that happen.
In places like Tripoli (the Capital for the newly formed Government of National Unity) and Benghazi, the LNA’s eastern stronghold, armed clashes are sporadic and continue. In Benghazi, infamous for assassinations, a continuation of kidnappings and assassinations of local activists have occurred in the past month.
In such an environment, the UN-scheduled Presidential and Parliamentary elections are set to take place in December. It is still unknown as to whether the elections will even go ahead, but it is a possibility that if they do Khalifa Haftar of the LNA may wish to claim Presidency. Although he did proclaim in the past to not believe that Libya was ready for democracy, Haftar hired a former top aide to US President Bill Clinton, back in September, signaling to many that he would run for President. In order to do this he is reportedly stepping down from his role as head of the LNA, which he will likely return to if he loses.
Yet even this is not a guarantee, as the Middle East Eye (MEE) just revealed this past Wednesday:
“…according to documents filed with the US Department of Justice and seen by Middle East Eye, the six-month contract that Haftar signed with Lanny Davis and former congressman Robert Livingston, a deal thought to be worth roughly $1 million, was suspended on 30 September.”
The MEE also claim “Lobbying firm Rawlings International Advisory Group, which introduced Haftar to the Washington heavyweights, has also terminated its agreement with the Libyan commander“.
This information, in addition to the Libya Stabilization Act (LSA) voted through the house in September, may indicate that after the US government initially seemed to have backed its former CIA operative, they have now backed off. If this is the case, and Haftar feels he is being both isolated and is unable to secure a Presidential victory, it’s easy to foresee an additional escalation of violence once again. Even if he does secure a victory, it’s likely that his opponents will claim voter fraud in the East where his forces have set up a model of rule resembling a police-state, in which case fighting could also break out.
Although the UN’s Berlin Peace Plan seemed to have had well-intentioned strategies set out for the war-embroiled nation, it seems that a peaceful solution is far from being recognized.
What is unfortunately completely ignored about Libya’s predicament, is the fact that all this chaos comes as a result of the original sin: the NATO intervention and its funding and arming of terrorist militias. Libya went from the State with the highest standards of living in Africa, to a failed State. All the blood from that intervention onwards is on the hands of the invaders.