ISSN 2330-717X

Haftar Ends Skhirat Political Agreement: Tripoli Government Rejects Rebel Ceasefire Offer, What’s Next? – OpEd


Eastern Libyan forces laying siege to the Tripoli have agreed on a humanitarian pause in fighting during Ramadan, in response to international appeals for a humanitarian truce so authorities could focus on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

But, Libya’s internationally recognized government recognized the forces will keep fighting, after a unilateral ceasefire declaration by its eastern based opponents in Tripoli, also they did not trust the Libyan National Army (LNA) of renegade general Haftar.

On the other side, Haftar and his  LNA was adopting a ceasefire for Islam’s holy month of Ramadan in response to requests by the international community and “friendly countries”.

Due to the greed of the Libyan army in Ramadan this is a good opportunity to dominate, on Monday he abruptly declared a popular mandate to take control of the whole country, and he was told by his backers that he had overstepped the mark and needed to bow to international pressure for a lull in fighting if he was to recover lost diplomatic ground.

This was a very strange message to the Libyan and international community, perhaps one of his modern strategy maybe he will progress or failure.

The political declaration was denounced by the US embassy in Libya and by the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, as well as indirectly criticized by France, one of Haftar’s strongest covert backers but some counties in the Middle East support him.

This declaration means Haftar no longer recognised the authority of the elected House of Representatives (HoR) in the eastern city of Tobruk, which he had been broadly allied with for many years.

Ageela Saleh the head of the HoR, put forward an eight-point political plan to try to reconcile the east of the country with the GNA. Haftar also presented himself to his overseas backers as the man to bring security and hope to Libya and crush ISIS.

 All of the countries support him and tolerated  as the legitimate representative of political forces in the east, but his clash with Ageela  Saleh, a leading political force in the east, made that claim less tenable.

During Ramadan  escalation in violence and attendant rise in civilian casualties, the LNA shelled a civilian hospital in Tareeq al-Shouq, destroying an intensive care unit. The hospital had been earmarked to take a leading role in the event of a coronavirus outbreak in Libya.

The U.S is also concerned that a blanket ceasefire could inhibit Israel’s ability to engage in military operations throughout the Middle East especially in the country that face a war like Libya and Syria.

More than 50 governments have also backed Guterres’s initiative, including several NATO allies, which the US and Russia declined to sign, they expressed concern that the UN security council had yet to take action. Air Force warplanes carried out over 20 strikes targeting Haftar forces’ positions in the city, destroying many vehicles and killing as well as wounding several fighters, by the  a military source close to Volcano of Rage Operation.

The air defenses had shot down a Wing Loong drone as it was striking civilian targets in the vicinity of Abu Grein town. On the other side, UAE support Haftar’s forces the drone was provided with loaded with missiles but shot down before returning to where it took off from.

UAE had sent more than 100 shipments of arms to Libya by air since mid-January, despite a UN arms embargo against the war-torn country. However, the airstrikes near Sirte marked the first time that the UAE is operating drones to support the rebels. Due to that,  several fighters from Haftar’s forces had been killed and injured in attacks on their positions on the coastal road of Al-Wishka. LNA forces control eastern and southern Libya and have been positioned around the outskirts of Tripoli for a year.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is believed to have similar reservations regarding the impact on Russian military operations in Libya unacknowledged support for proxy groups and non-state militias.

Some of the most intense recent fighting has been around Tarhuna, a town 40 miles south-east of Tripoli used as a platform for the LNA to supply its forces attacking the capital. Electricity has been cut off to Tarhuna from the first day of Ramadan , in retaliation for Hafta’s forces temporarily stopping the gas supply to the Khoms power station (which also supplies Tarhuna).

Tarhoona is a Libyan town 65 kilometres (40 mi) to the southeast of Tripoli, in the Murqub District. The geographical boundaries, from the “Valley of the famm Molgha” west to “Burkaat Oueny” eastward. Then from the “Suq al Juma (Al-msab`ha)” north, ” Al-mzawgha and Marghna” south, the population was calculated to be 13,264 in 2011.

Haftar dismissed the UN-brokered Skhirat political agreement, representatives from throughout the country came together to negotiate this agreement, which represents a unique opportunity to both address the immediate suffering of the Libyan people and build a democratic civil state through national consensus. In doing so they have demonstrated their commitment, as true leaders, to place the Libyan people and Libyan State above narrow self-interests and readiness to take difficult decision for the sake of Libya.

The dialogue’s political track included key players in the Libyan democratization process. The members of the House of Representatives, chosen in a free and fair election that was organized under and recognized by the General National Congress, have a responsibility to respect the democratic rights of the voters and represent their constituencies. The General National Congress managed the transitional process for more than two years. The National Transitional Council led the country through the earliest stages of the transition. Members from all these three legislative bodies made very important contributions to the dialogue process and to the conclusion of this agreement.

Other independent stakeholders participated as well. The armed groups, municipal councils, political parties, tribal leaders, and women’s organizations contributed to other elements of the dialogue to promote a genuine and stable reconciliation.  Laboriously negotiated in 2015, rejecting all the political institutions set up under it and in effect wiping the constitutional slate clean.

Click here to have Eurasia Review's newsletter delivered via RSS, as an email newsletter, via mobile or on your personal news page.

Miral Sabry Al Ashry

Miral Sabry Al Ashry is an Associate Professor at Future University (FUE), Political Mass Media Department.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.