By Abdullah Alkabir, a Libyan political writer and commentator
The past few days have witnessed several political moves and events, some of which do aim to propel the political process towards elections, but others are mere attempts to mediate between the parties.
Despite the importance of such moves, they are still in their early stages, and they have not so far produced any result that warrant attention. However, they reveal that the existing gap, between the two active countries in the Libyan political scene, Turkey and Egypt, is still wide, and it is not likely that these moves and meetings will culminate in any decisive break throughs, and therefore elections are not on the horizon, and one cannot be quite certain that they will ever be held this year.
The first salient event was the withdrawal of Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, the moment Libyan GNU Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Manqoush, took over the presidency of the 158th Ordinary Session of the Arab League, which clearly indicates that no rapprochement has been struck between Egypt and Turkey, on ways of the political solution in Libya. It further confirms the pivotal role Egypt played in the formation of the Bashagha government. However, Egypt failed to market it at Arab and international levels, and that Turkey was the most prominent obstacle on Bashagha’s government way to Tripoli.
The second event was the Berlin meeting, which brought together representatives from the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Egypt and Turkey, and apparently ended with the development of an action plan for the new UN envoy, conducive to holding Libyan elections as soon as possible, without revealing the details of what the American ambassador and envoy to Libya, Richard Norland dubbed as “the final path.”
Most likely, this path will include as a first attempt, bringing the House of Representatives and the HCS, to agree on a constitutional basis and laws for elections. If it fails, they will resort, either to the Presidential Council, or activate the Political Dialogue Forum to reconvene, and set the constitutional basis and electoral laws.
After visiting Turkey and meeting with the most prominent political leaders there, Aqila Saleh headed to Qatar, in a remarkable openness to the two countries, to which he has long been hostile, accusing them of supporting terrorism in Libya, in a position typical of any subordinate who is engaged in regional or international conflicts.
Two days before receiving Aqila, Doha received the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, and this is an indication that Qatar is engaged in mediation efforts between the two, but without great hopes for success, because any rapprochement between Aqila and Dbeibah would practically mean firing a bullet of mercy at the Bashagha government, which is Aqila’s last card, for his House is in a state of extreme weakness, unable to even meet with half of its members, as well as there are apparent signs of a new split led by a sizable bloc. The bloc confirmed its support for the statement issued by more than sixty members of the High Council of State, demanding that parliamentary elections be held, according to a previous law issued by the General National Congress. Afterwards, they sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, in opposition to the message sent earlier by Aqila Saleh, in which he blamed the League for accepting Najla al-Manqoush’s participation in the meetings of foreign ministers of Arab countries. The letter of the bloc perhaps referred to Agila’s policies and his continued monopoly of the HoR’s decisions which could lead, once again, to divisions and prompt the holding of sessions in Tripoli, like the ones held after Haftar militia’s attack on Tripoli.
These moves preceded the assuming by Abdoulaye Bathily, of his duties as the new UN envoy to Libya, after the approval of the UN Security Council, and indeed, reflect the continued international and regional interest in the Libyan crisis, after the one-day war in Tripoli.
However, such regional and international interest does not imply that international consensus on Libya is in the offing and that it would be conducive to comprehensive solution. Its only merit could be clearing the atmosphere for the new envoy, and achieving some rapprochement between the conflicting parties, to distance the specter of renewed fighting.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer