By Abdullah Alkabir, a Libyan political writer and commentator 

Attack is the best form of defense. This theory was produced by Sports competition, and its efficacy was proved in all competitions and conflicts, not only in sports, but also in all aspects of human strife.

Thus, Aqila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives, did not resort to defense in the face of the challenges of the protests, but went into offensive, pointing fingers of accusations to the President of the PC and his brother, Sami Al-Menfi of being behind the incidents of storming and burning the parliament headquarters. He also included in his offensive, the Debeiba government, accusing it of agitating the public against his parliament, by holding it responsible for the political stalemate and deterioration of services.

Sami Al-Menfi, dismissed the accusations considering them political rather than legal, threatening Saleh with legal action. Furthermore, the Al-Menfa tribe supported Sami, denouncing the accusations that implicated the Presidency Council and its president in the political conflict.

The accusation against Al-Menfi was a pre-emptive attack, to abort an initiative that the President announced to launch to resolve the political impasse. Even if the initiative is proved unsuccessful and rejected by some parties, calls to the PC  to intervene and activate its powers to end the HoR and HCS did not cease, with the  possibility that the USA and European countries would back any presidential move in this direction, and this will push the Presidential Council to the forefront to take over the leadership of this phase, while the role of Saleh and his HoR would decline, and obviously, the High Council of State too, so Saleh rushed to launch a counterattack on the PC in the person of its president, and on the Debeiba government, which he failed to overthrow, in order to empower the Bashagha government, despite all the cards that he played.

 Saleh’s accusations against Al-Menfi are illogical and implausible, because the latter’s personality and inclination to be neutral and not to get involved in the conflict are incompatible with the alleged conspiracy against the Parliament. Indeed, the Presidential Council has been distancing itself from interacting with the political conflict, this in itself rules out and refutes any suspicions that he was behind the targeting of the parliament’s headquarters.

The accusation would have been acceptable if Al-Menfi had an anti- House of Representatives position, either expressed in his statements or positions he took, and before this targeting by inciting demonstrations to undermine HoR. It would be logical if he would first seek to support the popular and tribal trend in Cyrenaica, which calls for holding of legislative elections, but the Presidential Council and its president did not have any hostile position against the House of Representatives and the HCS, and remained distant from the battleground. It did not even support Debeiba in the face of Saleh and his parallel government, even though they came to power together in one accord.

Targeting the House of Representatives does not require any conspiracy. The popular resentment has reached its maximum level, and everyone is well aware that it is the main driving force behind obstruction of any political solution, and that overthrowing it, is the most important step in the path of reform, and addressing the political impasse, as well as the corruption that eroded all its corners, and all the justifications that they have been selling about the end of the government’s term were not convincing, because the parliament had expired years ago, yet it refuses to step down and offer the people, the opportunity to elect a new parliament, which will serve as a constituent assembly given the magnitude of the crises that any legislative house would inherit.

One of the uncalculated results of this escalation against the President of the Presidential Council is the implication of the tribal component in the East in the political conflict. It would be divided between supporters and opponents of this escalation of Saleh towards Al-Menfi, which began with the rejection by the Al-Menfa tribe of the accusation against Al-Menfi, and its support for the President of the PC and his brother, as a parallel gathering was held that continued its support to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Evidently, the state of equilibrium in the conflict continued.

Among the repercussions of assigning Bashagha to lead a new government, is the political and military divisions of the Western Libyan front, between supporters and opponents of this assignment. However, the opponents outweigh the supporters. Likewise, in the East part of the country, a new division is emerging, and although the tribes will cope and contain the conflict and reduce its intensity to the lowest level, the conflict will not subside completely. It could even escalate, if the Presidential Council, under the pressure it is exposed to, decides to take the initiative and assume the responsibility of addressing the political impasse, by taking bold decisions and fixing specific dates for elections.


Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer