By Ken Hanly, a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba Canada.

Courtesy of Digital Journal

Contrary to all the news reports that a Libya Political Agreement(LPA) was reached at a signing ceremony in Skhirat, Morocco, today, this is an incorrect description of what happened. This article explains exactly why that is the case.

It is necessary to give a bit of background to understand the context of what happened in Sikhrat today. Over a year ago, Bernardino Leon, the head of the UN Support Mission in LIbya (UNSMIL), began what is termed the Libyan dialogue. While the dialogue was complex with many different stakeholders and groups involved, the main aim was to come up with a Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and an associate unified Government of National Accord (GNA) approved by the rival governments. Before leaving his position as head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Leon was able to present a final draft of the LPA to the two competing parliaments. One parliament is the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) located in the east in Tobruk. The other is the General National Congress (GNC) located in the west in Tripoli.

Leon tried in vain to have the two parliaments vote on and approve the LPA. He was unable to get them to vote on the issue before he left. The new head of the process was Martin Kobler. He refused to amend the Leon LPA or even to change the names of those Leon had suggested for the GNA. Kobler failed also to get either parliament to approve the LPA. At this point Kobler gave up on the whole idea of having a Libya Political Agreement between the two rival governments.

What he did was take the draft LPA and round up 40 people who supported the agreement. He then had them meet in Tunis and sign the draft. The UN Security Council and later a huge ministerial meeting in Rome gave their blessing to this deceptive process.. The reason is quite clear. The UN and the international community want one unified government that will give them permission for military intervention in Libya.

There is a constant drumbeat of warnings about the advance of the Islamic State in Lbya. While there have been some advances lately there have been devastating losses as well, including its original base city, Derna. Derna Shura Council is even assuring foreign companies that they can safely come back to finish construction projects. Islamic State has been driven into the nearby mountains. Reports such as this are unlikely to be seen in the mainstream press, which is pushing a narrative of a terrible threat demanding immediate action. These reports, which may very well be true in most cases, will help manufacture public consent for foreign intervention.

As I pointed out in an earlier article, even professional news organizations get basic facts about what is happening in Libya wrong. The recent report on the Skhirat signing by Reuters indicates that misrepresentation of what happened continues. The first sentence reads:

"Delegates from Libya's warring factions signed a U.N.-brokered agreement to form a national government on Thursday, a deal that Western powers hope will bring stability and help fight a growing Islamic State presence."

Note the use of the term "delegates." Delegates are persons authorized by somebody to go to a meeting and often to vote on issues that come up at the meeting, as, for example, delegates to a political party convention. But what is the body involved with "warring factions"? Who are these warring factions? Presumably Reuters is talking about the members of the rival parliaments. Is Reuters saying the signers were "delegates" from the rival parliaments? This is not true at all. Indeed the rival parliament heads point out that neither those from the HoR or from the GNC are "delegates":

"Unauthorized members from the GNC and Tobruk Parliament signed in the Moroccan city of Skhirat on Thursday the UNSMIL-brokered agreement to form a government of national concord."


The two heads of the HoR and GNC said they would not recognize the new government and that the agreement was signed without approval of either parliament.

Reuters does note "hardliners" in both "factions" reject the agreement. The term "hardliner" is emotively negative. Why not say that some members in each parliament reject the agreement? That would be objective reporting. In a later paragraph the "factions" disguise is abandoned and the term "parliaments" is actually used:

"Chants of "Libya, Libya" erupted as representatives from both parliaments signed the accord along with local councils and political parties in the Moroccan coastal town of Skhirat, after more than a year of hard-scrabble negotiations."


At least we do not have "delegates" any more but they are called representatives. They are representatives however, only because they were chosen by the UN — no doubt because they approve the LPA. They were not sent as representatives by the GNC or HoR. The quote makes it look as if after the year of negotiations, finally the rival governments came to an agreement, but that is completely false,.They not only did not agree, the heads of the two parliaments both reject it.

The report goes on to quote Martiin Kobler: "The doors remain wide open to those who are not here today.The signing of the political agreement is only the first step." But Reuters also reports correctly:

"The chiefs of each rival parliament already rejected the U.N. deal and called for more time to negotiate a Libyan initiative though diplomats say both men may face international sanctions for blocking a vote on the agreement."

So the doors are wide open to signing on but if you work against the signing you face sanctions. Of course the sanctions are not imposed by Libyans but by the UN.

Opponents of the agreement had rather different descriptions of the agreement than given by Reuters and the remarks quoted by Kobler:

"Head of GNC dialogue team Awad Abdul-Sadiq described the signing ceremony as drama saying the GNC will not recognize what he called the trusteeship government.

Federalist Zyad Daghaim, a Tobruk parliament member, also rejected Sirraj government, describing it as a government of colonialism."

The controversial Grand Mufti retraces the course of the negotiations pointing out that the present draft approved was that of Bernardino Leon that email revealed was doing the bidding of authorities in the UAE and who was deliberately sowing divisions in the GNC and trying to empower the HoR.


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