By Abdullah Alkabir, a Libyan political writer and commentator
If the actual intentions were indeed to remove all obstacles from the path of elections, and to move towards conducting them, in response to the relentless popular demands that demonstrators never cease calling for, by all available peaceful means. Anger reached a boiling point, by setting fire to parliament headquarters in Tobruk, sending loud and clear message that further escalation is very likely, if the de-facto entities continue to ignore the popular demands.
If official claims, and statements do confirm desire to make this political shift. Then, there is no need for the country’s leaders to set off for Turkey. However, the real intention is to continue searching for new deals that recycle the waste which the Libyan people call for getting rid of, or as the former UN Advisor stated ‘the authoritarian minority continues to play musical chairs.’
Against the backdrop of this concealed intention, Parliament Speaker, Aqila Saleh, went to Turkey, on a visit that has for long been postponed due to Aqila’s reluctance to open up to Turkey. As the conditions were not favorable, since relations between Turkey on the one hand and the UAE and Saudi Arabia on the other hand, had not yet been normalized. However, when those relations restored to normality, Aqila was at his weakest state, following his failure to empower the new government, and the growing popular resentment against the House of Representatives in its areas of social influence, to the point of storming and setting it on fire. Therefore, Aqila Saleh is left with only one card to bargain with Ankara, which is the House of Representatives’ approval of the Memorandum of Understanding, concluded by Turkey and the former Presidential Council, in return for Turkey's help and leverage in the western part of the country, to help empower the Bashagha government.
Member of the Presidential Council, Abdullah Al-Lafi, followed by the Head of the High Council of State, Khaled Al-Mashri, joined Aqila in Turkey, and there were reports of consultations sponsored by the Turkish authorities to form a third government, to end the conflict between Dbeibah and Bashagha governments.
Though, Aqila Saleh’s extension of his visit implied his failure to persuade the Turkish authorities to accept the Bashagha government, and to initiate negotiations for the third government, or perhaps, he was waiting for the official position in Tripoli that Al-Mashri will bring with him.
However, Turkey knows well the extent of popular opposition to any attempt to extend the terms of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State, let alone the international position supportive of the elections, and international calls for end of procrastination, though extension of transitional stages and formation of successive governments.
The unusual news blackout surrounding the negotiations between the Libyan parties, meeting behind closed doors in the corridors of the presidential palace and government headquarters in Ankara, confirmed that the matter is about a new government with extension of terms of all current bodies. Everybody knows that public opinion reaction will be of outrage. Reports of the desire of Libyan parties to form a new government once confirmed, will be tantamount to pouring more fuel on fire of popular rejection of extension, and it will blow the ashes off to inflame, once again, demonstrations in streets and squares of the country.
This position does not necessarily mean clinging to the Government of National Unity, but rather a firm rejection of the extension. So, negotiations were surrounded by a veil of secrecy, until the concoction is ready and its marketing campaign is prepared. But Aqila Saleh also fears the wrath especially of his remaining supporters, who in the past, screamed till their throats became hoarse, against what they described as the Turkish colonialism. I feel pity and sorry for the idiots whose noise echoed across Cyrenaica, denouncing and rejecting the help sought from Turkey, by the former Government of National Accord. Then, they staged rallies to announce refusal to pay ‘miri’ taxes [in a sarcastic reference to taxes paid by Libyan peasants during the Othman rule], and burned flags of the Turkish Republic. Today, they discovered that they were mere prawns in the games of the clever individuals.
People in a state of coma and despair, do not realize, the extent of their strength, if they rise up and flood streets and squares in protests? Indeed, they will become a force to be reckoned with, that no one can confront, in addition to the magnitude of fear that they will strike into the hearts of the thieves of the homeland? And how they can torpedo all conspiracies and deals? Forcing everyone to heed to all their demands.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer