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Libya: Daesh and Haftar, the two real issues

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After a week, GNC voted its dissolution. So, former prime minister Ghwell left its office. Premier Serraj stregthened its position also because of support of Tripoli and Southern municipalities as well as Central Bank of Libya, Libyan Investment Authority and National Oil Corporation. But two issues remain. Tobruk has not already ratified GNA and Haftar, supported by Egypt, who has a greated influence over Libyan National Army. And Daesh, which doubled its militants to 6,000 fighters.

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UN government reached its first target. After sanctions against Ghwell, who escaped to Misurata one week ago, yesterday GNC announced its dissolution thanks to 70 representetives (it will be the new State Council). Kobler arrival on Thursday got things moving again: “The HoR remains the legitimate body to endorse the GNA. I urge the HoR to hold a comprehensive session to vote on GNA in free will,”

UN support, with US, UK, Italy and France in the background, are convincing several institution and people to support GNA. From Misrata militias one week ago, to Central Bank, LIA, NOC and several municipalities in Tripoli and southwards now. Even former premier Ghwell could be persuaded that him and its business will not touch.

“We have been working with Prime Minister Sarraj and the Presidency Council to put this period of divisions and rivalry behind us,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla, who predicted that exported barel production per day could return to 800 (now is 200).

From security viewpoint, situation is not difficult like one week ago. Tripoli is trying to return the capital of entire Libya, where GNA will have its stronghold. But Serraj has two missions.

The first one is to convince HoR to ratify UN government and Cyrenaica to support it. A UN military operation, with Italy as leader of international coalition (as remebered by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on UsaToday) will be possible only if Tobruk accepts Moroccan deal. Moreover, Haftar influence over Libyan Army and Egyptian support are not helping to form the unity government. On the contrary, as reported by several international sources, former general would want to split Libya into two parts.

The second one is against Islamic State. Indeed, jihadists passed to 6,000 fightes in the last 12 to 18 months. Daesh is not only in Sirte, but also in Benghazi, Derna and Sabratha. However, local rebels are fighting ISIS: “They are contesting the growth of ISIS in several areas across Libya,” General David M. Rodriguez, head of U.S. Africa Command, said. “They don’t have the homegrown people that know as much about Libya like they did in Iraq and Syria. ”

So, this week was only the first step. Real Libyan problems has not already solved.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya, US: new Iraq on the horizon?

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Yesterday Tobruk parliament once again postponed voting on new government until February 29. Meanwhile, the US and its European partners are thinking about a military intervention without Libyan approval: Islamic State’s stabilization and about 6,000 enlisted were changing Libya in the new Iraq.

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During February, several news about the US, UK and France landing at Libya were been reported by international press. The last one is about France which, as written by Le Monde, should have send about 180 soldiers against Daesh.

Even United States is preparing a military plan. After agreement with Italian government, which allowed US drones to fly out for attacks on Daesh, Barack Obama is pressing not only Libyan factions to ratify national unity government, but also Rome to play an active role in an always more probably military intervention in Libya.

The risk is especially one: repeating the same mistake of 2011. But the hesitation of Libyan House of Representatives could cause a plan B. A scenario which could exclude the Italian leadership in international operation and unpopular with al-Sarraj government and the majority of population. Indeed, they would want a military training and assistance from foreign countries.

If United States and its partners decided to intervene without new government approval, Islamic State could increase its popularity among foreign fighters and Libyan people because the war could become a war between Islam and West.

Beyond these doubts, Obama’s political consultants push to immediately go in Libya, as reported by Washington Post. Indeed, Libya is becoming new Daesh headquarters, where always more jihadists are enlisting them. In this way, it could repeat the same context of Iraq in 2014, when the White House didn’t intervene until the next 18 months and Islamic State strengthened its positions.
Giacomo Pratali

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Giacomo Pratali
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