A new conflict between two Governments in Libya… Will it take us back before the Geneva Agreement? – opinion by Ahmed Atoumi

By Ahmed Atoumi, Libyan Journalist.

MISURATA, 20 th May 2022 – One and a half years after Libya’s ceasefire was declared under the auspices of the United Nations, the political differences in the country have resurfaced again last February, just after the Council of Representatives in Tobruk, eastern Libya, announced the formation of a new government led by Fathi Bashagha, the former Minister of the Interior in Sarraj’s government. This had brought the country into a whole new spiral of having two governments again after having exited it the the Government of National Unity.

Which one is Libya’s actual legitimate government?

In fact, there is no truly legitimate government in Libya. The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which was held in Tunis in 2020, has literally stipulated that the Government of Libya, ratified by the House of Representatives and the State, will be temporary and will be given an estimated one and a half years to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in the country. The disagreement between the House of Representatives and the Government of Abdelhamid al-Dabaiba last September over the approval of the Government’s budget by the deputies and the Government’s refusal to amend it, led the deputies to withdraw confidence from the Government of Dabaiba, taking advantage not to include the output of the Political Dialogue Forum in the constitutional declaration. And getting worse the matter, the House of Representatives appointed a new government to return the country between two executives: one in the east and the other in the west.

A return to armed conflicts?

Many following the Libyan situation believe that there is a possibility to see armed conflicts returning to the facade again. Despite the disputed Governments’ denial of a current or future occurrence of this. However, It is not a secret, that the conflict has adversely affected the country’s security situation. Terrorist organizations are back in action and in the recent months have carried out more than one bombing targeting General Haftar’s forces in southern Libya. Members of the Joint Military Committee (JMC 5 + 5) representatives of General Haftar declared their desire to re-lock the East-West coastal road, as well as to close the oil fields, located mostly in the east of the country. This foreshadows, in a way or another, the possibility of recurrence of fighting over oil control between the two parties.

An international confusion over Libya’s legitimate government and street demands elections!

Since the Russian-Ukrainian war started, international attention and focus is all on it, forgetting civil wars in the Middle East and North Africa. Libya’s UN Special Advisor Stephanie Williams has become less serious in urging the parties to conform, contrary to what was happening a year ago. She only releases statements and condemnations and demands for the disputing parties to calm down without entering into a genuine initiative that commits all parties to go in elections. Between the ongoing political conflict and the potential violence, Libyans’ main demand remains parliamentary and presidential elections for them to get rid of people that embezzled public money and ignited the situation between them.

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