Libyan crisis: what can be expected?

The commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Marshal Khalifa Haftar, confirmed that he would send representatives to participate in the Joint Military Commission in the “5 + 5” format.

The decision to create it was made during the conference on the Libyan settlement in Berlin. Experts positively assess the intention of the Libyan marshal, but they believe that it will be very difficult to achieve peace in this country, since serious contradictions between the parties have not yet been resolved.

The commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, confirmed that he was ready to send his delegates to participate in the meetings of the Joint Military Commission in the “5 + 5” format, which are expected to begin shortly in Geneva. This was reported on Twitter by the UN mission in Libya.

Khalifa Haftar made this statement following negotiations with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Libya, Hasan Salam, and his Deputy for Political Affairs, Stephanie Williams. The parties also discussed options for possible political and economic interaction.

Chaos and war

After the overthrow and assassination of the leader of the Libyan Jamahiriya Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya for many years plunged into military-political chaos. On the territory of the country has not been created a unified system of government. There are, de facto, two political centers that fight each other.

In the northeast of Libya, in the city of Tobruk, a provisional government is headed by Abdullah at-Thani. He is supported by the Libyan National Army under the command of Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Tobruk confronts Tripoli, where at one time the Islamic forces fighting against Gaddafi settled. In 2014, an alternative “government of salvation” and the New General National Congress were founded here.

During 2014-2015, Tripoli and Tobruk fought against each other. LNA even managed to occupy the large city of Benghazi as part of this campaign.

According to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in January 2020, Ankara’s support for the government of national accord in Libya is aimed at ending the “bloodshed in the country.”

Turkey is not the only country taking part in the fate of Libya today. At the beginning of 2020, Russia made efforts to establish a dialogue between the warring parties in Libya.

The Russian leadership invited representatives of the Turkish military leadership, as well as Faiz Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, to Moscow to participate in the negotiations. LNA commander Khalifa Haftar left Russia without signing a ceasefire agreement with Faiz Sarraj. However, the Libyan marshal subsequently sent a letter to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in which he thanked him for his efforts to establish peace in Libya.

The Russian side continues to actively support the settlement process in Libya. On January 31, the parties held telephone conversations between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. State leaders discussed the practical implementation of the outcome of the Berlin conference. As the Russian president noted, the decisions made in Berlin must be agreed with the parties to the conflict in Libya.

“Russia focuses on the fact that both Khalifa Haftar and Faiz Sarraj must take part in the negotiations. Moscow believes that the Libyan crisis can be resolved only through inclusive dialogue without preconditions”, – said Grigory Lukyanov, an expert at the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs.

He recalled that Haftar announced his willingness to send representatives to work with the Joint Military Commission earlier.

According to Lukyanov, the mediation efforts of Moscow, which had previously organized the negotiations of the parties, are yielding results: Khalifa Haftar has already shown that he is ready to participate in the peace process. However, this is not enough to resolve the conflict, the expert said.

“Now the GNA is based on its own military successes, Marshal Haftar is confident that he can negotiate the surrender of Tripoli and the GNA. From the point of view of the Tobruk government, which he represents, now a temporary cabinet should be formed in Libya, but it should not have bright figures from the GNA. For his part, Sarraj does not want to negotiate until the blockade is lifted from Tripoli”, – Lukyanov explained.

The expert is sure that until these contradictions are resolved, the parties will not be able to reach a compromise. A similar point of view is shared by the president of the Institute of Asian and African Countries of Moscow State University, Mikhail Meyer.

“The readiness of Marshal Haftar to send delegates to the Joint Military Commission, of course, can be regarded as an expansion of opportunities for resolving the situation. But for now, there is no need to talk about fast positive progress”.