Since the death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, peace has been a rare commodity in Libya. Now in Moscow, however, there is an opportunity for both sides in the nation’s conflict to sign a ceasefire agreement, sealing the terms of a cessation in fighting that took effect over this past weekend.
While the fine print of the ceasefire agreement has yet to be finalised and released, getting all parties to this stage is indeed good news for the people of Libya. Its immediate effect, however, will be to end nine months of fighting between forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli — largely based to the nation’s west — and eastern-based forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA).
As part of the process for building a lasting peace, militias need to recognise that Libya’s future is dependent on a political process that depends not on the bullet but on the ballot, not on foreign fighters but on all Libyans, and not on alien allies but on Arabs alone
GNA head Fayez Al Sarraj has called on all Libyans to “turn the page on the past, reject discord and to close ranks to move towards stability and peace”. His administration, however, has been buoyed by the arrival of military forces from Turkey — an intervention that is both unwelcome and unhelpful in the Arab nation.
Forces of the LNA led by Khalifa Haftar have made significant gains on territory as they swept westwards, taking the strategic city of Sirte on January 6 in their advance on Tripoli. The ceasefire being sealed in Moscow offers an opportunity now to disarm the militias and for Turkey to withdraw its forces from Libya, allowing Arabs to find a lasting solution to an Arab issue in an Arab nation.
As part of the process for building a lasting peace, militias need to recognise that Libya’s future is dependent on a political process that depends not on the bullet but on the ballot, not on foreign fighters but on all Libyans, and not on alien allies but on Arabs alone.
There can no room for Turkey and its military in Libya and no place for the Muslim Brotherhood when it comes to building a stable and secure Libyan nation. The unwelcome intervention by Turkey and its opportunist military intervention has made a bad situation worse. With a ceasefire deal now on the table, Ankara should take its cue and bow out.
Whatever his eccentricities, Gaddafi did at least provide a decent standard of living and education to his people. Over the past nine years, it is those people who have been pushed aside as non-Arab forces tried to reshape Libya to their liking. Now would be the perfect time to cut those foreign ties.