Dead Sea, Jordan: Libya has only a few months to agree to the national dialogue proposed by the United Nations before the civil war gets a lot worse and Daesh gets a much firmer grip on the country, Mahmoud Jibril, former Libyan prime minister and leader of the National Forces Alliance political party said.
Talking to Gulf News, Jibril warned that while there were only tens of Daesh fighters six months ago, there are now more than 2,000 with gathering momentum with support from other groups including Ansar Al Sharia and Boko Haram.
“If there is an agreement, it would be possible for the combined militia forces to crush Daesh,” Jibril told Gulf News. “But without this political agreement I fear that Libya will become a black hole that will engulf all its neighbours in North Africa, the sub-Saharan Sahel and Europe.”
Bernardino Leon Gross is the UN Special Representative in Libya and has been working on the national dialogue designed to bring together the internationally recognised government which is now based in Benghazi and loosely controls about half the country, with the more Islamist “Fajr” government based in Tripoli which controls the other half with its assorted allied groups.
Leon Gross told a session of the World Economic Forum that there were signs of possible agreement between the recognised government and the Fajr camp. For example, three days ago the Misrata Municipal Council announced that they would support the national dialogue despite their allegiance to the Fajr faction. Misrata carries a special significance as many of the militias are based in that city.
In addition, Mohammad Sawan of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party also announced that he also would support the dialogue and he criticised the hardliners in Fajr’s headquarters in Tripoli for refusing to take the dialogue forward.
Leon Gross commented that these moves show some useful movement as did the acceptance of the recognised government to some very tough conditions such as that that would transfer control of the army from the parliament to the future unity government.
But Leon Gross finished his comments with a depressing answer to an earlier question as to whether he is optimistic that his dialogue will work when he quoted Winston Churchill saying “Of course I am optimistic. It is not useful to be anything else.”
Former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa joined the debate with the comment that Libya cannot solve its problems on its own, and that it is time to involve a group of Libya’s neighbouring states, which include the Arab states of Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia, the African states of Chad, Mali and Niger, and the European states of Italy and Malta.
This working group would need to front a combined effort of all the regional bodies including the African Union, Arab League, European Union and Islamic Conference which could coordinate the vital international support that Libya would need to return to normality, once the national dialogue is accepted.
Mousa also condemned utterly the European Union’s request to the UN Security Council to be allowed to use force onshore in Libya to attack the human traffickers that are shipping the thousands of refugees to Europe.
“Such a move will trigger a strong reaction from all sides in Libya, uniting all factions and tribes with the terrorists in resisting any European armed action in Libya,” he said.
The last word went to Jibril who looked ahead to 2050 when more than 350 million young people from Africa will be looking for work, and if Libya is a prosperous nation it can act as a hub for finding useful employment. If it is a black hole Libya will act a funnel for these people to seek prosperity in Europe and many other countries.