The recent news that came out of the neighborhood of Qammarth, in Tunis, where the Libya Political Agreement amendment negotiations took place confirms that the General Khalifa Haftar is the cause of the block in negotiations. The delegation from the House of Representatives (HOR) – or some members of the delegation – insist on including Haftar in the agreement and placing him in a senior position of the military establishment, while the members of the Supreme Council of State have a preference to rely on institutions and not people.
I believe that the Supreme Council of State could possibly accept a leadership position for Khalifa Hafter so that the Council can ensure independent decision decisions and eventual take over attempt of military and security in the country.
The rationale of these agreements and decisions in their theoretical formulation form the basis for a political settlement but do not guarantee the application of the agreement. Enforcement of the agreement in through the strength of the people, the ability to practically implement the terms of the agreement on the ground, and through comprehensive consensus.
There is no unified military force capable of implementing the agreement, and it is clear that full reconciliation is not possible in light of the differences that have been expressed between the two delegations. Therefore, the expected scenarios are:
- The entrenchment of the status quo and the entrenchment of each party over its political gains, which means accepting division and progress towards partition.
- Reaching a vague agreement that can be interpreted according to the wishes of each side, which means a slight change in the political equation and limited development in the alignment, without reaching a unified government capable of dealing with the deteriorating security and services situation.
- The failure of the peaceful option will lead to an armed confrontation in which regional parties can play a key role; ultimately weakening the authority of the Supreme Council and empowering the HOR’s military forces.
The Supreme Council of State is negotiating today with a vision based on balanced consensus and reliance on competence of individuals in office, rather than allegiance and nepotism for a person or party. The Council does not have mechanisms to impose its vision other than support from international parties. But this support could turn in favor of a new approach that does not align with the Supreme Council. The strategy of international parties is to search for a quick exit to stabilize, an exit when the situation deteriorates due to political obstruction of eith politically or militarily strong parties, in this case the HOR and its armed forces.
Khalifa haftar was successful in stealing time and designing political equivalency and security for his benefit both locally and nationally. He has quickly build a military and moved forward in the stages of his military project until he has taken control of the eastern regions for the most part, some presence in the southern region and limited presence in the West and central Libya. On the other hand, the Government of National Accord has a weaker military despite that it supersedes Haftar in numbers and experience.
According to the current political and security situation, the collapse of the negotiations will keep Khalifa Haftar alone in the playing field. The objects of the political agreement will have no value, and may not be legitimate. Power is the rule and Haftar has relatively more grassroots support and there is no one to challenge him; this will allow him to rise to power through the tampered talks in Tunisia. He has said on more than one occasion that he will give them until December 17, the date of the deadline for the political agreement.
On the other hand, because Haftar is betting on the military decision, it is not expected that this will happen without a price, and it could be a heavy price, through clashes in the capital and major cities.
These potential results are not in the calculations of the dialogue delegation, nor do they realize the consequence of the collapse of negotiations for a citizen who is exhausted by the economic crisis. Since they do not comprehend the impact it is a serious mistake to consider themselves the guardians of the Libyan people and to determine the fate of these people by leading them into a new a new stage of crisis.
Senoussi Al-Basikri / Director of the Libyan Center for Research and Development