Everyone urges a ‘political solution’ in Libya, but is it even possible?

Since the 2011 uprising which toppled and killed longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, the international community has sought to achieve peace and stability in the North African country. It has been eight years, and almost all meetings on Libya demand one thing: a political solution.

These efforts witnessed ups and downs over the years, but the current battle for the capital has wrecked any hope for a peace deal between the rival factions and threatened a further disrupt of the OPEC member’s oil industry.

The Libyan National Army (LNA), backed by several countries, most notably the United Arab Emirates and, Egypt, announced on April 4 that launched an offensive on Tripoli, seeking to take it and western Libya from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Just before the war in Tripoli, the international community was holding its breath as the two governments agreed to the UN-backed national conference in Ghadams that was supposed to be held in the middle of April.

However, the LNA had a different plan. The war has continued for the second month in a row, rendering the political process even more complicated.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has called repeatedly for a humanitarian truce during which all parties pledge to halt all forms of military operations.

The death toll of the violence in the Libyan capital has exceeded 450 people, while the number of the wounded has hit over 2,500, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Further, as many analysts and politicians today consider the NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 a failure despite ousting its long-time dictator, foreign interference in Libyan affairs is publicly rejected, even by the foreign parties themselves.

However, both Sarraj and Haftar have been visiting different countries to find foreign support, political or perhaps military, since the outbreak of the Tripoli battle.

Some countries have been visited by one of the two leaders, and some countries have been visited by the two of them. For example, only Sarraj visited Turkey, and only Haftar visited Egypt, but Haftar is scheduled to visit Paris after Sarraj recently did.

Italy, France, the US and the UN have launched an initiative after another for years now, though not like the 2011 NATO campaign, but all have culminated in so little.

The GNA has the condition of an LNA retreat before a truce is accepted, and the LNA insists on its advance.

“Both factions accuse each other of using militants and terrorists. The GNA is backed by the UN, but the LNA is backed by an elected parliament. A return to the negotiation table with all the internal and international divisions seems unlikely, at least for a while.”


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