NOC Unity Deal, East West Tensions, and ISIS Pinned in Sirte
One hundred days after the GNA’s arrival to Tripoli, it is still in no securer situation with the larger political forces than when it arrived. In fact, its position is arguably worse. Security conditions remain volatile with militias aligned to the GNA politically, increasingly hostile to it, the liquidity crisis remains severe, the value of the Libyan dinar in the informal markets is lower than when the GNA took power, and power black outs continue to plague the capital. The key political deadlock preventing the GNA from becoming a true and legitimate Unity government is still strong. Four ministers of the GNA cabinet (all from eastern Libya) effectively resigned on 1 July entrenching the east-west political divide. Only the Presidential Council’s Fathi Al Majbary, and Defence Minister Mahdi Al Barghathi now remain as political positions from Eastern Libya, both increasingly losing public support in the East as the LNA continues to gain ground in Benghazi and Ajdabiya while the GNA is seen as inept.
While the two key rival factions, Haftar and the Misratans are both making significant gains against ISIS in Sirte and Benghazi, mistrust and inter-factional politics continues to block attempts at a reconciliation and unification of the national political process. The agreement between the NOCs may be a key pillar for which a political settlement can be built upon in the coming weeks. Yet it seems unlikely that this will augur a breakthrough on uniting the GNA and HoR unless other developments in different domains are soon added to it.