Algeria and Egypt Defuse Intervention Talks as HoR Starts Its Works by Ordering Ceasefire
After gathering for its first official meeting on Monday, the House of Representatives set out to elect its President and Deputies during the past days. Participating representatives elected as President the independent lawyer Ageela Issa from Guba, who narrowly defeated initial frontrunner Abubakr Bahira during the second round of votes. Afterwards, the HoR selected Imhemed Shaib from Zawia as First Deputy Vice President and Ahmed Huma as Second Deputy. Today, the HoR got off to more substantive work. In particular, MP Ziad Daghim announced that the HoR stripped former GNC President Nuri Abu Sahmain of his role as Commander of Armed Forces and ordered for an unconditional ceasefire to be implemented under the monitoring of the UN in Tripoli and Benghazi within twenty four hours.
It remains to be seen how forces on the ground will receive this order, particularly in light of reports emerged today that Algeria has been recently asked to lead a military intervention in Libya, under the blessings of a UN and Arab League sanctioned mandate, which might be seen as a (failed) strong attempt to rein in all militias, and undercut their means and power bases, on behalf of national political institutions. Nonetheless, Algeria allegedly refused to intervene outside of its borders on the ground of the defensive role of its armed forces. A similar argument has been raised by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to justify his country’s current stand which seems to be in contradiction with the increasing internal preoccupation expressed for developments occurring in Eastern Libya. A joint statement issued last night by the US, Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian and Libyan Governments further confirmed the reluctance of regional countries to get militarily involved into Libya, even though in the past days talks of intervention have gained ground among external observers.
Finally, as mentioned yesterday, whilst international support for the HoR is strong, internal factions have taken diametrically different positions with regards to its role and legitimacy, and the situation for some HoR members and politicians appears to be still fluid. Most importantly, reports have emerged that a demonstration has been held in Misrata, calling the relocation and transfer of power procedure held in Tobruk an attempted coup against the 2011 Revolution. Furthermore, Benghazi continued to slip into the hands of the Shoura Council of Benghazi Rebels – the umbrella coalition representing various Islamist leaning groups opposed to Saiqa and Haftar forces – that announced new significant territorial gains despite an alleged ceasefire in place in the city.