Army Ordered to Move towards Tripoli as Tribal Leaders Gather in Egypt
As the third anniversary of Mu’ammar Qadhafi’s death passed almost unnoticed, the Libyan Tobruk-based government headed by PM Abdullah Thinni issued on Tuesday an order calling on army units to head towards Tripoli to regain control of it. To wrestle the capital city back from ‘Libya Dawn’ forces, the Government has also called on the city’s youth and inhabitants to take an active role in facilitating the liberation of the city. More specifically, the governmental statement incited the population to carry out acts of civil disobedience, so as to hamper the work of the al-Hassi administration, as well as to actively join the fight against militias stationed there, in a move reminiscent of Haftar’s televised call on Benghazinos to take up arms against members of the Benghazi’s Revolutionaries Shoura Council.
Meanwhile, during the past three days, notables and representatives from various Libya’s tribes gathered in Cairo, beind closed-doors, to lay out a framework agreement for the establishment of a National Council of Tribal Affairs. According to statements coming from participants who attended the meeting, the idea behind the council is that of establishing a new platform for carrying out national dialogue initiatives running in parallel to political ones. The rationale behind this being that societal reconciliation processes would be carried out more easily and effectively by taking full advantage of those tribal markers of identity and affiliations that still resonate very powerfully in contemporary Libya.
The council’s structure and composition should be finalised within one month time and, it was stressed, the council would not try to establish itself as yet another center of administrative or executive power. Nonetheless, given the venue chosen for carrying out these meetings, and the statements of support for the HoR as Libya’s sole legitimate body made by a few attendants, it remains to be seen if this body will manage to be inclusive enough so as to achieve the strong potential it has on paper. Given the presence of a Tubu representative at Cairo’s meetings, a first test for the council and its dialogue based initiatives could very well be represented by the latest flare-up in inter-tribal violence occurring in southern Libya. In fact, after almost a year of uneasy calm, armed confrontations have flared-up again between Tubu and Touareg groups in Obari, leading to several deaths and injuries despite mediation attempts by the HoR.