LNA advances in Southern Libya could increase GNA internal divisions
On 14 February, the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha gave an interview with al-Hurra television where he stated that the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, “played a role” in the military activities in Libya’s south and that it was “acceptable from the national point of view,” in the context of removing organised crime emerging from the region. However, Bashagha qualified his statement by saying that he hoped Haftar would play his role in national efforts, but not use the operation for political gain or to increase division.
Bashagha’s statements recognizing Haftar has a role to play are indicative of increasing rapprochement between LNA and key western figures, particularly Misrata. While such statements should not be taken to indicate the beginning of a hard and fast LNA-Misrata alliance, they nevertheless represent a willingness to tolerate one another which is at odds with Serraj’s stance towards the LNA since the start of the southern operations. This internal division within the GNA, combined with other factors, continues to drive political fragility within Libya and could lead to sudden escalations of instability.