HOR in US to push LNA’s “legitimacy” as divisions deepens within the HOR
On 24 July, a delegation from the pro-Libyan National Army (LNA) faction of the House of Representative (HoR) in eastern Libya was reported to be in Washington DC on a mission to gain US support for the LNA’s campaign to take control of Tripoli. The delegation held a series of meeting with US State Department, Defence Department and White House officials. The meetings reportedly involved the delegates promoting the LNA’s legitimacy by saying its actions in Tripoli have been sanctioned by the HoR, which they claim is a democratically elected political entity, unlike the Government of National Accord (GNA), which they deem illegitimate. The HoR delegation is being assisted by Linden Government Solutions, a lobbying firm employed by LNA head Khalifa Haftar to lobby US officials on his behalf.
Meanwhile, on 26 July, another delegation from the HoR which is established in Tripoli undertook an ‘official’ visit to Moscow to meet with Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to discuss the current state of affairs in Libya. Bogdanov is reported to have reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), and that there can be no military solution to the Libya crisis. This meeting highlights the deepening of divisions within the HOR. Indeed, when the LNA attacked Tripoli in April, the HoR membership split down pro-LNA/ anti-LNA lines, with a group of mainly western-based HoR members setting up breakaway entity in Tripoli in May.
As the US position on the conflict in Libya remains ambiguous, Libyan factions to lobby the country for support. The internal division with the HoR is indicative of broader political fragmentation within Libya, with the polarisation increasingly going along east-west lines. While the HoR has not been an effective or cohesive parliament and has frequently undermined or derailed previous political processes, this trend towards a formal division between Tubruq and Tripoli increases the threat of deeper de facto or even de jure political partition between the eastern and western regions in the longer term.