Following GNA arrival to Tripoli GNC hands over power, HoR persists
On 30 March the Presidential Council (PC) successfully arrived to Tripoli by sea after numerous attempts to fly to Mitiga airport were obstructed by militias loyal to Khalifa Al Ghwell—the PM of the now-defunct Tripoli Government. On the day of the PC’s arrival Khalifa Al Ghwell made a televised statement, calling for the PC to depart or surrender to his forces. By the next morning 31 March, he was forced to issue his written resignation. Although the fast-paced events of the past few days brought about the collapse of the GNC government in the capital, the alignment of most Tripolitanian militias with the GNA has triggered a reorganisation of hard-line forces that is likely to produce new conflicts.
Significant clashes may breakout in Tripoli and escalate rapidly forcing the GNA out of the capital. A renewed bid by Eastern LNA supporters to deny the GNA oil exports and recognition could worsen LNA infighting and fuel calls for military rule or separatism in the East. In all cases, the UN and international community’s steadfast support of the GNA is likely to pressure the eastern region into begrudgingly endorsing the process or facing more isolation. Both options would exacerbate divisions, threatening the sustainability of the deal in the medium-long term. Furthermore, GNA compliance with Eastern desires to endorse Haftar as head of the Libyan Army could trigger a proliferation and/or polarization of militias resembling that of Operation Libya Dawn following the launching of Operation Dignity.
The GNA’s arrival triggered a sharp rise in the value of the Libyan currency against the dollar in the informal market. This sent waves of optimism throughout the country that helped ease some of the hostility towards the GNA in the East. However, these effects are temporary seeing as without HoR approval the PC remains precarious and unstable. Haftar’s popularity and the LNA’s exclusion from the GNA’s security arrangements is heightening hard-line-opposition to the GNA in the East and increasing support for separatism and military rule. However, the GNA’s control of Tripoli’s fiscal institutions is likely to trump separatist and authoritarian tendencies in the near-medium term. If so the HoR in the East may collapse, mirroring the fate of the GNC in West. For now however, Haftar and Ageelah are bent on retaining LNA mobilization around the HoR and preventing commander collaboration with the PC before formal HoR approval of the GNA.