HoR Tries Raising its Profile by Pushing for Intervention and Disbandment of Militias
As expected by analysts and observers of Libyan affairs, the House of Representatives passed on Wednesday two important resolutions aimed at tackling the security crisis crippling the country. In its first resolution, the HoR called for the UN Security Council to intervene in Libya so as to protect civilians and institutions currently put at risk by internal fights between factions that are increasingly coalescing in national level blocks and jeopardizing the political transition. The resolution was approved by 111 out of the 124 representatives attending the meeting. In its wording, however, the resolution does not provide details of what means the HoR expects the UN to adopt in its intervention, making it unlikely that a full blown military intervention will actually take place without a clear mandate coming from within the country. This notion is further reinforced by the statement issued yesterday by the UNSMIL mission which calls for a political solution to the crisis rather than a military imposed one. Support for UNSMIL and its approach towards Libya were also reiterated by the US, Italian, French and German governments last night through a joint statement.
Through a second resolution, the HoR ordered the disbandment of all existing militias and removed financial benefits previously allocated for those recognised by the State. The resolution (No. 7/2014), adopted by 102 out of the 104 representatives present, calls for all armed groups to either join the National Armed Forces or disband by 31st December 2014. After adopting these resolutions, the HoR decided to adjourn itself until next Sunday as per request of several of its members who noted that the institution has effectively been working non-stop for the past two weeks, a situation that explains the limited number of representatives attending yesterday’s last vote.
The adoption of these long-awaited resolutions, tackling the security situation in general and the current violence in Tripoli and Benghazi in particular, clearly raises the stakes for the HoR. At this stage, the internal standing and legitimacy of this body will be profoundly affected by its ability to garner effective external support for halting ongoing fights and by its ability to appoint a new government capable of enforcing the disbandment of militias and establishing a coherent and functional security apparatus. This is particularly true since camps and forces opposing the HoR on the ground of its ‘unofficial’ gathering in Tobruk are maintaining their narrative alive so as to possibly capitalise from it when popular discontent or disappointment with the HoR might soar as they did in the past with the GNC.