House of Representatives Postpones First Meeting Amid Violence and Displacements
With the battle for Tripoli’s Airport entering its third week and Benghazi witnessing significant advances from the Islamist side, foreign governments are scrambling to evacuate their citizens and diplomatic missions from Libya, with the British Embassy representing the latest in a long series of closures. The situation at the border crossing of Ras Ajdair remains tense, with efforts being made by Tunisian and Libyan authorities to facilitate a quick solution to the ongoing crisis and the transfer of stranded workers, especially Egyptians. Those who succeed in fleeing the country describe the current situation as being far worse than that witnessed at any point during the Revolution, due also to the use of indiscriminate shelling that is causing an increasingly large number of internally displaced people.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives postponed until Monday its inaugural meeting. The decision came after an informal gathering held in Tobruk on Saturday that saw the participation of 152 of the houses nominal 200 members. However, it is important to stress that while a substantial number of elected representatives attended this meeting, reports indicate that no Misratans were present. As Libyans are hoping for the House of Representatives to quickly establish a government capable of bringing violence to a halt, the decision to boycott its meetings by members elected in Misrata could prove to be the final straw for the House of Representatives’ internal legitimacy and effectiveness. Furthermore, in a statement showing the degree of polarisation and zero-sum logic openly displayed by politicians in Libya, Muhammad Suwan, the President of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood connected Justice and Construction Party, declared that the military operations occurring around Tripoli’s airport were a legitimate response to Haftar’s Operation Dignity in Benghazi. The statement, initially reported by Associated Press, has been denied since through the party’s Facebook page.
Lastly, after a series of concerned remarks from Egyprian President Abdel Fattah Sisi, former Arab League General Secretary Amr Moussa announced that Egypt might step up its role in the ongoing Libyan crisis over concern for regional and internal stability, invoking the country’s right to self defense in light of the political and security vacuum that currently characterizes the region of Cyrenaica.