How long can Haftar challenge the international consensus?
The International Crisis Group has published an article by Issandr El Amrani discussing Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar recent dismissal of the UN backed Accord. El Amrani explores a series of critical questions following Haftar’s declaration and asks “how long Haftar can continue to challenge, without any consequences, the international consensus that a political solution to the Libyan conflict must be found.” In the article El Amrani suggests that there is a need for a clear unified response from the international community:
The potential for a new escalation from various camps has increased, not least because Haftar’s declaration has added fuel to Libya’s slow-burning fires. The UN Security Council and states that have supported the peace process have been muted in their response until now. Most actors prefer to avoid comment or merely to reiterate, as did the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Libya, Ghassan Salamé on 17 December, calls that parties to the conflict should “refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process”. Perhaps they calculate that no actual hostile action has been taken and that Haftar’s declaration has been a flop, as some of his opponents argue, and can be ignored.
Libyans, however, are watching closely and may interpret this silence as a lack of interest, if not assent. Given that successive efforts by international actors to engage with Haftar in pursuit of a negotiated political settlement have yet again met with his defiance, they should speak out more forcefully and condemn this latest attempt at undermining it. It is particularly important that private frustrations be vented publicly by Haftar’s regional allies, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, who appear to have been snubbed by their client once again, as well as countries such as France and Russia, which have done much to engage with him and push him toward diplomacy over the past year.
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