Is the HoR Losing the Internal Battle for Legitimacy?
While the military front has been quiet during the past few hours, after Misratan-led forces established their control over Tripoli and its airport, the Libyan high politics scene has been ripe with developments. In particular, after re-conveying in Tripoli, the GNC has given mandate to Omar al-Hassi to form a National Salvation Government and invited all parties interested in re-vamping the democratic transition process and re-establishing constitutional legitimacy in the country to support it. Additionally, during the past few hours, six ministers from the Thinni government have resigned, citing governmental bias in tackling the ongoing national crisis as well as the adoption of governmental resolutions without consulting relevant ministers as the basis for their decision. These developments could spell disaster for the HoR and the caretaker government of Prime Minister Thinni. Their standing was already marred by the self-imposed re-location to Tobruk’s safe but isolated location, by the inability to achieve meaningful developments in pacifying the country and by the explicit calls made for foreign military intervention. However, now that the state’s capital city is firmly under the control of the Misratan/GNC camp, they run the risk of losing any real internal political legitimacy in the eyes of large swaths of the population which had not taken a side yet in the dispute between rival chambers. The HoR of course will not go down without a fight and has appointed a new spokesperson to bring forth its narrative. A detailed summary of most recent events can be found on the Middle East Eye.
At the international level, the UN Security Council officially weighed in on the Libyan crisis, approving a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire and promising sanctions for those that will not comply with it. The US, UK, France, Germany and Italy have also urged all parties involved to pursue a political solution based on dialogue, further condemning recent foreign strikes on Tripoli and describing them as a source of further exacerbation between parties. Furthermore, whilst Egypt has been quick in re-buffing accusations of covert military intervention in Libya, Tunisia came out strongly against the possibility of foreign military intervention and reports have emerged of Algeria hosting former GNC President Nouri Abusahmain for talks aimed at ending the ongoing crisis.
Lastly, it is worth heading to Reuters Africa for a very interesting piece focusing on the economic and financial status of Libya. In this regards, recent positive developments in the oil production sector, which has been delivering up to 650,000 barrels per day during the past few weeks, should be taken cautiously since military and political developments on the ground could easily reverse the production trend witnessed since July. Furthermore, the state budget deficit and the burden of destroyed infrastructures will make managing Libya an uphill task for whichever side will gain the upper-hand in the long run, as evidenced by quotes reported in the article:
Even if oil exports continue to flow, Libya will still post a historic budget deficit of 70 percent unless output rises to 1.6 million bpd at a price of $100 per barrel, said Husni Bey, who heads one of the of country’s largest private conglomerates. Parliament in June approved a budget worth $49 billion, assuming annual production of 600,000 bpd. But output has lingered around 100,000 bpd.
Libya does not publish oil export figures but needs up to 140,000 bpd of its production for domestic refineries. Bey said the budget crisis is exacerbated by demands to cover infrastructure damages exceeding 10 billion dinars, after the airport terminal, much of the civilian air fleet and fuel storage tanks were destroyed during more than a month of fighting in Tripoli. The government needed to use up yet more foreign currency reserves and start issuing Islamic bonds to local banks, he said.