Liberate Libya from the UN
I have finally waded into the debate on the UN Libya Scandal and how the West should re-calibrate their Libya strategy in its wake.
Libya is a land of superlatives: Africa’s greatest oil reserves, the world’s highest recorded temperature, the present global leader in both migrant trafficking drownings and the proliferation of heavy arms, the world’s most traffic fatalities per capita, and the only country in history to have a multi-polar civil war in which all warring factions receive salaries from the same institution – the Libyan Central Bank. Adding to this sordid list, the past two weeks have just earned the country a new dubious distinction – global scandal epicenter. It is perhaps fitting, therefore, that the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC is located in the Watergate building.
The exposition of Leon’s subterfuge has finally sparked US Secretary of State John Kerry to demand such a conference at a recent meeting in Tunisia. And yet, the targeting of an air strike Friday against the top Islamic State official in Libya, Abu Nabil al-Anbari, rather than working to build an anti-IS coalition, is a step in the wrong direction. Only a robust political response to the failure of the UN process can deal with the scale of the mess in Libya. Targeted assassinations against jihadists will not solve the political failures that gives IS a breeding ground and safe haven in Libya.
Since the UN claims to be an irreplaceable institution with a unique capacity to foster global stability, one would think it could engage in a robust attempt to stop the bleeding and restore some semblance of impartiality.
A huge apology from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon distancing himself from Leon would have done the trick. But now the moment has passed. The UN has showed that it is a hopelessly tangled and soulless bureaucracy, where functionaries do whatever it takes to hold onto their jobs – no more, no less. Ban has stuck to the line of Leon claiming that the UN process is to be judged according to its supposed “achievements”. His lack of global leadership is almost as striking as his lack of charisma. With the UN’s credibility in tatters, the concept of an internationally mediated peace process for Libya is essentially moribund and discredited.
The time has come for the US, Europe, and their Middle Eastern allies to act outside the UN framework and to slap multilateral sanctions on all the war criminals and spoilers on both sides. It is also time to call a spade a spade and to acknowledge that the HoR’s democratic mandate lapsed on 20 October such that Libya therefore lacks a sovereign or legitimate government and is essentially terra nullius - or “nobody’s land”.
To read the full article please click here.