Ramadan Starts without any Peace Deal in Libya
The self-imposed deadline of June 18th for finalizing a peace deal between the two national-level blocs in Libya came and went without results and, somewhat surprisingly, without much attention in the media, neither at the national level, nor at the regional or international ones. Despite this, and despite the outright objection coming from the HoR to the fourth draft circulated a few weeks ago by UNSMIL, the process drags on with both sides too scared of being seen as responsible for the definitive collapse of the negotiations option. Furthermore, at least in the case of the Tobruk-based bloc, it is likely that pressures coming from key Western partners and stakeholders facilitated the decision to establish yet another committee to study the proposal in detail.
Meanwhile, in western Libya, even though truces and peace deals negotiated between the LNA and various pro-Libya Dawn communities are still holding, the consolidation of the ‘Steadfast Front’, headed by Misratan hardliner Salah Badi, seems to indicate that fighting in and around the Libyan capital can resume and flare up at any point. Badi and his allies have in fact reiterated their intention of protecting Tripoli, crushing any potential LNA advance towards the capital city or any other Libya Dawn controlled area. Tensions and growing factionalism, however, are not unique to the Libya Dawn camp.
As for the Dignity-aligned LNA forces, in fact, previously registered tensions between Khalifa Haftar and Faraj al-Barassi resurfaced during the course of the last week when Haftar expelled al-Barassi, relieving him of any role in the planning for the liberation of Derna. It is likely that political considerations played a role in Haftar’s decision of abruptly expelling al-Barassi for a second time, despite the crucial tribal balance that his presence among OD commanders his presence grants. Rumours indicate in fact that al-Barassi has been recently cozying up to federalists who in turn are starting to feel frustrated with the results of one year of Haftar military leadership in eastern Libya. Nonetheless, as already seen in the Thinni vs al-Sunki case, the decision taken by Haftar has been largely ignored by al-Barassi who is reportedly building links with another expelled LNA commanders: Colonel Idris Mahdi, the ‘former’ Commander of the western region recently dismissed by Haftar for his criticism of the scarce attention and planning dedicated by OD higher echelons to western Libya in the past few months. In this climate of instability and exasperated factionalism, it remains to be seen for how much longer Libya will be able to avoid the downfall in a full-blown and irriversible civil war.