“Too many cooks spoil the broth” in mediating Libyan peace
Elissa Miller and Karim Mezran have written an article for the Cairo Review of Global Affairs exploring how efforts to mediate peace in the Libyan crisis have, rather than end hostilities, seen conflict persist. Miller and Merzan detail the series of UN led attempts since 2014, criticizing United Nations Special Representative and Head of UNSMIL Bernardino Leon’s 2014 political dialogue as “weak”, and suggest that in general regional mediation efforts in Libya have contributed little to legitimizing the UN process. The authors argue:
The plethora of mediation efforts led by various regional and international actors has overall hindered legitimate progress toward a negotiated solution for Libya. On the face of it, Libya’s neighbors and international stakeholders rhetorically support the UN process and the LPA (although there exists a general consensus that the LPA must be amended). Yet these actors have simultaneously pursued their own interests in Libya and to varying degrees hijacked the negotiation process. The UN Support Mission to Libya has candidly acknowledged the threat that these multiple-negotiation tracks pose to the UN process in Libya. As Special Envoy and current head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salamé of Lebanon, said in September 2017 following Paris’s efforts, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” The UN mission cannot credibly work with Libyans to find a solution to the conflict while its nominal supporters engage in actions that ultimately undercut its efforts. Indeed, Macron and others purport to support UNSMIL but their maneuvers weaken UN authority. It also strengthens Haftar’s position, as Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and Paris appear to have aligned themselves with the strongman. This is probably why the UN has not been able to seize ownership over the process or change the current course.
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