Will Arming Libya’s ‘Unity’ Government Escalate Conflict?
In the wake of the May 16 Vienna Conference’s landmark decision to lift the UN embargo on arms to the GNA, this blog was quoted by Voice of America’s Jamie Dettmer. In reality, I am opposed to the lifting of the arms embargo for a slightly different reason than Mr Dettmer wrote. Although the fault is not his since he was simple quoting my blog. My concern is that it is rewarding the GNA but they haven’t done anything to deserve a reward yet. We should only give them arms once they actually attack ISIS, which they have not done. I am not concerned with the international community championing the GNA. They should do that, but they should do that in a way that creates or facilitates unity to face ISIS. That is the key point.
Jason Pack of the consultancy Libya-Analysis said he feared loosening the arms embargo “could fuel tensions rather than deter them,” adding that “an injection of weapons to the GNA is likely to amplify factional rivalries” rather than help tamp them down.
“The international community’s undeterred championing of the GNA seems increasingly out of step with Libyans’ sentiments,” Pack said, noting growing public support for Haftar. The Gadhafi-era general and his forces have made gains in recent weeks against IS and other militants in Benghazi, Derna and Ajdabiya.