Will Lifting the Libyan Arms Embargo Help Beat ISIS?
Focusing on how to defeat ISIS in Libya, Parallax News addressed the issue of the UN arms embargo against Libya. Three perspectives and three divergent policy prescriptions are presented: those of Secretary of State John Kerry, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Jason Pack, President of Libya-Analysis and Founder of Eye on ISIS in Libya. Kerry believes that an exemption to the arms embargo should be carved out for arming the US and UN-backed GNA. On the other hand, Sisi supports wholly lifting the embargo as he supports General Haftar and this would be the only way to get weapons to him legally. Of course, lifting the arms embargo completely would have the deleterious effect of arming multiple rival factions simultaneously (e.g. GNA, PFG, LNA, and jihadists) likely exacerbating Libya’s civil war. Differing from both Kerry and Sisi, Pack believes the arms embargo should not be lifted as it would be rewarding Libyan factions before they have actualized a genuine anti-ISIS coalition. It would be like offering a child cake before cleaning his room.
“The GNA is the only entity that can unify the country. It is the only way to ensure that vital institutions… fall under representative and acknowledged authority. … It is the only way to generate the cohesion necessary to defeat Daesh [IS],” Kerry said. In order to draft an exemption to the embargo, the UN-backed GNA must create a list of supplies it needs and wait for approval from the UN Security Council.
El-Sisi said, “the arms embargo on the Libyan National Army (LNA) must be lifted in order for it to be able to perform its duties properly.” El-Sisi believes supporting the LNA is the best chance for fighting ISIS in Libya and stabilizing the country. The LNA, however, is not aligned with Serraj’s UN-backed GNA.
“Libya currently has no elected or sovereign government. The GNA – even if they are our allies – shouldn’t get more weapons because they haven’t done anything to deserve it yet. They have promised to fight ISIS but only recently have they made advances towards Sirte,” Pack told Parallax News.
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