The Libya Case .. Monthly ReportApril 25, 2017
February - 2017
Table of Contents
II. Executive Summary
1. The Internal Political Situation
2. The Foreign Political Situation
3. The Security Situation
4. The Religious Situation
5. Local Administrations
6. The Economy Case
7. The Local Governance Case
8. The Social Case
9. The Cultural Case
10. The Media Case
I am pleased to present the Libya Case Report that is issued monthly by the Libyan Organization Of Policies & Strategies (LOOPS) as its recognition of the importance of information in our present era in the field of public policy making and the implementation of existing policies and as its emphasizing on the need to organize the information related to the Libyan case in terms of archiving, organizing, analyzing, and then evaluating. The monthly report provides an extensive review for the following dossiers: the internal political situation related to power and political decision-making process, the foreign situation related to the ring countries and regional and international organizations, monitoring the security situation in terms of the performance of security institutions and armed groups, the developments of the military situation and terrorism issue, in addition to following-up with the issue of smuggling, border crossings and immigration. The report will also document the media situation, monitor violations and evaluate the extent of compliance with journalism ethics and standards, as well as tackling the religious situation by following-up the positions of religious institutions and groups in Libya. The report will as well provide an extensive summary of the economic situation and living conditions of Libyan citizens, and it will address the cultural and social situation in the country, examine the local administration's performance in light of the decline of central authority's effectiveness, in addition to following-up the scientific and cultural situation in the country.
The report applies methodological tools in analyzing data and developments in order to formulate accurate predictions of the process of events in Libya through a comprehensive documentation of events and daily news based on reliable and diverse news sources that are cross-checked to ensure its accuracy. The reporting team depends on this diversity to provide an intensive monthly presentation of events.
The report also relies on a wide and enormous database of events, statements, positions and developments in Libya and data that is regionally and internationally related to the Libyan affairs, gathered on a daily basis, and it will be presented later on in an extended annual report of the situation in Libya through the dossiers mentioned above.
The Libya Case Report aims at increasing effectiveness and ability of the tools of the Libyans decision makers in order to implement sound and effective policies in dealing with the Libyan crisis, and in helping the decision makers to scientifically and accurately evaluate the Libyan situation. The report also provides a comprehensive and accurate view to the non-Libyans who are interested in the Libyan affairs both at the level of individuals or institutions.
Finally, issuing the Libya case report on monthly basis contributes to dissipating the fogginess of the Libyan scene, and untangling the complexity of events resulting from the escalating pace due to the speedy emergence of new hotspots of tension that are accompanying each new development of the Libyan crisis given the internal factors and external interventions.
Prof. Dr. Awad Ibraik Ibrahim
Chairman of the Libyan Organization Of
Policies & Strategies (LOOPS)
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It could be said that February 2017 in Libya is the month of the beginning of “shuffling of cards”. In fact, since the outbreak of operations "Dignity" and "Libya Dawn", the stalled political process has not known a broad downturn until the General Commander of the parliament-affiliated army, Marshal "Khalifa Haftar" rejected the request of the Egyptian ally to meet with the Presidential Council Chairman, "Fayez Sarraj". Both officials showed up, while "Haftar" was accompanied by the Chairman of the House of Representatives “Agila Saleh”. Cairo sought to bring together the three officials as an attempt to crown its diplomatic efforts. For months, the Egyptian diplomacy worked to communicate with most of the political and regional spectrum which is politically and militarily conflicting.
Marshal Haftar's rejection sparked astonishment to the point that we heard critical views from the heart of "Barga" (Cyrenaica) and in the corridors of the House of Representatives of what they described as intransigence. Supporters warned that the intransigence of "Haftar" will slide the country into a civil war which we could predict how it will begin; however, it is not easy to predict how it will end.
Amid the shuffling of cards, we note the atrophy of power structures emanating from the Political Agreement represented in the Presidential Council, which is undergoing a chronic internal dispute, and the Government of National Accord (GNA), which has not yet been granted the confidence of MPs. GNA was unable to liquidate funds from the Central Bank of Libya as planned during the meetings of London, Rome, and Tunis about the 2017 budget. Another entity emanated from the Political Agreement is the High Council of State which is still convening outside of its first headquarter.
The atrophy of the Political Agreement was faced in February by a broader presence of Khalifa Ghwell's Government of National Salvation which continued to control a number of Ministry headquarters. On the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the 17th of February Revolution, the National Salvation Government celebrated in the VIP Hall at "Tripoli International Airport” and announced, from "Tripoli," the establishment of a national guard which is supported by the Mufti "Sadiq Al- Ghariani" and a number of armed formations amongst which is the "Benghazi" Defense Brigades.
The Political Agreement, as a whole, did not undergo any practical change besides the proposals adopted by the neighboring countries, African Union, Arab League, and the UN mission in Libya. These proposals gained the support of major powers officials from Russia, the United States, and Europe, who are concerned with the Libyan affairs. Their support was focused on the need to amend the form and line-up of the Presidential Council and find a suitable position for "Haftar" in the political process without outweighing other opponents.
The situation of the four legislative authorities represented in the House of Representatives, Council of State, General National Congress, and the Constitutional Drafting Assembly is a reflection of the political collision. In fact, the House of Representatives did not succeed in even reforming its Political Dialogue Committee, which made the talks about granting confidence to the National Accord Government a long-distant hope. The Council of State did not manage to exercise broader legislative prerogatives despite its declaration on this regard released at the end of 2016. The General National Congress (GNC), with its few members, continues to support the Ghwell's government. Meanwhile, it is expanding its alliance with Fatwa Council (Dar al-Ifta). The Committee of Sixty members did not reach a consensus to take the Committee out of the bottleneck it entered due to boycotting deputies from the west, cultural components, and the sessions held in Sultanate of Oman.
Confrontations and war have also impacted the performance of the three National Accord, Salvation, and Interim governments, despite of the attempts of Salvation and Interim governments to establish an understanding that could weaken or overthrow the National Accord government, according to what was understood from the statement given by the Prime Minister of the Salvation government "Khalifa Ghwell" in February. This resulted in the continued inability of the three governments to improve the overall services offered to society. In fact, basic services such as electricity, water, health care, and education are still facing serious difficulties. Such conditions are affecting the livelihood of people, not only in the suburbs and outskirts, but also in the urban areas, including "Tripoli" where the headquarters of two governments are located. Besides, the stifling liquidity crisis and the inability of State to control the exchange rate of Libyan Dinar against the Dollar have directly impacted the prices of basic commodities.
In February, the suffering of the municipal councils continued. They are plagued by problems related to the scarcity of resources, low liquidity transferred from the various governments, and other several crises. Amidst the lack of capacities, some councils are facing the problem of smuggling and the increasing flow of illegal immigration every day. Some councils reached the point of contacting some western capitals such as Rome seeking ways to reduce the immigration waves. Yet, the municipal councils are making their utmost to serve the population within their administrative scopes. They sometimes manage to cooperate with Libyan and foreign relief organizations and they strive to maintain the continuity of the education process, as well as providing the necessary health services.
Families from "Sirte" continued their way back to their areas in coordination with the municipal council of "Sirte" and officials in the "Al-Bonyan Al-Marsous" Forces who are carrying on their efforts in securing the city, demining, and collecting bodies.
This is how February drew two separate scenes in Libya. The first one combined dispute and fighting due to conflict over power, or at times for regionalism or ideologically-related reasons. The second scene, which may not be noticed by many, compiled the continuous efforts of municipal councils, several local associations, and local dignitary councils which have led to the continuation of life and healing the social rifts.
The Internal Political Case
February came to end while the internal political situation is increasingly dismantled and gaps are widening between the State institutions existing prior to the Political Agreement and those emanating from it. All this has been deepened by the intensity of political collision and division which were clearly manifested through the extended presence of the National Salvation Government in "Tripoli". In addition, Libya's neighboring countries failed in persuading parties to the conflict in Libya to sit at the dialogue table.
The House of Representatives (HoR) did not succeed in forming a committee that represents it in dialogue sessions due to disagreements among MPs on the mechanism of formation; whether selecting the representatives of MPs through constituencies or from the three regions. In addition, HoR has reservations about the fact that Presidential Council (PC) is signing treaties with European countries believing that PC is not authorized to sign them. On the other hand, the High Council of State continued proving its existence as an original actor in the political dialogue process and in any amendment that may arise to "Skhirat" Political Agreement.
February recorded the absence of Presidential Council in State institutions management; while the Government of National Salvation headed by "Khalifa Ghwell" controls a number of Ministries headquarters. Over five months ago, the salvation government seized the presidential palaces in "Nasr Forest" area and took them as headquarters from which it operated after it expelled the Presidential Council emanating from "Skhirat" Agreement. The National Salvation government announced the formation of a National Guard Force, which is entrusted with the functions of securing the capital and fighting organized crime. Its announcement was widely condemned internationally including by the UN.
The Presidential Council was active in trying to address the issue of contracts Libya signed with foreign companies in an effort to persuade them to return back to Libya and resume their work in accordance with the contracts. The Presidential Council also sought the reopening of foreign embassies in the capital "Tripoli".
Amid the widening of the political and military conflict, the efforts made to establish a national reconciliation were reduced despite the initiative of Libya's neighbours Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria and their strive to solve the Libyan crisis.
The political stalemate and military conflict are likely to continue in front of the acute political conflict and the failure of international parties to achieve face-to-face meetings between parties to the conflict in Libya to pave the way towards bringing together all the parties. All this amid the continuing intervention of several foreign actors, which further hinder the consensus of Libyan parties and widen the scope of war in Libya.
The non-recognition by the HoR and several other powers in "Tripoli" of the institutions emanating from the "Skhirat" Agreement and institutions supporting it is making the political scene and current situation on the ground very difficult, in addition to the continuous state of chaos.
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