Three of the international fronts intervening in Libya are working together today. While the second Berlin summit on Libya begins this Wednesday, Saïd Chengriha has been on a working visit to Moscow for two days, and Denis Sassou N'Guesso is seeking to materialize a preventive diplomatic intervention.
A fragile peace has surrounded the Libyan dossier for several months. However, tensions are simmering in the East as in the West of the country. The presidential triumvirate and Prime Minister Dbeibah announced on Sunday the reopening of the coastal highway. Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush will present an initiative "To unify the army" during the "Berlin II" conference, held today.
Meanwhile, the Algerian Chief of Staff, Saïd Chengriha, is on an official visit in Moscow since Monday. Recall that Russia is committed alongside Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Eastern forces. This visit by the head of the Algerian army undoubtedly concerns the tensions at the Algerian borders. Indeed, Haftar set up a "closed military zone" at the Aysin crossing point, between Algeria and Libya. However, Algeria is Russia's main ally in North Africa. Thus, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Choïgou invited Chengriha, in order to operate a conventional mediation between Haftar and Algeria.
On a third front, the president of Congo-Brazzaville and the African Union (AU) Committee on Libya initiated its own talks. President Denis Sassou N'Guesso met the politico-religious leader Ibadite Farhat Jaâbiri, to discuss the situation in Libya. The AU has long been marginalized from discussions on Libya. And Sassou N'Guesso knows full well that the current status quo is very fragile. He had also condemned "all external interference" in Libya.
The West, Russia and Turkey, a fragile peace
Three parties are therefore trying to stabilize the political situation in Libya. The West, which maintains good relations with the forces of Tripolitania, has intervened several times in recent months, through UNSMIL and UN envoy Ján Kubiš. The group of the first Berlin Summit succeeded in smoothing relations between the government of Dbeibah (GNU) and Haftar.
Nevertheless, the UN, the United States and the European Union (EU) exert diplomatic pressure towards a disengagement of Russian paramilitaries from Wagner. The latter are represented by 24 soldiers in the east, who support Haftar's claims. They also clashed with European and Turkish troops during Haftar's offensive on Tripoli in 000.
The 2020 talks between Turkey and Russia defused this situation. However, this is not a definitive solution. The current peace is conditioned by the government's road map. A presidential election is due to take place on December 24, 2021. However, with the approach of the election, its organization, as well as its protagonists, are the subject of increasingly heated debate.
On the eve of # Berlin2Libya, Deputy Foreign Minister Amb. Sedat Önal met separately with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, US Special Representative on Libya Amb. Richard Norland, US Amb. to Turkey David Satterfield and discussed the preparations for the Conference. pic.twitter.com/szt5cgdqyg
—Turkish MFA (@MFATurkiye) June 22, 2021
Denis Sassou N'Guesso seeks an African solution, for Libya and North Africa
Fearing that the political momentum threatens the current peace, three African parties have mobilized recently. On the one hand, Morocco hosted veterans of Odyssey Dawn, the US operation in Libya in 2011, as well as a total of 7000 NATO troops. Military exercises took place under the command of Africom. At first glance, these exercises were intended to prepare the Moroccan army for its "last offensive" in Western Sahara. However, videos show that hundreds of Italian, British and Tunisian officers participated in the exercises. This would lead one to believe that the preparation is more intended, for NATO in any case, for a regional context than for a local conflict.
Algeria had to curb the repercussions of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune's statements. The latter had declared that the Algerian army was "ready to intervene in Libya" during the Tripoli war. An announcement that provoked Haftar, who reacted by positioning his troops on the Algerian border. Russia is therefore working to calm tensions between the Libyan Marshal and the Algerian army.
The third part, represented by the AU Committee on Libya, chaired by Congolese President Denis Sassou N'Guesso, seeks to prevent these tensions from threatening the security of Libyans. The Congolese president has therefore invited an ally with powerful diplomatic potential, Sheikh Jaâbiri, imam of the African Ibadi community. This envoy has consulted with the AU representative on the Libyan issue. The details of their trade are subject to much speculation. However, the Ibadites often represent a lever for peace in the desert region between southern Libya and Algeria. Would conventional diplomatic intervention be the solution for a real agreement between Tripoli and Benghazi? The unfolding of the Berlin Summit will surely say more.
CHEIKH FARHAT JAABIRI, one of the references of the Ibadi community, came this June 20, 2021, to translate to the Head of State Denis Sassou N'Guesso, president of the AU high-level committee on Libya, the support of the Ibadi community, in its action in the Libyan conflict. pic.twitter.com/xnpsggbfns
- Presidency of the Republic (@PR_Congo) June 20, 2021