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Libya: the political crisis continues, Algeria and Egypt as justices of the peace


In Libya, the two rival Prime Ministers, Abdel Hamid Dbeibah and Fathi Bachagha, are stepping up their efforts to rally neighboring countries to their respective causes. Meanwhile, Western countries have grown increasingly worried since the suspension of oil exports.

The cold war between Dbeibah and Bachagha in Libya will now have to be resolved by players on the international scene. In the past, it was enough for the countries with interests in Libya to reach an agreement in the corridors of the UN or at any summit. But we are now far from a possible consensus. The opportunity for Libya to gradually regain its full sovereignty. But at what cost ? Events mean that even today, eastern and western Libya are on the brink of armed confrontation.

Since the end of the last civil war, the Libyan army has organized itself sufficiently to prevent this hypothesis. Moreover, the world powers have their eyes fixed on other theaters. The only issue today, which pushes foreign diplomats to lobby to resolve the “impasse between the two Prime Ministers” which has lasted only too long, is that of oil.

For almost two months, Libyan oil exports have been at a standstill. On the one hand, Fathi Bachagha and his allies - the ANL of Khalifa Haftar and the parliament of Tobruk - control the National Oil Corporation (NOC) governing the production and the share of each in the black gold. On the other, the irremovable Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, as head of government, is counting on the Ministry of Petroleum and the port authorities to consolidate him in his post, and can boast of great support from the councils. tribes in the south and west of the country.

Ongoing lobbying operations

In other words, the two rivals are deliberately blocking oil production and exports. Bachagha like Dbeibah appealed to several national, then regional and international allies. A blackmail that forced all stakeholders to moderate their expectations, and soften their speeches.

The American embassy castigated at the end of April the "damage to the Libyan economy" inflicted by the position of Libyan officials. She called for finding a compromise to prevent "oil revenues from being used for partisan political purposes" and for an "immediate end to the oil embargo".

The UN mission, Manul, led by the American Stephanie Williams, keeps falling out of favor with world powers because of his incompetence in the country. From Russia to Italy, via France, Turkey and the United States, diplomats speak of a certain lack of confidence in the ability of the United Nations to resolve the politico-oil impasse, while the world is experiencing a crisis in this sector and that Europe covets Libyan oil.

Stephanie Williams pushed out

Enter Egypt on one side, and Algeria on the other. If Egypt was the first neighboring country to take part in the conflict between Bachagha and Dbeibah, since the appointment of Bachagha by the eastern parliament, Algeria is less hesitant. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced, after Dbeibah's last visit to Algiers, Algeria's support for the Libyan government.

“We have said it and we repeat it, there is no solution in Libya without a return to the people. When there are parliamentary elections, a Libyan national council, then Libya will regain its popular legitimacy,” Tebboune said.

Read: Libya: Gas and Egypt's Thucydides Trap

For its part, Egypt hosted a summit of the two Libyan parliamentary chambers, representing the east and the west, which ended on April 20. However, Egypt's bias forced parliamentarians from Tripolitania to leave the summit without a solution. Cairo directed their anger at UN Williams. According to several media, Egypt is currently seeking to mobilize "certain African countries" to present "a candidate for the succession of Stephanie Williams".

Indeed, Williams, who failed to keep her promises to find a consensus between the Libyan belligerents, had been appointed as interim leader of Manul by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres. And this, despite the categorical refusal of Turkey, Russia, and Libyan political leaders.

With Williams in the hot seat, therefore, the date of the parliamentary elections – in theory June – promised by Dbeibah is approaching. For its part, the parliament of Tobruk allows Bachagha to lead the east of the country. A territory controlled militarily by Khalifa Haftar, worried by American justice on the background of war crimes, and politically by Aguila Salah, the head of the same parliament.

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