By Abdullah Al-Kabir, a Libyan writer
The spokesman for the Government of National Unity (GNU) announced the postponement of the date of the meeting of the GNU, headed by Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah , scheduled for last Monday in Benghazi, without mentioning the reasons for the postponement. Although these reasons were known to all, since the announcement of the government’s visit to Benghazi and the threat to prevent it by Haftar’s militia, did not stop through social media, and these militias carried out their threats to prevent the delegation of government protocols and guards from entering Benghazi, even with Dbeibah responding to some of Haftar's militia’s conditions to appoint those close to him in government positions, the militias did not back down from their position and prevented the government from entering Benghazi and holding meetings with its officials to consider the city's needs, its reconstruction plan, restoration of what was destroyed by the war, and preparing ways for the return of the displaced.
This development predicts that the obstacles facing the GNU will be concentrated in eastern Libya, specifically Benghazi, the stronghold of Haftar and his militias that control the military and security scene in it, and who are able to move the mob to send messages that they want to send to the government and other political parties.
It is reported that the Egyptian government will intervene to mediate between Dbeibah and Haftar so that the government can meet in Benghazi at a later date. If the mediation succeeds, and this is expected, then it is certain that there are other conditions that Dbeibah will have to agree to. The Egyptian keenness to enable the GNU to operate in eastern Libya is mainly due to the Egyptian government's desire to implement the agreements concluded with the Dbeibah government during the recent visit of the Egyptian government delegation to Tripoli so that Egypt can return to play an active role in the Libyan crisis and take advantage of promising economic opportunities in Libya after the fighting fronts subsided.
Egypt's rapprochement with Turkey after a rupture and hostility that lasted for years, is likely to turn Egypt towards playing a different role from its previous role in the Libyan crisis, and the results of this rapprochement will be positively reflected on the situation in Libya, but not to the point of restraining Haftar in order not to continue obstructing the implementation of the political agreement sponsored by the United Nations Mission in Geneva, because Haftar diversified his international and regional alliances, and if Egypt reduces its support, he will obtain support from other parties, and then this international silence over his defiance of the international will means that Russia, the Emirates, and perhaps France do not mind his continuing threat of the fragile stability that is threatened with collapse. The fact that no position has been issued by the UN mission, the European Union, or the American embassy regarding obstructing the government’s work is a very dangerous indication that elections can be held on the date announced in the road map, and inevitably this international silence, if it continues, will encourage Haftar to continue with the same approach, which has already been followed by the previous Skhirat agreement.
Dbeibah’s recent visit to Moscow did not seem to have succeeded in changing the Russian position, despite the great economic promises that Dbeibah made to Russian officials. Dabaiba was accompanied on the visit to Russia by the Chief of the General Staff of the Libyan Army, Lieutenant General Muhammad Al-Haddad, as the purpose of his presence and presenting him to the Russians in his military capacity was a clear indication of Dbeibah's unwillingness to deal with Haftar or granting him whatever positions and advantages he wanted in the GNU, and this gives an additional reason for Haftar to prevent Dbeibah and his government from operating in his areas of influence in the east.
As for the main reason, in my estimation, it is Haftar's realization that the government's start to operate in Benghazi and the Eastern Region outside of his hegemony means that there is another authority that will compete with him for influence by soft power. After approving the budget, the GNU will work to improve services for the people, compensate the affected, rebuild, and open transportation routes between East and West, and this transformation would divert people from Haftar and his destructive projects, and to establish a state of stability and the possibility of war erupting again, and the chances of holding elections will be enhanced. And this is completely contrary to what Haftar wants, who does not see himself as an existence except by preserving the flame of the conflict and the continuation of the state of division, which may coincide with various international circumstances that give him hope to resume chasing his illusions of controlling the country and ruling it by force.
There are major concessions that Dbeibah must make to Haftar if he wants to work in the East, and if he submits and introduces them, he will turn there into another Al-Thani, whose main task is to meet the demands of Haftar, his sons and the rest of his gangs, meaning that it will be nothing but a facade that hides the hands that hold the keys to power and decision.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer