Armed conflicts in western Libya between the UN-backed government and the eastern-based army has been escalating with the possibility of spreading to eastern and southern Libya, overshadowing the chance for political dialogue.
Khaled Al-Tarhouni, a Libyan political analyst, said that the Turkish strategic support, especially the drones, made the UN-backed government stronger than before. Therefore, the UN-backed government sees that a political solution will be meaningless, as long as it has the ability to forcibly restore many areas in western Libya.
“The Government of National Accord rejected a truce proposed by forces of Khalifa Haftar, commander of eastern-based army, more than a month ago, and rejected international demands to stop the fighting for humanitarian reasons. This explains the way it moves forward in the military option that is now prevailing,” Al-Tarhouni told Xinhua.
The UN-backed government’s forces have been launching heavy attacks since April against the eastern-based army in western Libya and making progress on ground, most notably taking over a major military base in southwestern Libya.
Omran Al-Najah, a Libyan military analyst, said that the opportunity for a political solution to the armed conflict in the country is shrinking, due to intensification of the military operations on the ground on a daily basis.
“The United Nations welcomed the position of the two parties to accept resumption of the military dialogue, which is a good thing and was supposed to create some optimism. However, what happened is the opposite. The (eastern-based army’s) spokesman, Ahmed Al-Mismari, said dialogue was useless and that military talks called for by the United Nations were likely to fail.”
“This reflects the mistrust between the two parties to the conflict. Both are convinced that the military solution is the only way to end the crisis in Libya, although this option is not logical, given the current results and the intensifying battles,” Al-Najah told Xinhua.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Monday welcomed the acceptance by the two parties to the conflict of the resumption of talks on the cease-fire and associated security arrangements based on the draft agreement submitted by UNSMIL to the parties during the Joint Military Commission talks on Feb. 23, 2020.
“The Mission looks forward to start the new round of the JMC negotiations via video conference, in light of current circumstances, and hopes that the same professional, serious and responsible spirit that characterized the first and second rounds in Geneva will prevail in these talks,” UNSMIL said in a statement.
Libyan university lecturer Miloud Al-Haj believes that the recent progress of the UN-backed government’s forces does not mean that eastern-based army has been defeated and the war is on the way to an end. Rather, it is the beginning of more escalation fueled by the international parties.
“Each party is trying to enhance their capabilities on the ground and to exploit the flaccid state of the party, with the aim of assuming a strong position in negotiations, which currently seems difficult but not impossible if the international parties agreed to impose a true solution to the Libyan crisis,” Al-Haj said.