The planned government of national unity could be a compromise which pleases nobodyby Ethan Chorin / August 14, 2015 / Leave a comment
The latest round of UN sponsored talks to catalyse a Libyan unity government has concluded on familiar optimistic and menacing notes. The principal parties, the Eastern-based House of Representatives (HOR), and the Western-based General National Congress (GNC) agreed to a solution “within weeks,” while the plan’s main architect, UN Special Representative Bernardino Leon, warned that delay would mean chaos. By weakening central power and unanimity of purpose across the board, this exercise may cause the opposite of its intended effect, blocking any prospects of a sustainable central authority, and hastening a split between East, West and South.
The HOR is the legal heir to an election-based political process that followed the 2011 revolution. Its military arm, the The Libyan National Army, is led by General Khalifa Haftar, a 1980s-era defector from Gaddafi’s military, who has declared war on all Islamists, under the banner of his Karama (Dignity) movement, which has strong national support. The GNC, while it incorporates some non-Islamist elements, is heavily Islamist, and supported by a coalition of militias known as Libya Dawn. The GNC was formed unilaterally after the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist collaborators were routed in national electi…