Libya: A Forgotten Challenge

What did I do to you?was the last question and were the last words the former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi uttered before his death, almost ten years ago when the mob was beating him and dragging him on the road. The very dictator who ruled Libya for over four decades with an iron fist was hunted from his own den. The very groups and tribes that had become united to oust Qaddafi soon started fighting against one another. Every faction demanding control of the state. The promised democracy had gone by now and guns and missiles filled the vacuum. The hunt for lethal and A-category weapons became common too. Libya became a challenge for the current liberal world order like many in the region. Blood in the streets and bullets on the roads became usual. Killings, abductions, conflicts, skirmishes, and looting prevailed. Then happened the mega crunch which is inevitable in such situations___ foreign states showed the signs of evil efforts for peace. And TODAY, Libya seems a forgotten challenge. A challenge every pro-democracy and pro-peace nation on the face of Earth faces.

Courtesy: Lowyinstitute.org

Libyans got rid of their dictator, like few in the region on October 20th, 2011. Many were happy and few unpleasant. But the number turned in no time as the tribal skirmishes made the Libyans realize that a dictator had gone and a thousand have come. Lawlessness became evident in every corner. Khalifa Haftar, a former Libyan military man who had abandoned his country during Qaddafi, came back in 2013 to join the theatre of the war there. He then formed the self-claimed Libyan National Army. His ambitions to get control of the capital city Tripoli alarmed the global leadership. United Nations’ recognized government was installed in Tripoli to maintain order but that did not prove vital. Russia is alleged to provide mercenaries to Haftar and Egypt’s Sisi also seems more inclined towards Haftar and LNA than the UN-recognized government known as GNA (Government of National Accord) in Tripoli. Major factions as GNA and LNA agreed under the UN flag to hold elections in the first quarter of 2019. But Haftar made an unsuccessful but adventurist and lethal attempt to seize Tripoli causing a delay in the elections.

Now it is decided that the Libyan general elections will be held in December this year. These elections will be intended to consist of presidential and parliamentary elections. The key players who were agreed to the original deal in May 2018 were Fayyaz Al Sarraj, head of the GNA, Khalifa Haftar, head of the LNA, Aguila Saleh Issa, head of the house of the representatives, and Khalid Al Mishri, head of the High Council of the State. Though this time Haftar seems more promising towards the elections to be held in December of the year but he is still as unpredictable as he was in April 2019.

Let’s further unfold this Libyan challenge for the global leaders and for our readers. UN-backed Government of National Accord is backed by the United Nations, Italy, Qatar, and Turkey. And Turkey’s parliament has also approved sending ground forces to Tripoli. If [Haftar] continues his attacks on the country’s [Libya’s] legitimate administration and on our brothers in Libya. We will not hesitate to teach the coup leader Haftar the lesson that he deserves,stated Turkish President Rajab Tayyab Erdogan in his parliamentary address. Whereas Haftar is backed by powerful allies too. France, Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Russia, and of course, the United Arab Emirates support Khalifa Haftar. Though the involved parties claim that they are there to make stability and peace possible but countries often intervene when they find some interest in the host state, which is a universal political law. The same goes for Libya. For instance, Turkey wants GNA to survive because above all it wants drilling rights for oil and gas in the Mediterranean. Whereas Italy also has oil companies in there which she wants to protect.

The Libyan challenge is even clearer in numbers. In such a situation of the deadly contagion deterring the globe, Libya has 22 doctors for every ten thousand people as per Statista.com statistics, issued last year. Hundreds of thousands of Libyans were in need of humanitarian assistance even prior to the virus made them vulnerable to a bigger threat. As per UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, 217,002 people are internally displaced (IDPs) in Libya and 90 percent of the people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe are Libyans. Roughly, over 33 percent of the Libyans are living below the poverty line. Transparency International has ranked Libya 173rd among 180 states as only seven nations are more corrupt than Libyan. She gained 17 marks in transparency out of 100, proving it to be a great and massive challenge for world leadership. Besides, the unemployment rate in Libya was 18.56 percent in 2019. The recent ratio is unknown so far.

Libya’s Map {Courtesy: Britaninca}

To conclude, Libya is widely known as a target or prey of American adventurism as Iraq and Afghanistan. Though one size does not fit all but this challenge has drastic effects in the region. The proper version of democracy trying to be installed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya is beyond explanation. The human cost in these states is not imaginable. If Qaddafi was brutal towards Libyans then who will decide a term for the present factions fighting for Tripoli? Who will label democratic and as well as undemocratic players in the state? What else after Saddam and Qaddafi can be introduced in their respective states? Which system suits whom? These questions like many are still heavy-weight challenges for many to combat. Casualties are multiplying every day. The elite as usual has little to lose whereas the lower and as well as middle class have no options but to wait for the right time. Therefore, it can be stated that the Libyan challenge is a great question mark for those nations who claim to be well-wishers of the globe and stress more on peace rather than on interests.

Middle East Writer

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