After the Berlin conference

Libya's war for war’s sake

Libyan political analyst Faraj Alasha argues that the Berlin conference on the Libyan war did nothing to change the fact that there is no political solution to end the war raging in the suburbs of southern Tripoli

The Berlin conference led to a political statement comprising some 54 points. Before we attempt to question or analyse what the conference achieved and its implications for the Libyan crisis, we must recognise that the war has taken on a reality of its own; it has also been influenced by the intervention of foreign powers in the wake of Muammar Gaddafi’s killing.

Gaddafi’s Libya was a one-person system, and with his death, his army (the various security brigades), his police and his flimsy state institutions disintegrated. And if the military intervention by NATO air forces in Libya was the right thing to do, as former President Obama believed, he did admit that his worst mistake as president was the failure to plan for the post-Gaddafi regime. Obama’s view makes total sense, given the chaos into which the country has fallen.

As the Berlin conference report concluded: ʺThe instability in the country, the external interferences, the institutional divisions, the proliferation of a vast amount of unchecked weapons and the economy of predation continue to be a threat to international peace and security by providing fertile grounds for traffickers, armed groups and terrorist organisations. These factors have allowed al-Qaida and IS (Daesh) to flourish on Libyan territory and to launch operations in Libya and in neighbouring countries ...

Former U.S. envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, gives a statement on the situation in Libya (photo: Reuters/D. Balibouse)
Following the international summit in Berlin in January, UN Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame accused foreign actors of continuing to meddle in Libya. "These manoeuvres to re-supply the two parties threaten to precipitate a new and much more dangerous conflagration," he told the UN Security Council in New York. "They violate the spirit and the letter of the Berlin Conference." He resigned from his post on 3 March, citing stress

... They have also facilitated a destabilising wave of illegal migration in the region, as well as a significant deterioration in the humanitarian situation. We are committed to supporting Libyans in addressing those structural governance and security issues.ʺ

As regards support for the Libyans in dealing with these problems, the statement proposes three parallel tracks for a peaceful resolution of the crisis since a military solution is impossible.

Berlinʹs three-pronged plan

On a military level, the proposed three-pronged plan is based on a permanent ceasefire, a halt to foreign interference, international monitoring of any violations of the arms embargo, developing a mechanism to dismantle armed groups, integrating suitable personnel into the military and setting up unified security and military forces.

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