The past week was marked by the apparent failure of the negotiations between House of Representatives (HoR) and Government of National Accord (GNA) representatives on amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) as the two parties were unable to reach a compromise on the contentious issues of the LPA. Meanwhile, other reports suggested that Saif Al-Islam may be preparing a political comeback.
The negotiations on amendments to the LPA between the Dialogue Committee formed by HoR and GNA representatives ended on Oct 21, and reports suggest that no agreements had been reached on the contentious LPA articles. The two parties have proved unable to reach a consensus on central issues of the LPA such as the appointment and duties of the Presidential Council (PC). Debates on these issues have been blocking the implementation of the agreement since its introduction in 2015.
The Tunis consultation ended but it was announced on Oct 21 that discussions on contentious articles are to continue via subcommittees, which will focus on specific LPA issues. Despite the negative results of the negotiations, the UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame praised the positive spirit of the talks, and reaffirmed the UN's commitment to push forward a solution to the Libyan crisis. The success of the negotiations on amendments to the LPA is key to the success of the UN’s plan to end the political crisis in Libya.
Meanwhile, reports suggested during the past week that Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Moammar Gaddafi, has allegedly been planning a political comeback. According The Government of National Accord (GNA) has yet to move into Tripoli despite claims by Prime Minister designee, Fayez Seraj, their entry was imminent in a television interview given on Mar 17. Similar announcements have been made previously. Whispering Bell is aware of GNA attempts to negotiate safe entry into the capital, and that many Tripoli-based militias are gradually supporting this, albeit not always publicly. If the GNA can ensure that local militias are consulted prior to entrance, their security role will be maintained and they will continue to receive salaries then further endorsements are likely. Also, in a positive development for the unity government leaders claiming to represent various civil groups and local militias from Sabrata, Surman, Ajaylat, Riqdalin and Al-Jmail reportedly declared their support for the GNA. Similarly, Misrata’s Municipality also released a statement endorsing the government. The UNSMIL also announced its decisions “to extend until 15 June 2016 the mandate...to enable the Mission to continue to assist the Presidency Council in further work in establishing the Government of National Accord.” However, the fundamental obstacle posed by heavily armed Tripoli and Misrata militias who adamantly oppose the new government and continue to resist its establishment remains. As such, declarations of support by various groups across Libya do not always reflect the views of the entire population they claim to represent. to the lawyer of the Gaddafi family, Saif Al-Islam is currently traveling through Libya, developing relationships with various tribes. Saif Al-Islam was released from captivity last June, after more than 5 years of detention in Zintan. He remains a very controversial figure among Libyans, as some believe that he has the authority to unify and govern the country, while others are against what they perceive would be a return to the Gaddafi era. In late July, General Haftar welcomed the idea of Gaddafi's son playing a political role in Libya if he wished to in the future. The integration of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi in Libyan politics could create significant tensions among Libyan political actors.
Lastly, there was no demonstration organized by Basit Igtet in Tripoli on Oct 20, contrary to what he had announced at the beginning of the month. Following his first demonstration in Tripoli on Sept 25, Igtet had planned to organize other events to rally Libyans to his cause. However, he was prevented to do so last week in Sabha, as security forces did not authorize him to enter the city. Thus far, it remains unknown why the demonstration in Tripoli did not take place.