Libya’s Elected Parliament Declares Alliance With Operation Dignity Militia Forces

Ex-general Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference after surviving an assassination attempt, in Al Marj Photo Credit: Reuters

Libya’s House of Representatives formally declared an alliance with renegade former general Khalifa Haftar and his militia, Operation Dignity, in a bid to counteract Islamist influence in the country. According to parliament spokesperson Farraj Hashem,  parliament gave Operation Dignity an official role leading officers and soldiers of the Libyan army. The move further pits the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni against the rival government set up in Tripoli. This shake-up comes just as the Turkish Prime Minister’s special envoy to Libya, Emrullah Isler, is in the midst of peace talks with Prime Minister al-Thinni and the rival power base controlling Tripoli and Benghazi.

In the midst of these developments, a cousin and former aide of president Muammar Gaddafi said he wants to take part in proposed peace talks hosted by Algeria that aim to bring together Libya’s warring parties.  Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam spoke from his position in exile in Cairo, saying he had no illusions of returning Libya to the past, but that elements of the former regime deserved to be heard and ought to regain influence. Liberal political analyst Hafed al Ghwell argued that while Gaddaf was controversial, he is also “the most reasonable and politically astute of the senior Gaddafi regime figures and the one who has consistently been calling for reconciliation.” According to Ghwell, he could speak for tribes and officials loyal to the former regime which have been sidelined in the midst of the fighting between militia groups.

Brookings Fellow H.A. Hellyer published an in-depth article today in Al-Arabiya expressing his opinion of the state of Libyan affairs. The primary problem that must be addressed is the legitimacy issue surrounding the elected House of Representatives. Hellyer argues for reforming the House to “live up to its potential for all Libyans.”

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi, according to a report by Garikai Chengu. Chengu questions whether Libyans are truly better off now or if the country should have stayed with their long-time authoritarian leader. Adam Taylor, of The Washington Post, further contributed to the dialogue, citing RAND Corporation official Christopher Chivvis for his opinion that Libya’s state of crisis today is about “more than one man” and Libya probably wouldn’t be any better off if Gaddafi where still alive. The real issue is “why the international community […] neglected post-conflict reconstruction,” Chivvis stated.