Libya | A tale of two prime ministers

While Dbeibah is motivated to go to elections this year to get out of this impasse, international community’s preoccupation with the war in Ukraine renders Libya elections less of a priority for international diplomacy.

Unlike last year, Dbeibah is being seriously challenged and threatened in his interim capacity; hence he is very well aware that his interim mandate is not sustainable. The only way out for him is elections. This constitutes a rare opportunity to overcome the legitimacy crisis in Libya, and it should be tapped by the relevant stakeholders.

Western diplomacy is too preoccupied with Ukraine and will be for the foreseeable future. The UNSMIL is in a weaker position without the leadership of a special representative. The oil blockades imposed by forces loyal to Haftar as well as Bashagha’s repetitive attempts to enter Tripoli as a PM run the risk of triggering a new round of hot conflict. We are yet to see whether the U.S. or the Western alliance, in general, will take a harsher stance against the Russian presence in Libya in the light of the invasion of Ukraine. Without a meaningful pressure against the Russian presence in Libya, the current status quo, i.e. interim authorities with legitimacy issues, geographic and institutional division, sporadic armed standoffs, oil blockades, etc. will persist…

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