As a last stitch effort to end the civil war in Libya, a new United Nations-backed government has been put in place. However, this road to peace seems to be a long one, since two existing parliament leaders are showing opposition.
The UN has been deliberating for over a year if they should intervene with this government. The chaos in Libya has been at an all-time high. Starting in 2011, after the country’s former leader was murder by a mob of militiamen, Libya was left fractured and divided.
With the country’s vulnerable state, the dark forces of ISIS have taken control over Libya and most of North Africa. “Over the last four years, Libya has become a key node in the expansion of Islamic radicalism across North Africa… and into Europe. If events in Libya continue on their current path, they will likely haunt the United States and its Western allies for a decade or more,” said Ethan Chorin of Foreign Policy.
The UN has continued to support the Libyan government’s efforts to protect the country from terrorism, but this has not been effective. In mid-December, an agreement through United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNMSIL,) known as Resolution 2144, was put in place to support the transition to democracy. ISIS quickly responded to this on January 7th, with a truck bomb that left 65 people dead.
So, now the UN has taken more drastic measures. The prime minister, Fayez Sarraj has been put in charge of this new government. It is currently based in Tunis, Tunisia, since Libya has been deemed to be too unsafe. With 32 members in the cabinet, their first undertaking is to establish peace between the existing parliaments in the country, specifically the war between Tripoli and Tobruk.
Back in July 2014, the house of representatives was forced out of Tripoli by the Islamist-controlled group Libya Dawn. This group has its own rival government in place. Furthermore, this UN-backed government may be short lived. Next Monday, the house of representatives will meet to vote on the UN-managed body and the president, Aguila Saleh, has already made his opposition clear. Not to mention, two of the nine members of the presidential council that appointed the new cabinet walked out.
This was a risky move by the UN. By endorsing Sarraj, they have placed faith elsewhere, instead of with the democratically elected Trobuk parliament. Has the UN shot itself in the foot? If the two other parliaments reject this plan, this could be the birth of another government. Will this only add fuel to the fire? Then there could be three, instead of two, organizations governing and disagreeing.