Second Berlin conference ignores Haftar, “the elephant in the room”
Regional experts say the conference turned a blind eye to the divisive role of the UAE and Russia as the two countries reneged on promises they made at the first Berlin conference.
A year after a similar conference was held in the German capital, another conference in Berlin took place on June 23 and, once again, the event turned out to be a futile exercise as an inherent cause of the Libyan conflict – warlord Khalifa Haftar and his foreign allies, the UAE and Russia – has not been dealt with.
Thus, the actors of the Berlin conference turn in circles, ignoring the harsh realities of the war which left nearly 700 people dead just between April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020 and rendering over 120,000 homeless in and around Tripoli.
“The Berlin conference called in its conclusions for almost the same things as in 2020 at the first conference, but overwhelming doubts remain as the military institution is still fragmented with Haftar’s Russian group Wagner, the Janjaweed and the Chadian mercenaries still in charge of central and oil, growing, ”Abdulkader Assad, editor-in-chief of The Libya Observer and Libya Alahrar English, told TRT World.
Although the first conference in Berlin in January last year was described by many as promising, Haftar and his supporters continued to strengthen their positions and ignored UN calls to end the violence and withdraw foreign mercenaries, who form the heart of Haftar, Libya’s military force.
At this year’s conference, the same rhetoric and talking points were repeated. In a statement released by conference hosts on Wednesday, stakeholders apparently agreed to make the necessary constitutional and legislative arrangements and rid the country of foreign forces and mercenaries without further delay. They also expressed the need to unify all armed groups under a single civilian command.
According to Anas el Gomati, who heads the Libyan think-tank Sadeq Institute, the worsening of the security scenario in light of Haftar’s violent maneuvers will make the smooth running of the elections an unrealistic prospect.
“There is no reason for Haftar to respect future elections in Libya because he bombed Libya’s first elected parliament in 2014, which shows us his contempt for the elections and the election results,” Gomati told TRT World.
Without a unified army, he added, it will be difficult for the country to go through a fair and transparent democratic process.
Gomati says that unless Haftar’s main allies, the United Arab Emirates and Russia, are pressured to withdraw support for Haftar, which would pave the way for the exit of foreign mercenaries from Libya, hold a conference after conference is unnecessary.
It is through the United Arab Emirates and Russia that Haftar has access to advanced weapon systems, drones and other military equipment that he has used against the government-backed national accord government. UN.
“Denial has been Russia and the United Arab Emirates’ best friend in Libya. At the Berlin II conference, the United Arab Emirates and Russia signed a public declaration calling for the withdrawal of the mercenaries, which they denied. [in the first conference after making the same promise]. So there is a problem, ”Gomati said.
“I am not an optimist. If you ignore the elephant in the room it will not disappear, the only measure of success is elections. Elections before the end of the state-building process are dangerous because Khalifa Haftar is the tallest elephant in the hall ”.
Some Libyan observers, however, expected the United States led by Joe Biden to take the leadership role in bringing some peace to the Middle East and North Africa, but the way the Berlin conference turned out finished, they are disappointed that no one even called Russia or the United Arab Emirates.
“The United States sees it as a stakeholder and no significant Western power seeks to weaken the Haftar coalition. The Berlin process does not consider Haftar illegal at all, it was to affirm the date of the elections and reaffirm the need for foreign troops to leave. Haftar has never been viewed as hostile to American interests. It is very important to take this reality into consideration, ”said Jalel Harchaoui, researcher at the Clingendael Institute, a think tank in the Netherlands.
Abdulkader Assad, the Libyan journalist, holds the international community responsible for giving Haftar carte blanche and allowing him to commit atrocities against the Libyan people.
“Russia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Egypt were not called in for their atrocious interventions in Libya, in particular their military support for warlord Haftar in his war against Tripoli. The Berlin conference and even the government of national unity, in particular Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangouch, who is the supposed highest diplomat in the country, did not label Haftar a war criminal who must be held accountable. of his actions, ”Assad said. noted.
“They have failed to address the roots of the crisis. The Berlin II Conference repeated the same ambiguous call to support the elections and end the presence of foreign forces and mercenaries, but they did not name the spoilers and criminals who still enjoy impunity.
Source: TRT World