by Sigma Editorial Staff
The current situation in Libya led to important decisions in the Berlin Conference. Libya has been going through a tough time both on military and political fronts, currently struggling under dual power. Since the invasion of the coalition in Libya and the murder of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the bloodshed in the country has not stopped. Nowadays, Libya is considered a hotbed of terrorism and the slave trade. Many countries have already sent troops to the region, including Turkey. As a result of the conference, 55 items were signed without consideration for the concerns of some of the participating countries.
Delegations, led by Faiso Saraj for the government and Marshall Khalif Haftar representing for the national army, met in the German capital. The conference was attended by a crowded delegation from Russia led by President Putin, as well as Germany, USA, Turkey, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Italy, Algeria, The EU, the African Union and the League of Arab states.
The conference went back to most of the previous decisions that were made in 2011-2015, the UN Security Council, where it was a ceasefire and disarming of Libya was decided, as well as not interfering in internal political affairs, and restoring constitutional law. The conference was a diplomatic one as only agreements were concluded and nobody can control nor force the execution of the aforementioned agreements. The highlight of the agreement was the disarmament. Since the region is crawling with weapons, deciding on disarmament on paper is not nearly enough and specific actions must be taken. How these actions will be taken remains unclear.
As for the interests in the EU regarding the Libyan crisis, Europe is relieved. Firstly, there will be no new flow of refugees. Secondly, there is the matter of oil. Hafter did not sign the final version of the ceasefire agreements, holding a trump card in his hands. The territory controlled by Hafter has large oil reserves and he captured more strategically important territory with oil. The 55 item agreement will go to the Security Council of the UN where it will be reviewed and most likely approved.
As for the agreements itself, Libya categorically does not want international intervention or a military presence in their country. They required the reporting of all terrorist organizations as well as external forces that are around these power groups. The main desire of the parties is to prevent the collapse of the country. One of the fundamental clauses of the agreement is bout the ceasefire – clause 9. Although a ceasefire has been discussed since 2011, something tangible is yet to happen. However, The Russian-Turkish efforts and cooperation both in Moscow and Istanbul to resolve the situation in Libya have made the ceasefire more feasible than ever. Although the ceasefire must be continual, as emphasized by the agreement, it is clear that the goal has not been fully achieved yet.
One of the fundamental points in the settlement, regarding the conflict, is disarmament – the cessation of weapon supplies from outside and military intervention by other forces. The main point here is the desire to stop the air operations. It should be noted that the air operations are carried out precisely by the Hafter forces. Hafter is the separatist part of the conflict. The balance is unequal when one side has the possibility of air operations since everyone is equal on the ground.
The 10th paragraph of the agreement refers to the cessation of the movement of the opposing forces which will be controlled by monitoring groups. The 15th paragraph defines the transfer of control of the ceasefire to UN international control, as well as the creation of appropriate committees.
In the event of parties breaking the agreement, it is required of ON to determine means and methods of influence which includes arms embargo. While this comes across as sound in theory, in practice it is very difficult to do here considering Libya’s geographical location and its access to the sea. As far as controlling the situation in Libya goes, it is anyone’s job to do so and report any misdemeanor since the country does not have a legitimate governing body that holds power over the country as a whole.
Turkey plays the role of the peacemaker in this conflict. Turkey supports the side of Saraj who has no military advantage over Hafter in the air. Therefore, at the negotiation table, Turkey had a focus on air operations. The reason for this focus being, if Turkey manages to equalize the forces on the table, they won’t have to take military action. Hafter’s air forces came about through the control of oil resources and in order to maintain that position he needs to have an advantage in the air.
The agreement faced a roadblock on Hafter’s part as far as air control and oil regulations. It makes little sense since Hafter is not an official government but a party to the conflict. He is simply the commander of the separatist army in Libya against the government recognizes UN. Hafter does not have his own movement at the base of his organization since he did not create the structure that can be recognized in the international arena.
As for the results of the conference and the agreements that were reached, a long and active process will being – both diplomatic and military. A mechanism and plan to take action is being created for all related structures to resolve the conflict. But the peace process itself remains with Libya. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the international community can only create the opportunity to sit the parties in the negotiating table. If this system works, we can expect tangible results for the region as a whole.