Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :
Jebril Elabidi
TT

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : The Solution in Libya is to Evacuate it from Militias

If we are to lead Libya towards security and political stability, and allow for an electoral process, we must rid the country of mercenaries and militias. Otherwise, peace and stability will continue to be threatened by a variety of militias of divergent affiliations and loyalties, as well as their mercenaries and foreign forces. Despite a “rhetorical” domestic and international consensus that has not been put into practice, regarding the need for these organizations to leave the country, neither have tangible steps been taken nor clear mechanisms established to expel them. Meanwhile, plans to disband or reintegrate militias into the country’s legitimate forces continue to be stalled.
Free Libyans, not the foreign agents nostalgic for the colonial era, demand the liberation of their country from militias, mercenaries, and foreign forces, which are considered a threat to security. These forces have disrupted demographics and threaten geographic splits. They bring the specter of division, not just only political but also geographic.

To avoid a security vacuum, we must expedite efforts to unify the Libyan military as an institution and to rebuild the army. However, a veto preventing the Libyan military from meeting its responsibility to restore the country's stability has persisted. After the army was exterminated and its infrastructure vehicles, bases, and aircraft were destroyed following February 2011, the Libyan state was toppled, not just the country’s political regime. NATO's destructive intervention, which was made under the pretext of protecting civilians following the February 2011 revolution, has led to the collapse of the state and the army.
Moreover, with the arms depots opened, Libya turned into open territory for fugitives, bandits, and terrorists. They looted the weapons stored in these warehouses, which were plundered by militias and mercenaries that included ISIS units and affiliates who took the guise of "revolutionaries." The objective was to dismantle the state, not just the regime, and to spread chaos.
Today, the Libyan army has begun to regroup. The 5+5 Joint Military Commission, which has administered professionally over the past few years, began uniting army units. However, its efforts have been hampered by political disputes. To fairly assess the job that the Joint Military Commission has done since it was established by military officers from both sides of the country, we must start by saying that the sound process through which it came to be has enabled the Commission to become a pillar of the solution to the Libyan crisis. However, as the saying goes, you can’t clap with one hand. The Joint Military Commission was left to fend for itself and resolve the crisis in Libya on its own. Despite its robust professionalism, the work of the Commission has been impeded by political intransigence, foreign interference, militias, and mercenaries, a trinity of destruction, especially in the western areas of the country.
The Joint Military Commission has presented a clear project and plan for clear forces, militias and mercenaries out of Libya within a predetermined time frame, but foreign interference, the foreign powers backing these groups, have prevented the implementation of the action plan it has devised.
The political crisis, with all its domestic and global complexities, as well as the quarrels of politicians, who are responsible for implementing the plans issued by the Joint Military Commission and have conspired with their foreign patrons, undermine the Commission's work. They have thereby diminished its role through their conspiracies aimed at preventing the stabilization of the country, which would be enabled by the unification of the Libyan army. Indeed, some of the major countries that have interfered in Libya’s affairs refuse to allow the army to unite and let the country get back on its feet.
Clearing out the militias, mercenaries, and foreign forces in Libya is what the country needs most of all. This step must precede elections; otherwise, the capacity of the voters and candidates to voice their opinions will be in peril. Despite the talk about proposals for a so-called "simultaneous withdrawal" or conditional withdrawal, which have been pushed in equal measure by all the factions in Libya that include or are linked to mercenaries, these mercenaries
are nonetheless a threat to neighboring countries as well. Some even believe that allowing them to leave with their arms poses another regional risk, especially given the ongoing conflicts in the Sahel and Sahara.
The question of militias and mercenaries is not purely a Libyan affair. Anyone who believes that Libya’s will alone determines whether they depart is mistaken. The mercenaries are present because of foreign intervention and the proxy wars fought in Libya. Therefore, the removal of these groups must involve an understanding among the major powers that had intervened in Libya, only the powers who have summoned this "genie" (mercenaries) can dismiss it.
These foreign interventions and proxy wars, as well as the actions that the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam have taken on the ground, are all part of attempts to take full control of Libya. However, the successive failures of the Muslim Brotherhood in neighboring countries, from Egypt to Tunisia, have left the Brotherhood in Libya exposed. As a result, they will seek to keep the militias and mercenaries in place, as well as continue to solicit foreign intervention to prevent their dramatic and imminent downfall.