Opposing militia commanders in a loose coalition representing on the one side the incumbent caretaker prime minister, Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba, and on the other supporting the parliament-installed prime minister Fathi Bashagha, failed to meet as planned on Saturday.
Led by former Defence Minister and Commander of the Joint Operations Room in the Western Region, Major General Osama Juwaily, the commanders had met last week to ease tensions and the possibility of the outbreak of fighting on the back of mobilisation by both sets of forces in and around Tripoli. They had failed to agree on the politics of who is the legitimate prime minister but agreed to withdrew forces as a short term de-escalation measure and meet again Saturday to continue discussions.
The militia commanders supporting the installation of Fathi Bashagha as prime minister in Tripoli did meet but reported that the opposition failed to turn up. Juwaily told Libyan media that the opposing faction had asked for a postponement of the meeting for a few days.
It is unclear exactly which militia commanders from both sides have been attending these meetings, and how representative they are, as there are no published official photographs or signed/stamped communiques – as militias have been known to do in the past. However, another group of militia commanders aligned to Aldabaiba released a (unsigned/stamped) social media statement.
They stated that their meeting agreed to resort to calm and build bridges of communication and dialogue with the parties demanding the handing over of power by Aldabaiba to Bashagha.
They had stressed the need to spare the country any wars or armed skirmishes that might exacerbate the situation and deteriorate the country’s security and economic situation, stressing that they do not adhere to or are not hostile to any specific person.
Possible political solutions: Elections or a new non-controversial government
They also announced their vision for resolving this dispute, which is summarized in the necessity of agreeing that all the bodies currently present in the political scene must leave, either by heading to elections as soon as possible or forming a new, non-controversial government.
There should be no disagreement over the people in this government and its first and primary mission should be to lead the country to transparent presidential and parliamentary elections, they added.
Call for dialogue should not be seen as weakness
The attendees made it clear that their repeated and continuous attempts to call for dialogue and calm, avoiding escalation and resorting to arms, does not mean, as some explain it, weakness, illusion, and inability to repel any aggression on the region.
Rather, they insisted it is evidence of their ability of self-control and to resort to reason to spare the capital any other war that might increase the hardship of its people’s livelihood, who have endured enough wars and attacks.
Tripoli tensions eased after militia commanders agree forces to return to their bases (libyaherald.com)
Calm returns after Tripoli and Misrata militia clashes lead to 16 deaths and 52 wounded (libyaherald.com)
Misrata militia clashes increase Libyan tensions (libyaherald.com)
Militia clashes in central Tripoli led to civilian deaths, injuries, and property damage (libyaherald.com)