Libya appears to be a failing state

LIBYA appears to be a failing state due to lack of cooperation between state institutions, “pretender” governments competing for power, and the crime and volatile security situation which continue to fragment the North African country battered by violence and bloodshed.

On Tuesday the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York was briefed on the deteriorating situation on the ground by the UN Special Representative to Libya Martin Kobler just days ahead of the first anniversary of the Libyan Political Agreement.

The UN envoy to Libya highlighted that while there had been progress, the deal had stalled and “much more should have happened,” adding that further to the security situation, the country’s economic plight was critical.

“Until today, even the most vociferous critics of the Agreement acknowledge that it is the only workable framework,” Kobler told the Council at its meeting on the North African country.

“That said, the Libyan Political Agreement did not fulfill the expectations. The implementation has stalled,” he added.

Kobler explained factors such as the limited authority of the Government of National Accord (GNA), and the rejection twice of the proposed lists of the GNA by the Libyan House of Representatives, in addition to other issues.

To conclude an agreement is difficult, to implement it is even more difficult, as Nelson Mandela said.

Sounding the alarm, he said the country “continues to be awash” in weapons, and arrivals of new weapons continue unabated, in violation of existing weapons embargo.

“Weapons do not fall from the sky. They come by land or sea,” he stressed, adding that they sometimes end up in the hands of terrorists throughout the region.”

As such, he called for strong enforcement of the embargo until Libya has a reliable and coherent security set up.

Of special concern, Kobler underscored, were the recent violent clashes in Tripoli – the first since 2014 – triggered by the killing of a religious scholar, and he noted that such clashes were symptoms of the lack of security and underlying tensions between communities.

He added that despite an increase in oil production, the country remains in a budget deficit of about 70 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and said that the strained relations between the Presidency Council and the Central Bank further complicated the financial situation.

“Libya’s financial reserves have shrunk from $108 billion in 2013 to $45 billion. The country will face an economic meltdown unless something changes,” he stressed, expressing particular concern for the lack of rule of law, rising corruption and high yields on the black market that result in billions of dollars disappearing into illegitimate accounts.

In moving ahead, the UN envoy said that while the implementation of the Agreement is challenged, its articles are “not set in stone”.

“The Libyan Political Agreement foresees a mechanism for change, should the political circumstances demand,” he explained. – ANA