With no surprise, UNMSIL’s Libyan dialogue conference on 5 January did not take place. Hafter’s airstrikes on Misrata’s airport and port ended the divisions among Misrata leadership on whether or not to join Bernardino Leon’s dialogue meeting between Tripoli’s GNC government and Tobruk’s Abduallah Theni cabinet. In fact, even before the air raids there was tiny possibility that the UN conference would take place given the deep divisions that run through the Tobruk-based government. Hafter’s airstrikes are but one of the manifestations of that power struggle in Tobruk. It is believed that Hafter has been pushing to establish a military council that would assume presidential powers and dissolve Abdullah Theni’s government. The latter, being backed by Mahmoud Jibril’s wing, opposed Hafter’s aspirations. It was apparently in this context that Hafter, weakened by the inefficacy of his Dignity Operation, sought to undermine any potential political solution by targeting Misrata, being the strongest element of the Tripoli-based GNC government and Libya Dawn forces. The dwindling oil revenues triggered what the media has dubbed the Battle for the Oil Crescent, in reference to the ongoing confrontation to control oil terminals in the Sirte gulf. Regionally, Algiers remained determined to oppose any projects for military intervention in Libya. When the Sahel Group of Five countries called for military intervention ten days ago, Chadian president arrived in Algiers, a couple of days later, and made public statements in which he revoked his earlier calls for intervention. Algiers together with Sudan, and Morocco expressed their reserves as to the calls of the Arab League for military intervention in Libya. Algiers seems to be resolved to oppose French, Egyptian, and Gulf countries calls for intervention in Libya. It is in this context that a meeting of the Council of the Chiefs of Staff of the armies of Algeria, Mali, Niger and Mauritania (CEMOC) has opened on 6 January in Tamanrasset, Algeria.


Posted by Editor