RE: Orders of Operations in Constitutional Design

I should comment quickly on the current events in Libya with regards to the Constitutional Draft Assembly’s (CDA) proposal. I should also comment on some of the circumstances in Libya that point to the difficulty of imposing a constitution in general besides current fissures.

After the photo-ops of the Paris meeting between Hafter and Sarraj, a deal that will let the Italian Navy tackle migrant smugglers in Libyan waters came under scrutiny. The deal was initiated by the GNA (UN-recognized) and critiqued immediately by the political camp of Eastern Libya and certain camps in Western Libya. Libya is already a playground for many countries. However, within the GNA there is interesting discord. A deputy went on television (Al -Ahadath TV?) and made wild accusations towards the the head of the GNA Sarraj. The deputy, Fathi Majbri, disagrees but this calls into question not the decision making process of the GNA but why there should be such displays. As if himself and Sarraj never discussed such serious policy when they have been vested with significant political powers.

It calls into question what the Presidential Council of the GNA is supposed to be. Is it rule by committee? Certainly in Libya’s climate centralization in order and command is needed but not one from a strongman. Majbri seems to argue that the PC is supposed to argue and debate issues. However, that’s probably useless since in Libya no group or body has any respect for it’s own rules. Besides Majbri, there are other members of the PC who conduct their own mandates and don’t follow the agenda of Sarraj, the appointed head and executive. Further down the chain, supposed GNA forces are nominal at best and are really mercenaries hired to be placeholders for the army. The are often allowed to continue their extortion of civilians and enjoy a culture of impunity for their crimes.

The breakdown goes to the East as well. The Wershafana area south of Tripoli is controlled by tribal militias and closer to Tripoli by Misratan militia (Brigade 301 in Swani at the moment). The Wershafanian militias levy “taxes” on freight trucks carrying food into Tripoli from farms outside the city. They commit carjackings in mid-day brazenly and just happen to be tied to Hafter’s Libyan National Army. Hafter’s claim is that his group is the only one functioning like a state institution. However, these acts continue in the region. Closer to Hafter, a Major named Werfalli executes prisoners and he’s within the organization.

The impunity is not so much the root cause of the war’s continuation as much as the disrespect and neglect of order is the cause of impunity. So many groups will find allies but will dump them not for political reasons. After all, everyone claims to be for a united, reconciled and democratic Libya. They don’t trust each other causing an escalation of commitment that has nothing to do with philosophy or tribalism. This escalation of commitment makes the constitutional draft a pointless piece of paper. People won’t commit to organizations they created to solve problems. Militants won’t even consider sincerely working for a Libyan state.

The project for a Libyan state in the GNA lacks an agenda that it is clearly committed to. At best it’s a placeholder to stop an Islamist government from stepping in that will involve the Gulf further in Libya turning it into Syria.  It lacks the power of some historic governments in exile and that should frighten the UN mission in Libya.


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