On the cover photo from left: Mario Draghi, new prime minister in Italy, Abdulhamid Dabaiba, new prime minister of Libya, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, Tamin bin Hamad al Thani, Emir of Qatar
by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio for VT Mediterranean
Many geopolitical analysts have seen Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s visit to Tripoli (accompanied by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio) as a strategic move hoped for by the new US president for Italy to regain control of the former Libyan colony in order to counter the expansionist aims of Turkish President Recep Tayyp Erdogan who not too secretly dreams of the rebirth of an Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean in the MENA area (Middle East – North Africa).
But the glimmers for the rescue of Libya, torn by an intermittent civil war since 2014 and interrupted by a real truce only in autumn 2020, cannot be taken without analyzing in depth the conflicting figure of the new Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba, 61 years old, who on paper will have to lead the country until 24 December 2021, the day of Libya’s 70th anniversary, the date on which the legislative and parliamentary elections should be held.
To understand the situation, just read the statements made by Draghi himself in reference to the so-called diplomatic incident of the “sofagate” (the meeting between President Erdogan and the EU delegation during which the President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen was accommodated on a secluded sofa while he and the President of the EU Council, Charles Michel, took their places in two armchairs with their respective flags behind them).
“I absolutely disagree with Erdogan, I think it was not appropriate behavior. I was very sorry for the humiliation that the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen had to suffer “, said the Prime Minister, and then added:” With these dictators, let’s call them for what they are “, underlined Draghi. “What is needed, however, one must be frank in expressing one’s diversity of views and visions of society; and he must also be ready to cooperate to secure the interests of his country. We need to find the right balance ”. Especially when Italy is a strategic partner of Turkey and Qatar in the Weapons’ Lobby: “pecunia non olet”… (from Latin “money doesn’t stink”).
All this is interconnected in a striking way in the Libya dossier. In fact, even before taking office, the new Libyan Prime Minister Dabaiba was targeted by multiple international suspicions: from having won his role thanks to alleged corruption deployed by his staff in Geneva to being too close to Erdogan himself as well as a financier of the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical political-religious organization that has been declared a “terrorist” in Egypt but controls Turkey and Qatar.
These two nations are firmly anchored in the business of the Weapons’ Lobby (report n.4) with the United Kingdom and with Italy, so much so that they have credited the historical legend that Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry would have been (hegemon in Rome since Unification of Italy) to “create” the Muslim Brotherhood to intercept and manage the ferment of fundamentalist Islam of the Sunni confession in the Middle East, as opposed to the predominant Shiite Islam in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
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«It is a unique moment for Libya, there is a government of national unity legitimized by Parliament which is proceeding with national reconciliation. The moment is unique to rebuild what was an ancient friendship. There is the will to bring economic and cultural exchange back to the levels of 5-6 years ago ». Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said this in joint statements with Dabaiba from Tripoli on 6 April, adding however that the “requirement for proceeding with the collaboration is that the ceasefire continues”.
EVEN THE JIHADISTS IN THE CIVIL WAR
“The Libyan conflict has persisted, intermittently, since 2014, the year in which a political crisis first opens, following the refusal of the Tripoli parliament to lapse after the national elections and a military clash triggered by an attempted coup d’état of the General Khalifa Haftar, a strongman from Cyrenaica – a region of eastern Libya – who clashes with the warlords of Tripoli. A civil war that extends throughout the country. Meanwhile, armed groups of Islamist inspiration are starting to develop” recalls an excellent summary of NewsUpday.
Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which played a crucial role in the hunt for the first Islamic extremists and is supported by the secessionist parliament of Tobruk, then launches Operation Dignity against the Government of National Accord of Tripoli chaired by Fayez Al Serray, the only one recognized by the United Nations. But in 2015, the Islamic State, taking advantage of the conflict, establishes a caliphate whose capital is Sirte, the former loyalist bastion of the former Libyan dictator Gaddafi. The city will be recaptured in September 2016 by the troops of Tripoli, after months of fighting.
In the meantime, two international coalitions are formed around the two sides: Al Serray is supported by Italy, the European Union and NATO with the exception of France which supports Haftar like Russia, active in supporting the claims of the Cyrenaica general by sending contractors of the Wagner group, together with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Muslim countries worried by the relations between Tripoli and the Muslim Brotherhood of Turkey and Qatar, which have become increasingly powerful in the area after Ankara’s intervention in Syria.
In April 2019 Haftar launched a frontal attack for the conquest of Tripoli, pushed back with difficulty by the army of President Al Serray who turned to his friend Erdogan. On November 27, 2019, the government of Tripoli signs a military agreement with Turkey.
Even before the Ankara Parliament approves the Turkish Army mission in Libya, hundreds of jihadist militiamen, taken from Rojava (North East Syria) after the October 2019 invasion and the use of many former ISIS and Al commanders Qaeda freed from prisons, disembarked in Tripoli in December 2019, a few days later they arrive at Misrata airport from Ostend (Belgium) with alleged loads of weapons and drones, in blatant violation of the UN embargo on arms trafficking.
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Wagner’s approximately 2,000 Russian mercenaries are contrasted by thousands of militiamen trained and paid by Ankara, defined as anti-Assad Syrian rebels by the mainstream media but in reality taken by jihadist factions, including extremists such as Hayat Tharir Al Sham (former Al Nusra front that two investigations they believe it was financed through banks in Doha, the capital of Qatar) and among which the Kurdish intelligence services (at war with Turkey in Rojava) identify 229 individuals wanted for Islamic terrorism. Under the complicit gaze of NATO, Turkey comes to bring up to 14 thousand jihadists who become in fact one of the most important armies of Tripoli, handing Erdogan immeasurable power in Libya.
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After the fall of Colonel Muhammar Gaddafi in 2011, the first victim of the Arab Springs initiated by the Obama-Biden administration with NATO, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) was established on 16 September of the same year. The political-diplomatic process under the aegis of the UN leads to the signing of the Skhirat Political Agreement of December 17, 2015, in Morocco, where representatives of the Tripoli Congress and the Tobruk Chamber sign an agreement for the formation of a “government of national agreement. “, under the auspices of the United Nations. The agreement, which expired two years later, remains only on paper.
From 2018 to 2020 there are many attempts at a truce that does not hold up on the ground. This leads to the permanent ceasefire signed in Geneva last October 23 by the 5 + 5 Committee (five members of the GNA, five officers of General Haftar). It also includes the clause of expulsion of all foreign troops, never respected by any of the contenders.
A GOVERNMENT BORN AMONG SUSPECTS OF CORRUPTION
Following his choice in the UN-led Geneva talks and having received the confidence of the Libyan Parliament with a majority of 132 votes out of 178 on 10 March 2021, the new interim national unity executive headed by Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibeh takes the oath and takes office in Tripoli, replacing both previous rival governments: that of Fayez Al Serraj and that loyal to Marshal Khalifa Haftar, based in Tobruk. On 23 March, the handover with the latter officially takes place in Sirte, led by Abdullah al-Thani, not to be confused with Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar and ally of Turkish President Erdogan in the name of the Muslim Brotherhood.
But it is precisely the final steps of the political agreements that cast long shadows on the new prime minister. They emerge from the expected report drawn up by the Group of Experts on Libya at the request of the United Nations Security Council. The Panel – coordinated by the Indian financial expert Majumdar Roy Choudhury and composed by the French-Lebanese expert on armed groups and international humanitarian law Alia Aoun, by the American finance and armed groups expert Dina Badawy, by the Spanish expert on arms and maritime transport Luis Antonio de Alburquerque Bacardit, Moroccan transport expert Yassine Marjane and British arms expert Adrian Wilkinson – identified during his tenure “multiple acts that have threatened Libya’s peace, stability or security and a increased attacks on state institutions and installations ”.
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“The most interesting and topical issue, that is the alleged corruption attempts of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (Lpdf), is only partially mentioned: the salient details included in attachment number 13, in fact, have been classified” he wrote Nova News, an information agency specializing in geopolitical issues also thanks to the partnership with Leonardo, the Italian corporation of defense systems, aerospace vehicles and armaments.
“At least three participants of the PDF, explains the report, have been offered bribes to vote for a” specific candidate “for the post of prime minister of the interim government of Libya. The PDF participants involved in these attempts were “categorical” in rejecting bribes, the report said. The issue has aroused great media interest and the Libyan Attorney General’s Office has received complaints from members of the Forum and international community organizations on the matter. In the report, however, the group of experts stressed that it did not want to provide further details on the matter, referring for additional elements to a confidential annex of the report, number 13, which was actually classified “, the media pointed out.
“According to international press sources, the bribes were offered by members of the clan of the current premier Abdelhamid Dabaiba, politician and businessman from Misrata who was actually elected by a handful of votes in the LPdf session held in Geneva on February 5” is the lapidary conclusion of Nova News.
FROM MANAGER OF QADHAFI TO LIBYAN PREMIER
Dabaiba is not a character out of the hat of international diplomacy but a very enterprising entrepreneur enriched thanks to the regime of Muhammar Gaddafi. This was revealed by the Al Jazeera network which, while broadcasting from the Emirate of Qatar where the Muslim Brotherhood reigns, shows many reservations about the new Libyan prime minister.
Dbeibah’s choice on Friday came as a surprise to many, given the construction magnate’s close association with long-time former Libyan governor, Muammar Gaddafi. Born in 1959 in the western city of Misrata, traditionally seen as a bastion of resistance to Gaddafi’s forty-year takeover, Dbeibah moved to Canada early in his career to pursue an engineering degree from the University of Toronto. ” written Al Jazeera.
He returned to his hometown in the midst of a construction boom, where he eventually attracted the attention of Gaddafi’s close associates. His experience soon earned him the trust of Gaddafi who in 2007 entrusted him with the task of managing the state-owned Libyan Investment and Development Company (LIDCO), responsible for some of the largest public works projects in the country, including the construction of 1,000 housing units in the leader’s hometown, Sirte. (read more…)