U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien Says Libya Must Unite In Order To “Win”

As the Libyan people continue to suffer, the U.S. has a proposal, Jasmine Razeghi reports.

Photo by Shealah Craighead

On August 4th, national security advisor Robert O’Brien released a statement regarding the ongoing conflict in Libya. 

He made clear that the United States opposes foreign military involvement, noting that, “the ongoing efforts of foreign powers to exploit the conflict – for example, by establishing an enduring military presence or exerting control over resources that belong to the Libyan people – pose grave threats to regional stability and global commerce.”

What Does The U.S. Propose?

O’Brien stated that the only way Libya will “win” is if they unify and reclaim their sovereignty. “As an active, but neutral, actor, the United States is pursuing a 360 degree diplomatic engagement with Libyan and external stakeholders across the conflict to find a solution that supports Libyan sovereignty and protects the shared interests of the United States, our allies, and partners,” he stated.

The national security advisor specified actions for the parties involved in the escalation of the Libyan conflict: enabling the National Oil Corporation (NOC), implementing a demilitarized solution for Sirte and al-Jufram, respecting the U.N. arms embargo, and ceasefire under the U.N.-led 5+5 talks. 

Implementing NOC would allow Libyan oil to be available through agreement with various foreign companies. In other words, implementing the corporation would allow an additional source of oil for many countries. 

The push for a demilitarized solution would leave an open space for negotiation and in turn, preserve the lives of many civilians. It goes in hand with respecting the U.N. arms embargo that restricts weaponry in addition to the call for a ceasefire. Last year, the U.N. emphasized that there is “no military solution to the [Libyan] conflict.”

Human Rights In Libya

Currently in Libya, there are medicine and power shortages. According to the United Nations, 400,000 people displaced in the country while 1.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Additionally, vulnerable groups like religious minorities, women, and children face deadly circumstances in Libya. There are also reports by human rights activists that people were detained due to their sexual orientation.

There were continuous efforts by the European Union to prevent Libyan migrants and refugees from entering Europe. Those who are captured, return to Libya and face inhumane conditions including extreme violence in detention centers.

How Did The Libyan Conflict Begin?

Libya was in conflict since NATO-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. A plethora of armed militias in Libya currently hold power. ISIS fighters remain present in the country and inflict violence on the people of Libya as well. 

In the past, the various rebelling militias unified through their hatred for Gaddafi. However, after he was overthrown, the groups remained separate. Tensions only escalated after the rebellion, as power remains dispersed in the nation today. 

Violence, death, and the new threat of COVID-19 continue to take a toll on Libya as its people wait for peace. Humanitarian assistance does not seem to be at the front of the issue, however the U.N. continued to urge the world to act fast as conditions continue to worsen.

 


 

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