Libya PM Dbeibah denies meeting with Mossad to discuss normalisation

Libya PM Dbeibah denies meeting with Mossad to discuss normalisation
Conflicting reports have emerged linking the Libyan prime minister to secret talks with Mossad Director David Barnea ahead of Libya's postponed elections.
2 min read
14 January, 2022
Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has denied that the meeting took place. [Getty]

Libyan presidential candidate and Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has publicly denied claims made on Wednesday by Libyan and Saudi news outlets that he met with Mossad officials in Jordan to discuss normalisation with Israel. 

Dbeibah's statement follows a report by the Saudi-run al-Arabiya al-Hadath TV that he met with Israeli intelligence director David Barnea earlier this month in Amman to discuss the future of Libya’s relationship with Israel, with a view to opening diplomatic links. The meeting was later also reported by the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz

"That didn't happen and won't happen in the future, our stance is firm and clear on the Palestinian cause," a Libyan government statement released on Wednesday said, according to Anadolu.

Election courtship

Dbeibah is not the first of Libya’s presidential candidates rumoured to be courting support from Israel in return for diplomatic and military support since a new Government of National Accord was established in October 2020. 

In early November 2021, rumours emerged that Khalifa Haftar’s son, Saddam, was aboard a private plane belonging to an associate of his father that landed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport. Saddam had reportedly travelled to Israel to offer the Libyan warlord’s commitment to normalise ties should they back a successful election campaign, according to Israeli media.

Both Haftar and presidential candidate Saif al-Islam Gaddafi were linked to the same unnamed Israeli PR firm to run election their election campaigns and improve their public image with potential foreign backers, according to reports by Israel Hayom.

While Libya’s elections have since been indefinitely postponed, meaningful proposals for normalisation with Israel are unlikely to garner popularity for presidential candidates within Libya. 

Six out of 22 Arab countries – Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan – now maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.