Libyans ‘losing hope’ for end to war and corruption, US diplomat says, amid continued militia fighting

Libyans ‘losing hope’ for end to war and corruption, US diplomat says, amid continued militia fighting
Jeffrey DeLaurentis, a senior US diplomat said that Libyans were “losing hope” that militias would ever stop fighting and allow the establishment of a functioning state free of corruption.
2 min read
01 September, 2022
Clashes in Tripoli killed 32 people last week [Getty]

Libyans are losing faith that their ruling politicians will ever end the conflict in their country and stop stealing its wealth, a senior US diplomat has warned, following deadly clashes between rival militias in Tripoli last week.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis, an advisor to the US mission at the United Nations, told the UN Security Council on Monday that Libyans “are losing hope that their country can be free of corruption and foreign influence, that the armed forces can be unified, and that foreign fighters, forces and mercenaries will be withdrawn”.

“They are deprived of basic public services while the powerful cut deals to divvy up hydrocarbon revenues in accordance with their own interests, particularly to militias controlled by various factions, robbing the Libyan people of their national wealth,” The Guardian reported him as saying.

DeLaurentis’s comments came after at least 32 people were killed and 150 wounded when militias loyal to two rival prime ministers, Abdelhamid Dbeibah and Fathi Bashagha, clashed in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Libya was due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of last year but these were postponed over disputes about who could stand.

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Disputed Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah was appointed in February 2021 following a UN-led political reconciliation to lead the country on an interim basis until the elections could be held. He has refused to leave power.

Dbeibah’s government is opposed by the Libyan House of Representatives, a parliament elected in 2014 whose authority is also disputed. It is based in eastern Libya and appointed Fathi Bashagha as prime minister after the elections were postponed.

Both the prime ministers are supported by rival militias.

Karim Mezran of the Atlantic Council told The Guardian that the militias were “criminal organisations totally dedicated to power and money, and the grabbing of resources at any price”.

“It is a mistake to think of these as political ideological organisations, but instead mafia organisations that have a vested interest in preventing the development of a functioning state.”

Since November, Libya has lacked UN special envoy to restart the political process in the country. The Guardian said that the Security Council session on Libya “presented few fresh ideas” aside from the need to appoint one.