Scenario 1: Towards Peace – continued

After having discussed scenarios involving a peacebuilding mission, with this article we shall continue detailing the scenarios assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years, suggest indicators to monitor their happenstance and progressively evaluate their likelihood.

Our first focus here will be on the scenario detailing the alternative to successfully forming a unity government under an externally brokered peace agreement. The first possibility for the evolution of sub-scenario 1.1 was presented here. Then, we shall concentrate on the scenario where the peace talk participants even fail to sign a peace agreement. The organization of the whole series of scenarios for the future of Libya can be found here and are summarized in the graph below.

Click to access larger image

Summary of the previous phase-scenarios leading to scenario 1.1.2

Following the UN-facilitated diplomatic negotiations between the involved parties, Libya’s rival governments and armed coalitions reach a peace agreement. Scenario 1.1.2 examines what happens if the GNC and COR are not able to successfully implement the unity government framework agreed upon in the peace deal.

Sub-scenario 1.1.2: The Actors Fail to Form a Unity Government

The General National Congress (GNC) and Council of Representatives (COR) have reached an agreement that ends hostilities and establishes the framework for a unity government. However, the rival governments ultimately fail to implement the new framework, and thus fail to form a unity government.

It is important to note that the failure to form a unity government may enhance the likelihood of an international intervention in Libya.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 1.1.2 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. The breakaway of political factions in protest of the UN-mediated unity government proposal (Penn, United Nations, October 8, 2015) and, in general, strong disagreement with this framework. Politicians opposed to aspects of the unity government framework can undermine the formation of the government, even more so if they break away from the current main political groupings having accepted to sign a peace treaty and form political opposition factions.
  2. Disruptions and attacks by armed breakaway factions who oppose the formation of a unity government. Armed groups that would oppose the agreed-upon unity government framework could fundamentally disrupt the process and stop the formation of the government. For example, groups such as the Steadfastness Front – led by hardliner Saleh Badi (Misrata) – could either support or oppose a unity government, depending on the agreed-upon terms (Marsad Libya, June 18, 2015).
  3. Targeted attacks from Salafi groups. If Salafi groups direct their attacks towards one particular government over the other, the un-targeted government could potentially decide to wait and see if Salafi attacks give them a military advantage or political leverage. On the contrary, Salafi attacks on both governments will likely unite them.
  4. Balanced attacks from Salafi groups. If Salafi groups attack both governments, the GNC and COR are more likely to unite – contrary to indicator 3.
  5. The threat or carrying out of secessionist movements. If particular groups disagree with the type of unity government established by the peace treaty, or continue to be marginalized, this could enhance in the future the odds to see secession being actually threatened or carried out. Movements such as the Eastern federalists, or any of the marginalized tribes (Amazigh, Tuareg, Toubou), would more likely contribute to the likelihood of this indicator.
  6. The inclusion or exclusion of General Haftar in a unity government. If the COR insists that General Haftar retain a position in the unity government, the GNC is likely to oppose the formation of a new government.
  7. The ability to agree on the inclusion or exclusion of former Qaddafi officials. The governments’ inability to agree on whether to include or exclude former Qaddafi officials will increase the likelihood of this sub-scenario.
  8. Level of pressure to implement the peace agreement imposed on Libyan actors by external ones. Too much pressure by external forces could appear as overbearing to an already fragile peace agreement.
  9. The level of distrust between former rivals. If rival leaders and their armed supporters continue to distrust each other, even with a signed peace agreement, their ability to implement the unity government will be impaired.
  10. Tensions with Tunisia – particularly through political alignments. The Tunisian government politically engages each of the rival governments – much to the irritation of the COR. Dawn of Libya is particularly critical of the new Tunisian government, which Dawn considers “less friendly” to their coalition than the former Tunisian government led by Islamists (Petre, Middle East Monitor, June 23, 2015). The differing views on Tunisia’s political alignments could negatively affect the peace treaty and any formation of a unity government, notably Dawn of Libya’s view on Tunisia’s secular-Islamist unity government (Al Jazeera, February 6, 2015).
  11. The level of risk that would initiate an international intervention. To avoid an international intervention, the parties are likely to agree to return to the negotiating table and work out the issues preventing implementation of a unity government.

Sub-scenario 1.1.2.1: Back to Civil War

By failing to form a unity government, the peace agreement between the GNC and COR breaks down without a return to the negotiating table or re-strategizing for implementation – resulting in the re-escalation of civil war.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 1.1.2.1 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. Refusal of the main parties to return to negotiations or re-strategize. If one or more of the main parties refuse to re-negotiate or develop a new strategy to implement a unity government, the country will have no direction but to return to civil war.
  2. The re-deployment of military forces. In response to the growing distrust between parties and the refusal to re-negotiate or re-strategize, armed coalition commanders may re-deploy their forces to seize more territory and strategic sites.

Sub-scenario 1.1.2.2: Back to the Negotiating Table

The terms of the peace agreement break down when the GNC and COR fail to implement the agreed-upon unity government, resulting in a return to the negotiating table to settle points of contention between those preventing the implementation.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 1.1.2.2 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. Increased fear for regional actors and the international community to see extremist threats emanating from Libya. In that case, the actors feeling threatened would thereby put even stronger pressure on the Libyan actors to return to the negotiating table and work through the points of contention that prevent implementation.
  2. The looming threat of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy would prevent the abilities of the GNC and COR to pay civil servants, pay military and security forces, and provide social services – resulting in a loss of legitimacy. They return to dialogue in order to resolve the issues of implementing a unity government before becoming bankrupt.
  3. The level of risk that would initiate an international intervention. To avoid an international intervention, the parties agree to return to the negotiating table and work out the issues preventing implementation of a unity government.

Summary of the previous phase-scenarios leading to scenarios 1.2

The Council of Representatives and General National Congress agree to participate in diplomatic talks for the sake of achieving peace and ending Libya’s civil war.

Sub-scenario 1.2: Peace Negotiations Brokered by an External Actor do not Lead to a Signed Peace Treaty

An external actor, such as the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) as is currently the case, leads diplomatic negotiations between the COR and GNC, but the participants fail to sign the final peace agreement. The refusal to sign a peace accord is the result of political disagreement on the final details or disagreement on external involvement in the implementation or peacebuilding processes. It is important to note that the GNC and COR’s refusal to sign a peace treaty may be a product of the fact that the UN synthesizes a peace agreement with the framework for a unity government, rather than separating a peace treaty and the formation of the new government. Unable to continue forward, the Libyan actors face two possible sub-scenarios (see below).

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 1.2 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. Perception of concessions from each of the Libyan actors asked by external actors. Concessions asked from one Libyan government with fewer concessions asked from the other government decreases the likelihood of reaching a peace agreement in the first place. For example, a past indication of this was the rejection of the fourth peace agreement draft by the Council of Representatives, as it proposed a power reduction for the COR and simultaneously moved 90 GNC politicians to the “significantly empowered State Council” (Libya Herald, June 9, 2015).
  2. The position of Libyan actors regarding the involvement of external players in the peace process. A view of external forces as intrusive, manipulative for their own interest, or corrupt will affect a Libyan actor’s willingness to participate in any national peace agreement and subsequent peace process.
  3. Relative military situation of the two main Libyan players. Military progress of one government over the other leads to a decreased likelihood of reaching a peace agreement. If either the GNC or COR starts to achieve military dominance over the other, it would be less inclined to negotiate a peace agreement, as it would be to its advantage to have the upper hand militarily. A winning government would either cease negotiations as long as it makes progress, or continue at the negotiation table, but with greater demands.
  4. The conflicting views regarding General Haftar. The views surrounding General Haftar and his future increase the difficulty of signing a peace agreement. He is the head of the Libyan military under the COR, but is despised by the GNC and Dawn of Libya. The polarized views of his current role and any potential future role in a unity government pose a problem to the signing of a peace deal.
  5. Disagreement on the role of Islam in the unity government. With a political Islamist base, the GNC and Dawn of Libya disagree with the COR and Dignity coalition on the role of Islam. The inability to agree on the role of Islam in the new government (if any) contributes to the parties’ failure to sign a peace treaty.

Sub-scenario 1.2.1: Back to Civil War

Peace negotiations brokered by an external actor fail to lead to a signed peace agreement. The rival governments fail to compromise on particular issues (such as a role for General Haftar) resulting in the re-escalation of civil war.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 1.2.1 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. Refusal of the main parties to return to negotiations. If one or more of the main parties refuse to re-negotiate, the country will have no direction but to return to civil war.
  2. The level of risk that would initiate an international intervention. If an international intervention is not imminent, or if the international actors cannot formulate an efficient intervention strategy in the first place, the governments and their coalitions may return to civil war. The lower the risk of international intervention as a result of a return to civil war, the more likely this sub-scenario.
  3. The level of external assistance. If one side is able to secure additional external assistance (primarily in the form of weapons, military training, or political acceptance), they may wish to return to war in the hope of gaining the upper hand.

Sub-scenario 1.2.2: Back to the Negotiating Table

Peace negotiations brokered by an external actor fail to lead to a signed peace agreement, however, the actors still agree to continue negotiations. This results in a return to the negotiating table to settle the disagreements.

Indicators to Monitor

Below are the main indicators we identified that impact the likelihood to see scenario 1.2.2 occurring. They should thus be monitored.

  1. Increased fear for regional actors and the international community to see extremist threats emanating from Libya. In that case, the actors feeling threatened would thereby put even stronger pressure on the Libyan actors to return to the negotiating table and work through the points of contention that prevent the signing of a peace agreement.
  2. The looming threat of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy would prevent the abilities of the GNC and COR to pay civil servants, pay military and security forces, and provide social services – resulting in a loss of legitimacy. Thus, they return to dialogue in order to resolve the issues before state funds dry up.
  3. The level of risk that would initiate an international intervention. To avoid an international intervention, the parties agree to return to the negotiating table and work out the issues preventing the signing of a peace agreement.
  4. Military stalemate. If the Dawn of Libya and Dignity coalitions have reached a military stalemate, the political actors realize their lack of military options and may be more willing to return to the negotiating table.

In our forthcoming post, we shall evaluate sub-scenario 1.3 (Peace negotiations, without an external mediator, lead to a signed peace treaty) and conclude Scenario 1.

Bibliography

Featured Photo: Libyan interim government cabinet meeting, posted on the Council of Representatives Facebook page, 8 January 2014

Christine Petre, “Tunisia-Libya relations remain tense following kidnapping,” Middle East Monitor, June 23, 2015

Dianne Penn, “Proposal announced for Libya unity government,” United Nations, October 8, 2015

“HoR members rejects UNSMIL fourth draft as foreign governments applaud it,” Libya Herald, June 9, 2015

Jon Mitchell, “Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1: Towards Peace? (1),” The Red Team Analysis Society, June 29, 2015

Jon Mitchell and Helene Lavoix, “Scenarios for the Future of Libya within the Next Three to Five Years,” The Red Team Analysis Society, June 1, 2015

“Salah Badi creates ‘Libya Dawn 2’ as Libya Dawn 1 crumbles,” Marsad Libya, June 18, 2015

“Tunisia parliament approves unity government,” Al Jazeera, February 6, 2015

One thought on “Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (4) – Failed negotiations”

Comments are closed.