In an ironic move, the rebel led the Libyan National Army (LNA) had recently decided to retract its control from a few Tripoli frontlines it was holding on to, as a humanitarian sign, to help the nation that is being plagued by Covid-19. LNA is run by the self proclaimed crusader for freedom of Libya, Commander Khalifa Haftar.
While it has withdrawn some 2-3 kilometers from all positions in the city, its fighters continue to hold ground in other places. The decision to withdraw also follows a series of military setbacks that has underscored the shifting dynamics of a civil conflict that has gripped Libya since 2011. The war has been exasperated by foreign intervention. Turkey intervened in January 2019 to help the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) stave off Haftar’s assault.Libya,
once known for its rich oil reserves and healthy exports has been reduced to poverty due to the prolonged civil war. Despite repeated requests by the UN, foreign intervention has continued to prolong the war conditions in this African country. The ones to be held accountable are the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt, that have had Haftar’s back and helped him hold ground in all of eastern Libya and much of the south, including most oil facilities. But the LNA’s presence in the northwest, where Libya’s population is concentrated has been seen to come under intense pressure.
According to Stephanie Williams, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, United Nations, what is most alarming is that a military buildup continues to take precedence in the country which is not looking prepared to handle the corona virus pandemic.
These are essentially on the side of LNA. “From what we are witnessing in terms of the massive influx of weaponry, equipment and mercenaries to the two sides, the only conclusion that we can draw is that this war will intensify, broaden and deepen – with devastating consequences for the Libyan people”, Williams confirmed to the Council.
Williams has also communicated a low rate of spread which could be attributed to ‘low testing capacity, limited contact tracing and fear of social stigmatization.’ According to the World Health Organization (WHO), however, the peak of the pandemic has yet to reach the country “and the risk of an intensification of the outbreak remains very high.” Owing to other socio economic reasons, it is imperative foreign interference is stopped on priority, she has suggested to the Council.
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