Western — 27 June 2016

Jun 27, 2016 | International actors

The weakness of the Government of National Accord (GNA) was more fully realised in international diplomatic circles last week, when GNA Foreign Minister Taher Siala failed to make a positive impact on the European stage. After the EU foreign council meeting on 20 June, the foreign ministers for France, Belgium and Luxembourg reportedly took up an official position, calling openly for the political process to be enlarged and for the inclusion of the Libyan National Army (LNA) under Khalifa Haftar to help reconquer Sirte and stabilize Libya. However, these developments are unlikely to change the EU maritime mandate received from the UN to expanding Operation Sophia’s activities, to include enforcement of the arms embargo and training of Libyan coastguard.

During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on 22 June, President Barack Obama’s nominee to command US forces in Africa, Marine Lt. General Thomas Waldhauser, said that more ground troops were needed in Libya to fight ISIS and agreed the current strategy of not bombing the group there “makes no sense.”  When asked by the committee’s chairman, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), whether the US had a strategy for Libya, Waldhauser said, “I am not aware of any overall grand strategy at this point.”  Waldhauser also agreed with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that ISIS represented “an imminent threat to the United States.”