Stephanie Khoury: An impossible task?

Libya

Published on Friday 14 June 2024 Back to articles

Stephanie Khoury

On 19 June the Deputy UN Special Representative to Libya, Stephanie Khoury, is scheduled to give her first bi-monthly Libya briefing to the UN Security Council (UNSC). It is unlikely to contain any new or radical initiatives, and the latter will also struggle to agree upon a permanent replacement for Abdoulaye Bathily. Even if Khoury does come up with a new plan, it is doubtful it will gain much traction including inside Libya, where some constituencies already view her as part of a US plan to impose its own agenda on the country.

Divisions between the factions supporting and opposing the Government of National Unity’s (GNU) Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah will continue to rage in western Libya. Dbeibah’s opponents may be banking on the High Council of State (HCS) chairman, Mohamed Tekala, being replaced in August in order to strengthen their position, but this will be insufficient to turn things around and get him removed. Although this camp may be gaining in cohesion, it is still too divided to be able to make any serious impact. Meanwhile Dbeibah is becoming ever more entrenched in the capital, where he still has the support of powerful armed groups. This indicates that the stalemate in western Libya will continue for some time yet. 

The mystery over the disappearance in Benghazi of Ibrahim al-Dersi MP will continue to pose a problem for the Libyan Arab Forces (LAAF) head, Khalifa Haftar. Although the issue has been partially contained for now, unless the eastern authorities can provide answers about al-Dersi’s fate, the matter could create further strains in Haftar’s relations with some of the region’s tribes. Mistrust is growing and, the more he empowers his sons, the more this will increase. 

The western coastal city of Zawiya will remain a key trouble spot which is beyond the control of Dbeibah and the GNU. If the militia leader Mohamed Bahroun keeps up this latest attempt to throw his weight around, it could elicit a major backlash from competing armed groups. This could plunge the town into serious strife. 

Oil Minister Mohamed Oun will remain a source of conflict for the energy sector. Although he is back working in the ministry, Dbeibah’s refusal to acknowledge the fact that he was cleared by the Administrative Control Authority. This indicates that both Dbeibah and NOC chairman Ferhat Bengdara are determined to sideline him from the sector.

This excerpt is taken from Libya Focus, our monthly intelligence report on Libya. Click here to receive a free sample copy.

The June 2024 issue of Libya Focus also includes the following:

Politics

  • Stephanie Khoury is due to give her first UNSC briefing…
  • Implications
  • Key players dig their heels in…
  • Abducted MP causes agitation in the east…

Security

  • Trouble in Zawiya…

Energy & Economy

  • Minister Mohamed Oun’s position remains unclear
  • US-facilitates finance meeting in Tunisia…
  • Schlumberger suspends work in Libya

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