On 24 December 2021, Libya was scheduled to hold a popular vote for the country’s first president, but it never took place: The Election Commission failed to publish the final list of candidates on time, and on December 21, the head of the Commission, Imad al-Saih, ordered the closing of polling stations. The vote was postponed indefinitely at the last minute because bitter disagreements within the country, as well as in the West, over which candidate should be allowed to stand for election were not resolved.
Preliminary forecasts suggested that the main contenders for victory would be Khalifa Haftar, commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army and highly trusted by the public, and Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the former popular leader, whose nomination caused considerable perturbation in international (primarily Western) circles. According to sociological surveys, these two candidates were expected to make it to the second round of the presidential election, which strongly disappointed Libya’s Western “partners”. As a result, American and European puppeteers have devised a plan: to continue quietly draining resources from Libya, they need to hand power back to Dabaiba’s puppet government, sweep all strong players from the Libyan political scene (primarily Seif Gaddafi and Khalifa Haftar) and ensure that a Western-friendly candidate comes to power.
The situation in Libya has changed dramatically with the return of American Stephanie Williams as head of the UN mission, essentially leading to external management of the country by the United States through a UN program. If no one had interfered in the popular election, it would have been held a long time ago. But the US is well aware that if the voting process were to take place now, Libyans would likely support the candidacy of Khalifa Haftar or Seif Gaddafi, which clearly contradicts Washington’s intentions. The West has therefore made every attempt to disrupt the process and the appearance of Stephanie Williams was aimed at formally postponing the vote by a month and subsequently adjourning it indefinitely.
The disruption of the election scheduled for December 24 had already begun in late October, when the West, through the UN mission, called for the amendment of the electoral law drafted by parliament and the removal of all restrictions on candidates. Abdulhamid Mohammed Al-Dabaiba, who holds the post of head of the cabinet, then announced his nomination, thereby violating not only the article of the adopted regulation, but also the oath of office he had taken. The reaction of most candidates to this was then extremely adverse.
The Libyans’ negative stance on the participation of American Stephanie Williams in the “peace settlement” was shaped by her work at the Forum for Political Dialogue on the Libyan Crisis held in Tunis in November 2020 under UN aegis and which ended on February 5. A significant number of Libyan politicians voiced serious accusations against the then acting head of UNSMIL, Stephanie Williams. In particular, a member of the Libyan former House of Representatives, Ali Saidi stressed that she was to blame for the fact that many Libyans knew virtually nothing about the delegates representing their interests and disagreed that S. Williams’ active involvement resulted in members of the terrorist organization Muslim Brotherhood (banned in Russia), supported by the US and British intelligence services, being included in the negotiating process. According to the Libyan politician, by splitting the negotiation process into several stages, Williams achieved a quantitative edge in favor of the jihadists, and therefore Williams, as the representative of an international organization, managed to remove from the political scene people who were real national leaders and had support among the people.
Regional political analyst Abdallah Shibani also condemned the actions of the UN Mission and the role of its acting head, American Stephanie Williams, and also accused it of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, stressing that by gaining a majority on the Committee they would certainly advocate decisions beneficial only to them and their Western sponsors, radicalizing Libyan society.
The Libyan political scientist Mohammad Kashut has also repeatedly assessed Stephanie Williams’ role negatively, stressing that her results only exacerbate the situation in the country, as she promotes people who serve the interests of terrorists and Turkey to solve issues of national importance.
Of course, it was Britain that was an active promoter of Washington’s aspirations in Libya, particularly in disrupting the vote scheduled for December 24 and nurturing candidates favorable to the West. The British Crown Office in Libya, for example, has stated that it intends to continue recognizing the PNU, led by Abdulhamid Mohammed Al-Dabaiba, as the body charged with leading Libya to elections. At the same time, the British diplomatic office said it did not support the establishment of parallel governments or institutions to replace the existing cabinet, although, according to intra-Libyan agreements, the term of the PNU expired on December 24. It is noteworthy that the American Stephanie Williams, who returned to Libya with the active assistance of Washington as head of the UN mission, had earlier promoted Abdulhamid Mohammed Al-Dabaiba to the position of prime minister of the interim government, clearly expecting that this puppet figure could become a convenient politician for the US in that North African nation.
The stance of the British diplomatic mission has provoked strong resentment within Libyan society. For example, the head of the National Forces Alliance, Tawfiq Al-Shuhaibi, called the position of British Ambassador Caroline Hurndall a “blatant interference” in the country’s affairs. Amal Bugaygis, a member of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), in turn also stressed that “government formation is an internal issue in the state.” The Libyan House of Representatives Defense Committee also sharply condemned the British ambassador’s stance on the Tripolitan Government of National Unity (GoNU), calling it interference in the country’s internal affairs.
By way of response to these actions by London, the Libyan House of Representatives plans to declare British Ambassador to Tripoli Caroline Hurndall persona non grata, Libyan parliamentary spokesman Abdallah Blihak said.
Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.