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Shame on West and Allies as National Unity Gov't Proposed in Libya

© Flickr / MagharebiaDemonstrators flood Martyrs' Square in Tripoli, 2013.
Demonstrators flood Martyrs' Square in Tripoli, 2013. - Sputnik International
Four years after the US-led coalition of western forces attacked Libyan government forces in an effort to topple Muammar Gaddafi before turning its back on the nation which imploded into civil war, the United Nations has finally proposed a unity government.

Libya's recognized government has operated out of the east of the country since last year when an armed faction called Libya Dawn took over Tripoli, set up its own government and reinstated a former parliament known as the GNC.

The UN proposal comes after months of protracted negotiations between delegates from both sides, who have faced pressure from hardliners and from continued fighting on the ground that has halted part of Libya's oil production.

Delegates from Tripoli's GNC parliament already balked at proposing candidates for the unity government because they wanted more amendments to the initial deal. But the UN proposal includes GNC members for the government.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the proposal in a statement issued by his media office, while urging the parties to accept and sign the agreement.

However, there has been severe criticism over the way western nations used immense air power to topple the Gaddafi regime, but showed little support afterwards as the country descended into chaos.

Britain joined France and the US in the air strikes to allow opponents of Gaddafi to take control of the major cities of Libya. In the aftermath, in September 2011, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were given a rapturous reception as they toured Tripoli and Benghazi.

"It is great to be here in free Benghazi, and free Libya," Mr Cameron said.

"Your city was an inspiration to the world as you threw off the dictator and chose freedom. People in Britain salute your courage."

President Sarkozy said: "You wanted peace, you wanted liberty, you want economic progress.

"France, Great Britain and Europe will be on the side of the Libyan people."

Lawless Militias

However, a UK parliamentary report into the Libya campaign concluded: "That the current crisis and conflict in Libya was brought about by failures among the Libyan politicians and militias does not absolve the international community, or the UK, from a particular responsibility to assist Libya to repair itself.

"The fact that ISIL appears to have taken advantage of the chaos in Libya to establish itself there is a security concern reaching beyond Libya, and is further motivation for the international community to provide assistance."

Since the armed intervention, lawless militias and armed groups on all sides of the conflict in western Libya are carrying out rampant human rights abuses, including war crimes, according to a new briefing from Amnesty International.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme, in October 2014, said:

"In today's Libya the rule of the gun has taken hold. Armed groups and militias are running amok, launching indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas and committing widespread abuses, including war crimes, with complete impunity."

The UN proposal for a government of national unity faces problems on the ground, with doubts over whether hardliners will give ground through fighting. There is also the question of the role of General Khalifa Haftar, a former Gaddafi ally who has become a divisive figure.

Four years after the overthrow of Gaddafi amid jubilation in the West, Libya still has no official national army and is riven by battles between loose alliances of anti- Gaddafi forces.

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