Sarraj’s Advisor — “Win or lose, Sarraj is a goner”

by Oliver Crowley | August 29th, 2019.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord of Libya.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord of Libya.

In a sit down with Libyan politicians from different camps in Cairo, one of Prime Minister Sarraj’s advisors expressed his belief that, regardless of who will be the victor in the ongoing conflict, Sarraj will not remain in power in Libya.

Battle for Tripoli has influenced the internal dynamics of the GNA

According to the advisor, the battle for Tripoli has greatly impacted the internal dynamics of the GNA.

PM Sarraj is currently pulling off a very intricate balancing act to keep once warring factions of his coalition at ease in order to maintain a united front.

Sarraj finds himself having to constantly reassure his coalition members that he is representing their interests, and that he will not let other factions push them out of their positions. Most notably, this occurs with the militias of Tripoli, the Muslim Brotherhood factions and Musrata.

Moderates in the GNA are increasingly sidelined

The advisor explained how the current war has driven everyone into a “survival mode”, leaving little to no room for logic and reason.

Moderates in the GNA have found it especially difficult to operate as their arguments in favour of a return to the negotiating table have been viewed as treason, resulting in many of them being ostracised or, in some extreme cases, threatened.

As the two sides are locked in a deadly stalemate that continues to claim lives without either side making any real gains, moderates should be viewed as a lifeline in the current conflict due to their good relationships with all political factions. However, the fact that they are increasingly sidelined suggests that tensions within the GNA are extremely high and that the prospect of negotiations still a remote possibility.

Most interestingly, the advisor mentioned that moderates in the GNA are not on talking terms with GNA Minister of the Interior Fathi Bashagha and are rarely allowed access to Prime Minister Sarraj anymore.

Sarraj alienating the forces that kept him in power

Prime Minister Sarraj is increasingly distancing himself from the names that got him into power and helped him navigate the turmoils of Libyan politics — essentially what has ensured his political survival for so long. At the same time, he has been replacing them with groups and individuals he once refused to deal with.


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