Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Mohamed Eljarh writes for Foreign Policy on ongoing fighting in Libya:
Libya’s new parliament held its first official meeting on Monday, Aug. 4, in the northeastern port city of Tobruk. The meeting comes as fighting between militias in Tripoli and Benghazi threatens to carry the country over the brink into complete anarchy. The conflict has only deepened Libya’s chronic political polarization, making the task ahead of parliament — legislating for a country whose transition to democracy is more uncertain than ever — extremely challenging.
26 of the legislature’s 188 members have refused to participate in the parliament’s sessions, arguing that it is unconstitutional for the members to meet in Tobruk. While it’s true that the country’s Constitutional Declaration (the interim constitution) designates Benghazi as the official meeting place, it does allow parliament to meet elsewhere if necessary. Given the country’s precarious security situation, and based on security reports from the ministry of the interior, the parliament’s general secretariat, Abdullah al-Masry, decided that parliamentary sessions should be held in Tobruk until further notice, because the city is known for being militia-free.