Many regional countries, including Libya’s neighbors, have also welcomed the new government, headed by architect-turned-politician Fayez Sarraj (pictured). Jordan, Egypt, Spain and Tunisia have all welcomed this development and promised support.
Yet it remains unclear how this government will operate in Tripoli — if it ever gets there — and what its priorities will be toward its citizens and the international community. The capital, Tripoli, is under the control of the self-proclaimed government since it was overrun in August 2014 by a coalition of Islamist militias, which currently occupy all government buildings.
During his visit to Tripoli, Kobler, along with his military adviser, Lt. Gen. Paolo Serra, met with some militia leaders in an effort to secure their support for the new government, but it is unclear if any such commitments were made.
If Sarraj’s government ever makes it to Tripoli, it will face two conflicting sets of priorities.
For world powers, particularly the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and EU countries, the most urgent priority is to have one government in Libya able to command one united force able to fight the Islamic State (IS).
The terror group has been quietly expanding in Libya after it took over Sirte on the coast. Each of the two governments is now backed by different militias. The aim is to have both sides unite their military capabilities to fight a common enemy.
IS has, for the first time, publicly declared its presence in Sabratha just 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of Tripoli. On Dec. 9, IS paraded its fighters in some 30 cars around the city center as a display of force. Given the proximity of Libya to the southern EU shores and in light of the November Paris attacks, EU members are extremely worried that Sirte poses an immediate danger and could serve as a launching point for future terror attacks.