One of the reasons why attempts to implement the agreement have failed in the absence of a broader agreement on security issues is that the military balance has changed since December 2015. The political divide is between pro and anti-Accord and not between pro-HoR and Pro-GNC; and while the agreement and much of the diplomatic conversation provided for civilian control of the armed groups, they became stronger: in the West because of the Council`s dependence on Tripoli and their success against ISIS in Syrte, and in the east, because Haftar claimed control of Benghazi and the Gulf of Syrte “Oil Crescent.” Each sees the other as a quest for domination, which makes compromises elusive. Despite this, in the West, in addition to the leaders of the GNC, there were some prominent opponents, including Mahmoud Jibrils Tahaluf, the National Front and militia party and politicians close to Abdelhakim Belhaj, the leader of the Libya Islamic Fighting Group, which no longer exists. [fn] Overall, their objections focused on the composition of the Council and the belief that the institutional framework of the agreement was untenable. Interviews with Crisis Group, Tahaluf, members of the National Front, Tunis, March 2016; Former Gaddafi-era officials, Tunis, Cairo, March-April 2016.Hide the footnote Everyone often had opportunistic reasons to oppose either the agreement or the establishment of the Council. Jibril felt that the power sharing configuration was unenforceable. [fn] Jibril said he advised Kobler against preparing the deal for signature in early December 2015. He also opposed the establishment of the Council in Tripoli, as long as the city was under the control of the militias: “If you turn the money and the political power of Tripoli, [the militias] cannot distort people`s weapons for money and power.” Crisis Group interview, Rome, January 2016.Zintan`s armed groups, important military actors, although expelled from Tripoli in 2014, were divided, some agreeing to support the agreement in exchange for sharing responsibility for security in the capital, others were opposed to Haftar`s forces in the east and coordinated openly with them. [fn] In negotiations between the Misratan and Zintani leaders from mid-2015, some Zintani armed groups agreed to support the Council, but demanded the right to return to Tripoli. This current is best represented by former Defense Minister Osama Jwehli, who said he was open to a revised agreement if the dominance of Misratan and Islamist militias in Tripoli was satisfactorily addressed. Crisis group interview, Zintan, June 2016. Another faction, led by army commander Colonel Idris Madi, supports Haftar; In May 2016, at an army graduation ceremony in Zintan, he received the army chief of staff of the pro-Haftar army, where he promised to “liberate Tripoli soon.” Observations, Chief of Staff Abdelrazek al-Naduri, May 24, 2016, reports in Libya al-Mustaqbal, May 24, 2016.
A representative of Zintani, Omar el-Aswad, was appointed to the Council, but suspended his participation in February 2016 in protest at his cabinet appointments. Ignoring the footnote Islamists of different stripes initially rejected the Council as chosen abroad. [fn] Islamist groups across Libya followed Tripoli`s mufti, al-Sadeq al-Gharayani, who opposed the deal and accused the council of operating under the “tutelage” of foreign powers. . . .