Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

The Peace of Flight 

No one can believe the claim that Libya’s Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush decided to meet her Israeli counterpart in Rome by herself, without coordinating with the leaders of the country. The “Rome meeting” was not an “individual initiative” made because of her “lack of diplomatic experience.”

No matter how hard the government of Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah tries to push this narrative now, it is not credible. The question, here, is bigger than the meeting. Why do interim governments (or those who lead them) in divided and turbulent countries seek to engage with Israel before genuinely reaching out to other domestic communities and blocs?

Why would the Dbeibah government contact Israel at a time when communication with domestic partners is so much more necessary? Indeed, there is a pressing need to defuse the crisis threatening what remains of Libya - that is, if there is anything left of statehood as a concept after it was destroyed by Moammar al-Gaddafi’s regime for decades.

Today, Libya moans under the weight of division, arms, and foreign meddling. Indeed, at a time when Libya has become a body with several heads making a claim to their right to rule and the country is falling apart, what is more important: Libyan-Libyan peace, or Libyan-Israeli peace?

This situation is not exclusive to Libya. Before it, Sudan concluded an agreement, agreed to make peace, normalized - call it what you wish - with Israel. Soon after that, a conflict broke out between its two major military groups, and there had been a real political struggle between civil society and the military in the first place.

How did Sudan benefit from its relationship with Israel? Some may say that Sudan benefited through the lifting of international and US sanctions, and because the mere fact of making the deal with Israel allowed it to return to the international community’s fold.

Well, that is true. However, the Sudanese are now losing what remains of their country, which had previously been devastated under Omar al-Bashir. His reign was its worst without a doubt, as it mixed the bad with the worse. It combined military rule with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, and there is no cocktail worse than that.

Sudan’s deal was like a cosmetic operation. It managed to leverage its relationship with Israel to open the door to ties with the United States, but the country is now embroiled in a conflict on the brink of destroying everything.

The same thing is happening now in Libya, which is close to boiling point. These outcomes demonstrate that in both Sudan and Libya, domestic peace is more consequential than relations or peace that leave to the foreign minister fleeing the country, as seen in Libya, or are followed by military fighting as was the case in Sudan.

As for the Israelis, their decision to leak the news about the “Rome meeting” is a clear testament not only to their recklessness, but also an indication of the gravity of the crisis currently facing the extremist Netanyahu government, which is desperate for any good news that could polish its internal image amid domestic divisions over its judicial reforms.

And, after the peace of the brave, land for peace, and the Abraham Accords, we are now facing the peace of the flight. Everyone wants to find a way out of their domestic crises through external peace, from Sudan to Libya, to even Israel, which wants peace without consequences and concessions, just free pictures.

One thing is for sure, when real peace comes, this Israeli government will fall, as it is not up to the task.