Adding to their knee-jerk intervention in Libya, the US Treasury Department today imposed sanctions on Libyan President Aguila Saleh, accusing him of being responsible for “stalling progress” in the country and falsely claiming he had blocked the Tobruk parliament from voting on a unity government.
In fact, the Tobruk parliament did hold a vote on the possibility of recognizing the “unity government” months ago, and voted overwhelmingly against doing so. The Tobruk parliament is backed by the United Nations, though paradoxically they also back the “unity government,” which has no imprimatur from either the Tobruk parliament or the rival Tripoli parliament.
The US is keen to see the unity government succeed, at least to a point, as they have almost no military of their own and are believed to be keen to endorse an invasion by NATO member nations to shore up their position. The US, Italy, France, and Britain have all expressed interest in such an invasion, but are holding out for the unity government to be at least somewhat credible.
To that end, Western officials have been railing against the existing parliaments for not endorsing the “unity government,” and regularly imposing sanctions on their top figures. The Treasury Department’s move follows similar EU moves in recent months, which went so far as to even sanction a former premier who isn’t believed to be politically active over the matter.