Libya

In early 2021, Libyan politicians agreed on terms for a national unity government bringing together what had been two administrations in Tripoli and Tobruk. The accord was another step toward lasting stability following the October 2020 ceasefire between the two rival militaries. Unifying national institutions is taking time, however, and several possible pitfalls lie ahead. Through research and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to keep the national unity agreement intact and the various associated processes on track, encouraging dialogue among Libyans and vigorous engagement on the part of the UN and external powers with influence in the country.

CrisisWatch Libya

Unchanged Situation

Tensions between Tripoli-based institutions reached new heights as country remained divided into two rival govts with no political solution in sight.

Rival institutions remained at odds on means to resolve political crisis. Tripoli-based advisory High Council of State (HCS) Chair Khalid al-Meshri 14 Nov accused militiamen affiliated with Tripoli-based PM Abdelhamid Dabaiba of “besieging” HCS headquarters; said HCS had convened session to follow up on tentative agreement with eastern-based legislature House of Representatives (HoR) to work toward forming new unity govt. Dabaiba, who is opposed to HoR-HSC negotiations, immediately denounced “incitement and exaggeration”, saying only “a few” protesters had gathered outside HCS building, accused Meshri of making secret “power-sharing” deals to delay elections. HoR Speaker Aguila Saleh same day condemned “threats and intimidation by armed groups using force” against HCS. Dabaiba 29 Nov reportedly accused Meshri and Saleh of “systematically obstructing elections”. East-based military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar around 22 Nov weighed in on political crisis, saying “time has come for the Libyan people to put an end to failed experiments and dead ends”, accusing politicians of “worshipping their seats of power”.

Greek FM’s refusal to meet Tripoli-based govt minister sparked diplomatic spat. After Tripoli-based Govt of National Unity (GNU) in Oct signed deal with Türkyie on oil and gas exploration in areas of Mediterranean contested by Athens, Greek FM Nikos Dendias 17 Nov canceled Tripoli visit upon landing to avoid being welcomed by his Libyan counterpart, FM Najla al-Mangoush; Dendias claimed he had come to meet Tripoli-based Presidential Council head Mohamed al-Menfi. GNU subsequently recalled its ambassador from Athens and summoned Greek chargé d’affaires in Tripoli.

In other important developments. In his briefing to UN Security Council, UN sec-gen’s special representative for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, 15 Nov renewed call for legislative and presidential elections but did not articulate how he planned to address sources of friction over electoral roadmap. International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan early Nov met with Haftar during first ever visit to Libya, 9 Nov told UN Security Council he expects latter to cooperate with ICC investigations into alleged crimes committed by Haftar’s Libyan National Army.

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In The News

28 Apr 2022
None of the foreign actors backing the two Libyan sides want to compromise the rekindled dialogue for the sake of launching a war in Libya against the other side. Financial Times

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
2 Dec 2021
There’s a palpable fear ... that candidates [for the presidential election in Libya] that are very polarizing will contest the results either if they run or don’t run, if... Washington Post

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
23 Nov 2021
This is the first time that Libya has held presidential elections, and the powers attributed to the president in the current elections law are huge. Middle East Eye

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
23 Jun 2021
The Libyan parliament and the executive were not able to drive the [peace] process forward alone. This was why tensions between rival groups had increased again in recent... Al Jazeera

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
5 May 2021
There is not doubt that if [Egypt and Turkey] find a way to work together [...], this will reflect in pushing forward political stability in Libya. Associated Press

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
26 Apr 2021
If you start with the NATO-led intervention, the big lesson learned was that this planted the seeds for the disarray that followed [in Libya]. The Guardian

Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya

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Claudia Gazzini

Senior Analyst, Libya
Claudia Gazzini

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