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Libya

Implementation of the UN-mediated 2015 political deal that established the Presidency Council and Tripoli-based interim government has been hindered by claims of illegitimacy by rival political forces. Although the framework of the deal is the only viable path to resolving the Libyan conflict, Crisis Group encourages all parties to negotiate a new government with nationwide legitimacy. Important steps were taken in July 2017, when rivals President al-Serraj and General Haftar agreed to a ceasefire agreement and to hold elections in 2018. Yet Libya remains deeply divided and failure to implement the agreement could adversely affect regional security as well as increase migrant flows into the European Union. Crisis Group aims to inform the international community, as well as national and regional actors, about the importance of prioritising economic development and basic political consensus as the main stepping stones for sustainable peace.

CrisisWatch Libya

Unchanged Situation

Implementation of Oct ceasefire agreement continued to falter, while political dialogue aimed at unifying country’s divided institutions stalled. Tripoli-based Govt of National Accord (GNA) 7 Dec accused Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar-led Arab-Libyan Armed Forces (ALAF) of mobilising in south in attempt to take over military base in desert town of Obari; ALAF same day denied claim and instead accused Tripoli of having dispatched “militias, weapons and military equipment toward front lines west of Sirte and Jufra” towns in centre; GNA in following weeks continued to alert foreign partners to suspected ALAF military build-up in south. Meanwhile, ALAF naval forces 7 Dec intercepted Turkish cargo vessel near port city of Derna in east, prompting Turkey’s FM to warn that “targeting Turkish interests in Libya will have grave consequences”; ALAF 9 Dec accused Turkey of “undermining Libyan sovereignty and its resources” by “dispatching military equipment” and “transporting mercenaries and foreign fighters to fight” alongside GNA forces. Turkish parliament 22 Dec extended Ankara’s direct military support to GNA, including deployment of Turkish troops, for another 18 months. In letter to UN Security Council, UN Sec-Gen Guterres 29 Dec proposed to set up international monitoring group to support ceasefire. Meanwhile, political talks stalled. UN Acting Special Representative for Libya Stephanie Williams 15 Dec said Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) failed to agree on mechanism to choose transitional govt to lead country to elections in Dec 2021 despite six online meetings since face-to-face talks in Tunisia in Nov. UN however moved forward with election preparations and 21 Dec established Legal Committee, consisting of 18 LPDF members, tasked with drafting proposals on legal framework for elections. UN Security Council 15 Dec approved Guterres’s proposal to appoint Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov as UN special envoy for Libya; UN 22 Dec however said Mladenov had declined position due to “personal and family reasons”. Meeting of Central Bank of Libya’s board of directors  held 16 Dec for first time in five years; participants agreed to devaluate Libyan dinar and fixed official exchange rate of 4.48lyd/$, with aim to unify Libya’s exchange rate system. 

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

7 Oct 2020
The arms embargo in Libya died many years ago. What changed this year was that the violations of the embargo came out into the open more. The Guardian

Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya
2 Mar 2020
[L’envoyé spécial des Nations unies en Libye, Ghassan Salamé,] était un envoyé infatigable qui voulait probablement plus la paix que les Libyens eux-mêmes. Liberation

Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya
18 Feb 2020
Tout le monde veut la fin de la guerre en Libye, sauf que chacun a une idée différente de ce qui devrait être la nouvelle configuration politique. Donc la guerre continue. Jeune Afrique

Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya
17 Jan 2020
[The new European Union foreign policy chief has brought] a renewed energy and willingness to look at Libya as a crisis and a war in and of itself. New York Times

Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya
10 Jul 2019
The French need to clarify in greater detail. The open question is whether or not they are actively supporting Haftar’s forces in their offensive on Tripoli. The Guardian

Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya
4 Jun 2019
With the GNA and the LNA refusing to halt hostilities and amid diplomatic paralysis, the war in and around Tripoli is likely to drag on. AFP

Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya

Latest Updates

Hold Your Fire: Libya's Proxy War

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Crisis Group’s Libya expert Claudia Gazzini explains the militia and foreign proxy rivalries that are tearing the country apart to our President Rob Malley and co-host Naz Modirzadeh, a Harvard professor of international law and armed conflict.

Averting an Egyptian Military Intervention in Libya

On 20 July, Egyptian legislators authorised sending combat troops to Libya, where Cairo’s ally Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is on the defensive. Following Turkey’s intervention on the Tripoli government’s behalf, Egypt’s involvement could escalate the war dramatically. All parties should seek a compromise.

Also available in العربية

The Regionalisation of Libya's Civil War (Online Event, 5th May 2020)

Crisis Group's Libya Senior Analyst Claudia Gazzini and Turkey Project Director Nigar Göksel held a panel moderated by our Communications & Outreach Director Hugh Pope to discuss Crisis Group's 29 April report on outside intervention in Libya.

Turkey's Gamble in Libya

 

In this interview, Crisis Group's Libya Expert Claudia Gazzini try to provide some insight into Turkey's relation with Libya and the Mediterranean neighbourhood.

Turkey Wades into Libya’s Troubled Waters

Turkish intervention in Libya’s war stopped the besieged Tripoli government from collapsing. But fighting with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s forces has since escalated, threatening a protracted conflict. Both Ankara and Haftar’s regional backers should urge their allies toward a return to negotiations and a ceasefire.

Also available in العربية, Türkçe

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Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya