Can a New UN Envoy Help Resolve Libya’s Political Crisis?
Can a New UN Envoy Help Resolve Libya’s Political Crisis?
Podcast / Middle East & North Africa 1 minutes

Can a New UN Envoy Help Resolve Libya’s Political Crisis?

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood is joined by Claudia Gazzini, Crisis Group’s Libya expert, to look at the political standoff in Libya that led to deadly clashes over the summer and whether a new UN envoy can help find a way out.

Clashes between rival factions rocked Libyan capital Tripoli over the summer. The fighting pit forces loyal to UN-backed Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba against supporters of Fathi Bashagha, who last March was appointed prime minister by Libya’s eastern parliament and has formed an alliance with Khalifa Haftar, a powerful commander from the east. The clashes were triggered by a march on Tripoli by Bashaga’s loyalists, the latest in a series of attempts to oust Dabaiba, initially through political means and now by force. Armed factions in Tripoli came to Dabaiba’s defence and violence has now largely subsided, but Libya remains divided into rival governments. Foreign powers, who two years ago appeared to be putting aside their differences over Libya, are again divided on what the way forward should be. Turkey and Egypt, in particular, appear to be viewing the crisis in zero-sum terms, with Cairo particularly incensed by a maritime deal Dabaiba has just signed with Ankara. The new UN envoy, former Senegalese Minister Abdulaye Bathily, who formally starts his role this week, has his work cut out. 

In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks with Claudia Gazzini, Crisis Group’s Libya expert, about the country’s impasse. They discuss prospects for resolving the standoff between Dabaiba and Bashagha and what their next moves, and those of Haftar, might be. They look at how foreign powers view the crisis, and the impact of Egypt-Turkey tensions and the latest maritime deal. They assess how likely another flare-up of violence is. They also examine whether the new UN envoy can mend the deep rifts that continue to divide the country and what his immediate priorities should be. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more on the situation in Libya, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Libya country page.


Executive Vice President
Senior Analyst, Libya

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