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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

Conflict Risk Alert

Tides turned in battle for capital Tripoli and front line shifted eastward around strategic city of Sirte, raising risk of escalation there in coming weeks, while political negotiations remained stalled. Forces loyal to UN-recognised Govt of National Accord (GNA) 5 June reclaimed control of capital Tripoli and took Tarhuna, last outpost of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Arab-Libyan Armed Forces (ALAF) in west, reportedly after ALAF and Russian military aides pulled out without fighting. GNA 11 June reported discovery of several mass graves in Tarhuna. GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha 7 June signalled intention to continue military offensive eastward to capture strategic city of Sirte and nearby Jufra airbase, which serves as ALAF’s operations base. ALAF and its foreign backers 12-13 June repelled GNA offensive on Sirte; airstrikes killed over 40 GNA fighters and 19 civilians. Egypt President Sisi 20 June threatened military intervention in Libya over “red line” of Sirte. Turkey tried to strike deal with Russia over Sirte, but Russia’s foreign and defence ministers 14 June postponed visit to Turkey in last-minute move. Meanwhile, attempts at restarting negotiations failed. UN mission, which remains weakened by absence of special representative, held separate consultations on ceasefire with GNA and ALAF delegations throughout month. Sisi 6 June proposed roadmap for political negotiations, which was welcomed by allied states but rejected by GNA and Turkey. After National Oil Corporation and local guards 6-7 June agreed to restart oil production at Sharara and El-Feel oil fields in south, armed Haftar-allied military commanders 8 June ordered employees to halt production. UN Human Rights Council 22 June ordered fact-finding mission in Libya to investigate alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law since early 2016.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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
9 Apr 2019
Haftar is deeply unpopular in many places and given the fragmented state of Libya and the proliferation of armed groups it’s going to be very hard to impose his rule throughout the country. TIME

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Latest Updates

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.

What Prospects for a Ceasefire in Libya?

On 19 January, Berlin will convene the main parties in Libya’s conflict. This comes in the wake of the Moscow meeting between Libya’s two main rival leaders that failed to produce a ceasefire. Libya expert Claudia Gazzini discusses where the peace process may go next.

Avoiding a Protracted Conflict in Libya

The continued violence between the two local forces competing for power, and their inability to cooperate has locked the conflict in a stalemate that sees no immediate end. In this excerpt from its Watch List 2019 - Second Update, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to work towards an internationally-monitored ceasefire.

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2019 – Second Update

Watch List Updates complement International Crisis Group’s annual Watch List, most recently published in January 2019. These early-warning publications identify major conflict situations in which prompt action, driven or supported by the European Union and its member states, would generate stronger prospects for peace. The second update to the Watch List 2019 includes entries on Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran and Libya.

Stopping the War for Tripoli

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s march on Tripoli has ground to a halt in a war of attrition with the internationally recognised government’s forces on the city’s outskirts. The parties should conclude a ceasefire including Haftar’s partial withdrawal as a prelude to renewed UN peace talks.

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Claudia Gazzini

Consulting Analyst, Libya