Caught between an increasingly destructive conflict and a spreading pandemic, Libya now appears on the brink of collapse as never before. In a matter of few weeks, the internationally-recognized GNA has managed to break a 14-month siege by Haftar’s forces and reverse the tide of the war, launching a counter-offensive towards the country’s central territories. Turkey‘s support has proven essential for the GNA, just as Haftar has relied heavily on the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt, further confirming the key role of external backing to both sides in the war. The GNA’s recent rejection of the ceasefire proposed by Haftar and the Egyptian president suggests that the war may soon experience a new escalation, with the government in Tripoli apparently determined to exploit its military momentum. While regional and international actors scramble for influence, European states seem unable to revive the diplomatic path launched in January with the Berlin Conference and prevent a looming humanitarian disaster just beyond the EU’s southern border.
Declan Walsh, Cairo Bureau Chief, The New York Times, Egypt
Virginie Collombier, Research Coordinator, Middle East Directions Programme, European University Institute, Italy
Wolfram Lacher, Senior Associate, Middle East and Africa, Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany
Karim Mezran, Director, North Africa Initiative, Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East programs, Atlantic Council, USA
The video of this MED Virtual Panel is available at this link.