The current armed conflict in Libya has deep domestic, regional, and international roots. The April 4 attack on the capital by of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has highlighted the failure of international mediation. A return to the negotiating table seems unlikely in the near future, as the parties of the conflict remain convinced that military victory is achievable. In particular, Haftar’s recent actions suggest a dangerous upsurge in violence and material damage may be on the horizon.
In early April 2019, General Khalifa Haftar instructed the Libyan National Army (LNA) to take Tripoli by force, initiating Libya’s Second War of Post-Qadhafi Succession. Drawing upon the Libya-Analysis proprietary real time militia mapping project, this paper examines the main armed groups involved in the war: ascertaining their strengths, weaknesses, command and control structures, motivations, alliances, military capacities, and financing. It illustrates how all armed groups in Libya exploit the country’s dysfunctional war economy.
On 6 April the US temporarily pulled out its forces from Libya following the offensive on Tripoli launched by the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar, a military operation that has plunged the North African country into a new phase of the civil war.
On April 14th the ‘National Conference’, a much-vaunted event in Libya’s political calendar and arguably over three years in the making, was due to begin. The brain child of the UN’s latest special-representative to the troubled country, Dr. Ghassan Salamé, it was designed to break the political stagnation entrenching since the last UN initiative the ‘Libyan Political Agreement’ (LPA) had been signed in 2015. The LPA birthed a transitional system of governance that was dead-on-delivery with rival institutions unwilling to cooperate.
The Palermo conference in mid-November seemed to have brought the UN back to the center of the Libyan crisis. Its greatest merit was that it set a clearer timetable for the various electoral deadlines. A few months later, however, we can say that this new promising phase has been followed by yet another disillusionment.
Yes. Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, a high-ranking soldier with deep political ambitions, is in many ways representative of Libya and its conflicted character. He rose through the ranks initially under Ghaddafi's protection but fell out of favour during the war with Chad. In 1987, he became a prisoner of war and Gaddafi disowned him.
After seven years, stability in Libya remains a chimera. The country’s regions, the west, east and south are more and more divided, while different groups of militias fight each other for predominance. It is the law of the jungle. But in spite of the chaos on the ground and the complete disorganization of the Libyan State, the most recent dilemma is whether or not elections should be held.
Almost seven years have now passed since the fall of Gaddafi’s regime, which has given rise to a situation of “organised chaos” in Libya. Leaders change, alliances change, but state institutions remain weak, confined to a small part of the region and sometimes divided between the Eastern and Western parts of the country, while sub-national affiliations continue to prevail over and prevent the rebuilding of a new legitimacy and national identity.