Libya seems to be sinking into civil war again: forces under the control of the Cyrenaica strongman General Khalifa Haftar have launched a military strike on Tripoli. The capital is held at the moment by militias supporting the Government of National Accord led by Fayez al-Sarraj with UN backing.
The conference on Libya held in Palermo, Italy last November saw neither the rising of a new dawn in terms of security and political consensus nor the development of a strong agreement around a well-defined plan. Instead, what emerged was the reiteration by all the Libyan and European delegations of their support for the actions of the United Nations Special Mission In Libya (UNSMIL) and a vague definition of a roadmap to a solution to the country’s crisis. In other words, there were minimum results but results nonetheless.
Libya has always been among Italy’s priorities in foreign policy, if not the main item on the country’s agenda. The Vienna conference (16th May) was co-chaired by the United States and Italy. The Conference tried to give a new impulse to the solution of the Libyan crisis.
At this year's Security Conference in Munich, the European Union's High Representative Federica Mogherini named Ukraine and Libya as her top priorities. She explained, "In Libya there is the perfect mix ready to explode and in case it explodes, it will explode just at the gates of Europe. […] The combination of elements present there is extremely dangerous for us and for the security of the region"(1).
The Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings culminated peacefully because their respective national armies ensured as much as possible an orderly transition; on the contrary, in Libya the national army collapsed and the uprising rapidly turned itself into civil war among armed Libyan factions. While the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings challenged the regimes at their center stages, symbolically occupying the heart of respective capital cities, in Libya the rebellion was located in Benghazi far away from the center of Qadhafi’s power.