Describing a decade of developments in North Africa is no simple task. The last ten years have offered each North African State its own redefining moment(s) to grapple with, making a case for observing their distinctive contexts and the complex processes stemming from the different choices and strategies adopted by these countries.
Both de jure and de facto, authorities in Libya will have to cope with the pandemic threat posed by COVID-19. The narrative of securitization that has characterized the public health response worldwide – particularly in the MENA region – is already being used by Libya’s competing dysfunctional governments.
One year from the start of General Khalifa Haftar’s offensive against Tripoli, the civil war in Libya is still raging despite continuous demands from the United Nations and the international community for a humanitarian truce to help combat COVID-19.
In early November, Italy decided not to withdraw from the memorandum of understanding (MoU) it signed with Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in February 2017. The MoU established a framework for cooperation between Libya and Italy “in the development sector, combating illegal immigration, human trafficking and contraband, and strengthening border security”.
A Policy Paper published by the European University Institute and authored by Eugenio Cusumano (Leiden University) and Matteo Villa (ISPI) questions the relationship between the presence of NGOs in the Mediterranean sea and the number of migrants leaving Libyan shores.
On Sunday, August 4, a series of airstrikes in Libya’s remote southwest desert town of Murzuq killed a gathering over 40 armed men and civilians, with a further 50 people injured. Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, most likely carried out by foreign aircraft, claiming the targets were ‘Chadian opposition fighters’.
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.
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.