Can anti-LNA forces sustain their defence of Tripoli?
The involvement of Misratan militias in defending Tripoli and attacking Libyan National Army (LNA) supply lines is crucial, especially in terms of air power. However, Misrata have mobilised to deter a specific, active threat. If fighting is drawn out or if Misrata or its neighbouring territories are attacked, then its forces may withdraw to Misrata and Sirte to reinforce positions there. This would leave Tripoli more vulnerable. In addition, the myriad militias currently fighting against the LNA are often bitterly divided among themselves, and are only working together because Haftar poses such a symbolic and potentially game-changing threat. If fighting is prolonged, it is more likely that this alliance will start to fracture and break down. The same is likely to happen if the Government of National Accord (GNA) alliance manages to secure a resounding defeat of the LNA – once that shared enemy is gone, infighting will resume and new alliances and power structures will be fought over.