Is Libya becoming the next Arab proxy war?
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman hosted Libyan General Khalifa Haftar for talks at the al-Yamamah Royal Palace in Riyadh on March 27. The Libyan General also met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Haftar reportedly discussed the latest developments in Libya. While the details of their conversation have not been disclosed, Karasik and Cafiero suppose in an article published with Gulf State Analytics that Haftar traveled to Saudi Arabia to secure further support from the kingdom for the Libyan National Army (LNA)’s operations. The authors highlight that Saudi Arabia’s influence over Libya mostly transpires through the development in Libya of the fundamentalist movement of Madkhalis, which opposes Islamist groups and more particularly, the Muslim Brotherhood. This movement has found common grounds with General Haftar on his strong anti-Muslim Brotherhood stance. Karasik and Cafiero argue that Saudi-inspired Salafists have heavily influenced Libya’s conflict and will most likely be decisive factors for the establishment of a political balance in Libya. Furthermore, they question the extent to which Libya could become another Arab proxy conflict, deepening the divide between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
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