Why global and regional powers aren’t standing up against Haftar’s Libya offensive
In his latest article published with Al-Monitor on 15 May, Founder of Libya-Analysis Jason Pack argues that outside support by international powers is likely key to the battle for Tripoli.
Given the propensity for stalemate in the Libyan way of war, foreign powers’ decisions vis-a-vis promoting a mediated solution or offering certain levels of support for different sides and factions are likely to be decisive in determining which actors emerge victorious. Since Libya is a penetrated system with an enduring internal balance of power, outside actors can tip the otherwise-balanced scales between warring coalitions.
Pack demonstrates the extent to which General Haftar’s international backers seem to be forced into maintaining their support to the Libyan National Army (LNA) even though they might not have agreed with General Haftar’s strategy as it still serves their interests.
These backers are likely to disagree with the timing and tactics of Haftar’s offensive and to have reserved some choice words for him in their private conversations. But they still seem forced to back him. A decisive defeat for the LNA at the gates of Tripoli, and the ensuing collapse of his influence throughout Libya, would mean a resurgence of exactly those Libyan actors to which Haftar’s backers are ideologically anathema.
He also advocates for the international community to try to look past such interests in order to find a common interest and allow for the stabilisation of Libya.
If the main international players would look past their sunk costs and find a common interest in a stable Libya, they might see a fairly simple way out of the seemingly endless wars of post-Gadhafi succession: denying all sides access to external sources of funding and arms, while also forcing the Libyan central bank and the internationally recognized government to eliminate subsidies and cut salaries to militiamen on all sides.
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