‘Coup’ Attempt Could Complicate Libya’s Fight Against ISIS
In an article for Religion and Geopolitics, Rhiannon Smith and Jason Pack discuss how recent developments in Libya are causing political alliances to shift and outline how these developments might impact the fight against ISIS in Sirte. They conclude that:
In the worst case scenario, Ghwell’s ‘coup’ may unleash a new wave of conflict between pro and anti-unity government militias, driving the unity government into exile and possibly establishing a new de-facto government in Tripoli, presided over by Islamist hardliners loyal to Libya’s supreme religious leader, the Grand Mufti Sadeq al-Ghariyani. He would actively halt the fight against ISIS to bring all hardline Islamists into his fold. This would lead to the collapse of the UN process with nothing to replace it, short-circuiting attempts to defeat ISIS in Sirte, which would allow the group and other jihadis to extend influence. Conflict in the capital could also strengthen Haftar’s hand, pushing towards separatism, legitimising military rule and the use of force against Islamist militias, while emboldening those same Islamists to work with ISIS remnants against Haftar.
Time will tell on which of these trajectory Libya’s ever-fluid and confusing political landscape is currently evolving, but the direction it takes will certainly influence how much or how little success Libyan forces will have in defeating ISIS.
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