Libya: The Time to Avoid Escalation is Now
In an article for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Mattia Toaldo and Karim Mezran argue that at this point in the ongoing crises affecting Libya’s governance, economy and security, none of the belligerent parties can militarily defeat the others, but each side thinks it can win and is unwilling to back down. They argue that:
First, the United States, Europe, and regional powers involved in Libya such as Egypt, the UAE, Algeria, Tunisia, and Qatar should put in place a de-conflicting mechanism, cooperating where possible with Russia. Major fighting between the east and the west of the country should be avoided by keeping channels of communication open. These countries should also push UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to overcome the impasse on his Special Representative for Libya created by the US rejection of Salam Fayyad so that the UN can play an active role in setting up a political process.
Second, as demonstrated by recent fighting, Libya’s oil wealth and its distribution remain one of the core drivers of conflict. The US and Europeans should push Prime Minister Serraj to offer to Eastern Libya a “Libyan Economic Agreement” on how to share oil wealth and energy installations in a way that benefits the Libyan public and stabilizes the country….
Finally, the “militia rule” in the capital is incompatible with any stabilization effort and threatens any Libyan government while hampering any form of international assistance.
Click here to read the full article.