On Proxies and Peace Making Perspectives in Libya
Despite the lack of attention displayed by international media outlets, recent developments are leading Libya closer and closer to a breaking point. With French troops quietly setting up shop in northern Niger and the Ghadames talks displaying all the limits of engagement limited to internationally recognised institutions, Libya’s international partners are slowly coming to realise that much broader and sustained efforts are needed in order to achieve a lasting political solutions in the country.
In this sense, international patrons seem to be finally realising that their local proxies are unable to decisively tip the balance of the conflict and consequently momentum is gathering for new talks and dialogue initiatives to be held in the coming weeks. Most importantly, these initiatives will need to engage all of the country’s stakeholders and to move past simplistic and backfiring Islamist vs non-Islamist narratives. The clock is ticking for Libya and a political solution must be achieved before it is too late for its people, institutions and instustries.
You can read here my latest article for the Middle East Eye which focuses on these issues and prospects analysing them in greater details:
As the situation deteriorates with massive suicide bombing operations rocking Benghazi, Libya is increasingly becoming a vacuum for foreign meddling, encouraging the calcification of the country’s many factions into two loose and unnatural blocs as they attempt to align themselves with outside paymasters. In reality, the current struggle between the anti-Islamist and Islamist umbrella groupings for control of Tripolitania and Benghazi is nested inside a web of ongoing local conflicts. Many of the main actors (the federalists, Zintan, Haftar, Misrata, Ansar Sharia) are simply franchised players who could step away from these political blocs to go it alone at any time. Attempts to present the conflict in Libya as a polarised Clauzewitzian war between two sides distorts the reality.
(…) Fortunately over the last days, perspectives seem to be changing and momentum is gathering behind a new Algerian initiative for a UN-supported mediation effort that actually brings all the stakeholders together and refuses to see the conflict as a binary struggle between two polarised opponents.
(…) A new meeting in Spain or Algeria in late October could hold the key to keeping Libya united. Giving political promises to Libya’s key stakeholders is essential to incentivising a political rather than a military solution to the impasse. Realities on the ground are shifting rapidly, if we wait for the Central Bank to be looted or Libya’s oil ports to be blockaded it will then be too late to roll the clock back.