Who will stop Libya’s implosion?

No local combatants in the civil war or their regional backers are ready to compromise or land knockout blow.

Libya has two governments and two parliaments, one in Tobruk and the other in Tripoli, the capital. But both are governments in name only, and the resulting power vacuum both reflects, and deepens, Libya’s status as another battlefield for regional powers. Despite Libya’s neighbors declaring in Cairo on Monday, that they refuse to intervene in the troubled country, hours later The New York Times reported that U.S. officials revealed that the mysterious air force that last week bombed militias from Misrata in the remains of Tripoli’s international airport was from the United Arab Emirates, flying from bases in Egypt.

If confirmed, the Times report would underscore the connection between Libya’s increasingly deadly internal unraveling — Libya Body Count reports there were more violent deaths in July than in the previous six months combined — and the regional power struggle that pits old and new autocracies against the forces of political Islam across the Middle East.

While the Islamist forces are accused of receiving Qatari and Turkish support, the Zintan militias are seen by their foes as the chosen allies of the Emiratis. Renegade General Khalifa Haftar, who launched his insurgency in February, adopted a narrative that dovetails neatly with the one used by the Egyptian military in defense of last summer’s coup that overthrew President Mohamed Morsi — armed forces claiming to act in the national interest to oust Islamists, whom they accuse of bringing the country to the brink of disaster.

Read the rest of this article at Al Jazeera America online.

The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of their individual authors.


ECFR Alumni · Senior Policy Fellow

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