Will the West and Egypt intervene in Libya’s civil war?

If UN intervention is not tied to a consensus ending Libya’s civil war, it could create new allies for ISIS

ECFR Alumni · Senior Policy Fellow

Almost four years after NATO member states and Arab allies began launching the airstrikes that helped overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, those same powers are again discussing an international intervention in Libya. But this time the target would be the Islamic State movement, against which a similar coalition is already fighting in Syria and Iraq.

In Libya, Gaddafi is gone, but his legacy is very much alive: State institutions barely exist, while the former dictator’s security architecture — a collection of loyal militias and a weak army — has further fragmented, leaving hundreds of armed groups engaged in a new civil war that has claimed 3,000 lives and brought human rights violations by all sides.

The civil war is reflected in competing governments, one in Tripoli and the other in Tobruk. Only the latter has international recognition, although it currently controls less than half of the national territory and only part of one of the three major cities.

The Tobruk-based coalition includes former officials of Gaddafi’s state, secularists and federalists; the Tripoli-based “Operation Libya Dawn” includes militias from the city of Misrata, parts of the Amazigh — often called Berbers, a term many find offensive — community and various self-described “Islamist” parties. But these coalitions are fast fragmenting.

This is an excerpt of an article first published by Al Jazeera America. For the full article, click here. For a complete list of Mattia Toaldo's media commentary on the situation in Libya, click here.

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

Author

ECFR Alumni · Senior Policy Fellow