Libyan Civil War: How a divided Libya risks splintering the Mediterranean

EDITORIAL

The International conference on Libya in Berlin held last month (Image: kremlin.ru)

LIBYA has been a shattered mosaic of warring factions and interests since the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi.

The fracturing of the country began in 2014 when two rival seats of power emerged following the failure of successive transitional government.

Fighting between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and forces loyal to former General Khalifa Haftar soon followed.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army latest offensive saw a push to take the capital Tripoli.

The resulting stalemate in the city’s suburbs comes despite a flood of weapons, supplies and even Chinese made drones to the LNA.

The source of this support points to the wider imperialistic power play at work in the North African nation.

Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates are major supporters of the LNA.

The regional powers have waded into the conflict on the side of Haftar in opposition to other outside forces aligned alongside the GNA.

It is here where the wider repercussions of the Libyan free-for-all come into focus.

Turkey has strongly tied itself to the GNA in an attempt to cement its leading role in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The GNA has been regularly reinforced with Turkish forces and also legions of Ankara’s irregular Syrian proxies.

Turkey’s end goal, sources tell Redaction Politics, is to counter the growing cooperation between Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel.

An agreement between Tripoli and Ankara over an “exclusive economic zone” reaching from Libya’s shores to southern Turkey is a blue print for how Turkey wants to expand its economic influence.

Meanwhile, France appear to see Haftar as a bulwark against terrorism in the region.

Turkey has opened a Libyan pipeline for Islamist militants with close links to Idlib based Al-Queda affiliates .

READ MORE: FROM IRAQ TO LIBYA: HOW TURKEY AND THE US ARE EXERTING THEIR INFLUENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Turkey is not the only power supplying muscle as well as munitions – Russia has been operating covertly in support of Haftar.

Alongside shielding the LNA from condemnation at the UN and providing financial aid, Russia linked Wagner Group mercenaries have been operating alongside Haftar’s forces.

Moscow’s main interest in the conflict to get hand on lucrative oil export contracts.

Libya’s oil and gas reserves are estimated to the largest in Africa with a total of forty-eight billion barrels.

Division within the UN on the issue of Libya mirror that found within the European Union.

France is the main reason for this, with the country having broken ranks in supporting General Haftar.

Their position runs against other European partners such as Italy, who support the UN-recognised government.

A UN arms embargo has been flaunted by all sides at the same time as their sponsored peace talks have all but ground to a halt.

The unconstrained crisis has left 340,000 people displaced which has further entrenched divisions with in Europe especially.

As the main reason for Rome’s support for the GNA is premised on a desire to curb the movement of would-be migrants to Italy.

LNA commander Khalifa Haftar (image: WikiCommons)

Chaos in a post-Gaddafi Libya was staunchly predicted by the leader’s son Saif-al Islam in TV interview held shortly before the NATO backed overthrow.

Then Saif-al Islam said those seeking to invade his country saw Libya as “fast food.”

By this he meant they were expecting a fast war and a quick victory.

The chaos still engulfing the country and the worsening of the Mediterranean migrant crisis testify to the fact the war has not been quick nor victory permanent.

Fighting over the scraps of what was once a viable and united Libyan state risks the viability and unity of Mediterranean security and partnership.

While the rush for control of the country’s rich mineral resources suggest the rampant appetite for war still remains.

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