Dr. Lounnas is a professor of international relations at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.1
On April 4, 2019, General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the strongman of the Al Bayda government, a Libyan faction associated with the “Tobruk Parliament,” launched an assault on the capital, Tripoli, in a final bid to conquer the country. Indeed, Libya has been divided since 2014 between the government of Tripoli, called the Government of National Accord (GNA), formed under UN mediation in December 2015, and the Al Bayda government, which emanates from the Tobruk parliament. Beyond a rivalry between the two groups, this represents a conflict between regional and international powers, each backing one of the warring parties. In fact, and since its creation, the GNA has been supported by Algeria and Tunisia in addition to Turkey and to a certain extent the United States, while the Al Bayda government and Haftar received the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and France as well as Russia. This rivalry between regional and major powers has aggravated the instability in the country, undermining efforts to secure an end to the civil war. Since the fall of the Qadhafi regime in 2011, Libya has become a failed state and a major source of insecurity for the regional and international systems. As Robert Rotberg explains, such states are unable to provide “political goods,” such as education, health services and security, or control/defend their territory.2 Francois Gaulmes claims such states are unable to take on their normal duties such as fighting poverty and ensuring the development, security and rights of their citizens.3 To quote Ray Takeyh and Nikolas Gvosdev,4 these weak/failed states provide jihadist organizations with “concrete locations or stable ‘nodes’ to implement their factories, training facilities and storehouses.”
Libya has become a land of choice for jihadist organizations, with the deployment of al-Qaeda-linked groups since 2011 as well as the Islamic State (IS) since 2015. Furthermore, the country has become the locus for different types of trafficking, including arms, drugs and, more recently, humans. This situation has, in turn, destabilized neighboring countries, with violent terrorist attacks hitting Algeria in 2013 and Tunisia in 2014-16, many of which came directly from Libya. In addition to this, and starting with northern Mali, the whole Sahel has been destabilized since 2011 as a direct result of the ongoing situation in Libya. As a former Algerian diplomat put it in 2014, “The Maghreb Sahel is a single unit of analysis in terms of security. What affects one area affects the other. There is a causal relationship between the collapse of Libya and the collapse of Mali in 2011, the destabilization of Tunisia and the ongoing insecurity in southern Algeria.”5 Given the complexity as well as the gravity of the situation, one would have expected the creation of a robust mechanism of regional-security cooperation to foster collective action among the various actors involved in the Libyan crisis. However, none was created; instead, Libya has since been a theater for competition between regional powers trying to consolidate and expand their influence.
Thus Libya represents a case study in which major and regional powers, expected in principle to cooperate with each other to stabilize a collapsed state from which emanate major threats, decide instead to compete with each other to promote their own individual national interests and further destabilize this state. Thus, this paper argues that, in the North African subregional system, national interests of regional and major powers trump everything else. Despite facing the common acute threats of terrorism and crimes that directly affect their security and stability, they choose competition. In the absence of any leader or hegemon capable of imposing cooperation and absorbing its costs, the emergence of a system of collective security to stabilize Libya among these powers is unlikely.
COMMON SOURCE OF INSTABILITY
The collapse of the Qadhafi regime in 2011 plunged Libya into chaos. Since then, terrorist organizations linked to al-Qaeda and IS have established rear bases there, in turn destabilizing the entire North African-Sahelian subregional system. Located strategically in the center of North Africa, a collapsed Libya constituted for terrorist organizations “a target of choice.” Commenting on this in 2015 in an interview with Dabiq, an IS online magazine, Abu Nabil al-Anbari (aka Abul Mughirah al-Qahtani), leader of IS in Libya, explained that Libya “is in Africa and south of Europe. ... It is also a gateway to the African desert stretching to a number of African countries.”8 Furthermore, given its strategic importance and large oil and natural-gas resources, al-Anbari predicted that the “control of the Islamic State over this region will lead to economic breakdowns especially for Italy and the rest of the European states.” Regarding the origins of his recruits, he explained that they came from “the Islamic Maghreb, Egypt, Africa, etc.,” confirming that not only Syria but also Libya had become a destination for jihadi recruits among the region’s youth.9
In that regard, Michael Ayari explains, Libya was “a rear base for jihadi organizations especially IS, which helped destabilize Tunisia especially between 2014 and 2016.”10 The “Ben Guerdane attack in 2016, a full assault launched by IS against Tunisia in the hope of recreating what happened in Syria and Iraq, was conducted directly by jihadists from Libya hoping to operate with the population and to get its support, an attack which eventually failed.”11 For Huda Mzioudet, the instability in Libya has negatively impacted Tunisia’s economy and security since 2011, given that both countries were linked prior to the collapse of Qadhafi.12 Training camps established in the region of Sabratha in northwest Libya served as a rear base for Tunisian jihadists to attack their home country — until their destruction during a U.S. raid in 2016.13 Assessing the impact of the situation in Libya on Tunisia, an official stated, “Libya offered a boulevard for the candidates for Jihad.”14
Algeria shares similar concerns regarding terrorist organizations. As explained by Akram Kharief,15 “For Algeria as for Tunisia, the problem comes from western Libya, which is seen as a safe haven for terrorist organizations. The region of Sabratha, among others, is considered a major source of concern as it is an area of activity for AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb).”16 In that regard, the United States conducted several strikes in 2018 in western Libya, including in the region of Bani Walid, where several high-ranking members of AQIM were killed. Moreover, in January 2013, Algeria witnessed one of the worst terrorist attacks in its history, when a group of jihadists from Northern Mali crossed its borders through Libya and took more than 700 hostages in the gas facility of In Amenas. This led to a three-day standoff before an assault by the Algerian army put an end to the crisis.
With regard to Egypt, the stabilization of Libya is imperative to both its security and economy. According to the International Organization for Migration, prior to the collapse of the Qadhafi regime, up to 1.5 million Egyptians worked in Libya, sending over $33 million of remittances to their families. This constituted a low estimate, as many Egyptian migrants in Libya were illegals sending remittances through back channels. The situation in Libya forced many of these migrants to leave Egypt and return home.17 Furthermore, Egypt experienced many problems related to its imports of oil after 2011, with the fall of the Mubarak regime, and even more so after 2013, when Egypt became a net energy importer.18 In this context, access to eastern Libya and its oil resources represented a strategic energy alternative for the Egyptian regime.19
The increase in jihadist-linked organizations and terrorist attacks in Egypt between 2013 and 201820 raised concerns in Cairo over the possibility that these organizations would receive support from a collapsed Libya. They included Jund Al Islam, which took advantage of the situation to recruit jihadists and accumulate weapons.21 There was also an active organization in Derna, in eastern Libya, called Jamaat Al Murabiteen, also known as the Sentinel Group, led by Hisham Al Ashmawy, one of the most wanted Egyptian terrorists.22 The fact that hundreds of IS fighters in Libya came from Egypt only raised Cairo’s security concerns. Twenty-one Egyptian Copts were murdered by IS in February 2015. This was coupled with a direct threat to Europe when one IS leader said, “Today we are south of Rome. ... We will conquer Rome with Allah’s permission. The sea where Sheik Osama bin Laden’s body was hidden, we swear to Allah we will mix with your blood.”23
Furthermore, the situation in Libya directly destabilized the Sahel. The collapse of Northern Mali in January 2012, and the deployment and resilience of jihadi organizations in the Sahel since then, is the direct consequence of the collapse of the Qadhafi regime. The French-led Operation Serval in January 2013 allowed Malian authorities to regain control of Northern Mali. However, the jihadi organizations simply retreated to southern Libya, from which they reconstituted themselves and gradually came back to the Sahel. A Mauritanian security official in August 2013 stated, “The main problem in the Sahel comes from Libya and the absence of any control there. It led to the proliferation of arms trafficking, largely due to the looting of the stocks of the Libyan army by al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. This lack of control allowed terrorist organizations to retreat to southern Libya amid Operation Serval and rebuild their strength there.”24 Indeed, between 2014 and 2019, jihadist organizations came back to the Sahel, spread all over the region and turned it into the “second-hottest jihadi spot” in the world after the Middle East.
This situation is exacerbated by the presence in Libya of illegal trafficking of weapons and humans, which dramatically increases the security concerns of its neighbors as well as of the international community. Between 2011 and 2015, the stockpiles of the Libyan army were looted and the weapons resold to various groups and organizations in the Sahel. Indeed, according to a 2016 report of Conflict Armament Research (CAR), Libyan weapons fueled the Tuaregs and jihadi armed organizations in the Sahel, as well as other non-state armed actors in Chad and Niger. Furthermore, several of these weapons were used in the early stages of the Syrian conflict by rebel organizations and ended up in the hands of IS.25 In that regard, an Algerian official explained in 2015, “In Libya, you can obtain any kind of weapon you want as long as you have money; there is a black market for that.”26
However, since then, according to Kharief, “The issue of dissemination of weapons has decreased dramatically, and today the major problem rather is that Libya remains a safe haven for terrorist organizations.”27 Indeed, the outflow of weapons from Libya has been dramatically reduced, whereas the inflow remains steady and the country a market.28 Another source of illegal activity that sparked major concerns was the development of human trafficking in Libya. While it is less of a problem for the regional powers, it is considered a major concern for Europe, which has increased pressure on Libya to reduce the flow of migrants.29 As Virginie Collombier explains, this activity in turn led to population movements and changes, especially in southern Libya, which could potentially increase conflict among the various ethnic groups and affect the neighboring countries.30
To that extent, the situation in Libya clearly represents a common threat for the regional system as well as for the international community over which security cooperation would be expected. The regional and the major powers should have favored the long-term stability of Libya — i.e., their long-term interests — and prevented a similar scenario to the Middle East, especially Syria. However, they chose otherwise.
RESPONSE TO THE LIBYAN CRISIS
The regional and major powers chose to follow their own strategies and favor their immediate interests, aggravating the conflict instead of cooperating to solve it. More specifically, when it came to Libya, regional powers and international supporters divided themselves between hardliners and those seeking a political solution.
The hardliners, led by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, France and Russia, fully supported Haftar. In the context of the multiplication of armed actors and the inability of the government in Tripoli to establish order, this line supports the idea of a strongman capable of stabilizing the country and eliminating transnational terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and IS, which by 2014 were growing in power. In that regard, the fact that Haftar was able to fill the security vacuum in Benghazi that year, after launching his successful “Operation Dignity,” an all-out war targeting Islamist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), made him a “natural alternative” for Egypt.31 Cairo was concerned with stabilizing eastern Libya and countering MB influence there. For France, involved with its African allies in Operation Barkhane in the Sahel, and Russia, involved in the war in Syria against jihadi organizations, the hard anti-Islamist stance of Haftar matched their own views and led them naturally to support him.
Conversely, those in favor of a political solution — led by Algeria and supported by Tunisia, Turkey, Qatar and the United States until 2017 and then partially under Trump31 — considered that stabilizing Libya could come only through “an inclusive dialogue” among all the Libyan factions, including the Islamists, especially the MB, and at the exclusion of the jihadists. Believing that this dialogue would result in the creation of a legitimate and inclusive government capable of stabilizing Libya and combating terrorist organizations, they supported the government in Tripoli of Fayez al-Sarraj, which partially integrated the MB faction Libya Dawn, among others. This option was rejected by Haftar, who did not hesitate in 2018 to declare, “The Muslim Brothers are behind the arrival of the terrorists in Libya and must have no role in any future electoral process.”33
The hardliners see Haftar as the only one who can restore order in Libya. As Jalel Harchaoui explains, “He convinced them to support him and to provide him with weapons and money by developing a strategy that supports their interests.”34 By engaging in a war against the UN-backed GNA led by Sarraj, Haftar directly opposed the Libyan MB, which constitutes an important base of support for Sarraj. By doing this, he opposed the foes of Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi, who has been trying to suppress the MB in Egypt since his takeover in June 2013. In addition to the Egyptian interests cited above, al-Sisi’s support for Haftar stems from the fact that he entered into a total war against IS, al-Qaeda and other Islamist militias in eastern Libya that were responsible for many attacks in Egypt, thus meeting Cairo’s security needs.35 As Khaled Mahmoud explains, al-Sisi’s primary goal in Libya is to counter the spread of political Islam, especially the MB, in the Arab world. For Mahmoud, “the MB have been in power or associated with it in Morocco, Tunisia and to a lesser extent Algeria, while expanding their influence in Libya since 2011.” Thus their influence needed to be stopped.37 Indeed, for al-Sisi, the presence of the MB in Libya reduces his political influence and presents an increasing domestic threat. Thus Haftar’s strategy is seen as instrumental to al-Sisi in dealing with the MB. Thus, for Egypt, its strategic interests will be best served by supporting Haftar. Accordingly, they provided him with weapons, money, training and intelligence, and directly intervened as well. Without Egypt’s early support, it would have been very difficult for Haftar to achieve his goals and receive further backing from other powers.
The objectives of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are rather similar to Egypt’s when it comes to the MB: to curb its influence in the Arab world and, through this, the influence of Qatar. Indeed, Saudi Arabia, supported by other Gulf countries, especially the UAE, has been engaged in an intense competition with Qatar, in large part due to Doha’s support for the MB. Since 2017, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have put Qatar under blockade and supported factions and governments that oppose the MB. In that context, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi backed Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) with money and weapons.38 It is also significant that Haftar was received by King Salman in March 2019, just a few days before launching his assault on Tripoli.
Haftar’s strategy to obtain Saudi backing was due in part to the pivotal role played by a new Salafist movement, the Madkhalis. Based on the writings of Rabi al-Madkhali, this school of thought endorses the main principles of Salafism and Wahhabism, yet argues that Muslims should accept and support existing regimes.39 The Libyan Madkhalis formed their own militias and followed a fatwa issued by al-Madkhali, in 2016, that called on them to fight on the side of Haftar against “the enemies of Libya” (jihadist militias as well as the MB).40
For Michael Ayari, “Madkhalis represent a new political offer by Riyadh of what one may call political Salafism; they are Saudi loyalists and consider they are doing a jihad by fighting on the side of Haftar.” Ayari considers that the Madkhalis intend to be an alternative to al-Qaeda and other Salafi jihadi groups as well as a replacement for the MB. Ayari explains that, while the MB emerged after the Arab Spring as a major power on the side of the revolutionary movement, the Madkhalis can be seen as supporting the return of authoritarian movements and governments. The fact that Haftar welcomed them created a mutual interest.41
This is also the line supported by the UAE, which is countering the MB, in addition to economic interests in Libya.42 Like Riyadh, Abu Dhabi has given full logistical, financial and military support to Haftar, on the justification that “he is fighting militias and extremism in the country.”43 This support of the Madkhalis proved to be of major importance for Haftar’s march on Tripoli in spring 2019. Many members of western Libya’s militias and armed groups were followers and supported Haftar instead of the GNA.44
France, for its part, has also been supporting Haftar. It sees him as the only alternative for suppressing the radical terrorist presence in Libya, which directly threatens French military operations in the Sahel as well as its allies. In fact, Paris’s support of Haftar was not immediate. France supported the Skhirat agreement of December 2015, which led to the creation of the GNA. However, by the summer of 2016, the GNA had failed to stabilize the country and forced many states to reassess their strategy, in the context of the growing threat from IS, especially France, which by then had become a major supporter of Haftar.45 Indeed, since the collapse of Qadhafi, Libya had become a major hub for illegal migration and a rear base for terrorist attacks.
The deployment of AQIM and other al-Qaeda affiliates as well as of IS made Libya a safe haven for those organizations that targeted Tunisia, especially in 2014-15. Thus, the destabilization of Tunisia and potentially of Egypt, considered to be major allies by Paris,46 as a direct result of the situation in Libya and the attacks of November 2015 in the context of the GNA’s enduring weakness, led Paris to switch its support to Haftar from mid-2016 onward. As a French diplomatic source explained, Paris’s stand on Libya and its support for Haftar are derived from the beliefs of Jean Yves Le Drian, the French minister of foreign affairs, for whom, when it comes to fighting clandestine immigration and terrorism, Haftar is a major partner and must be supported.47
Thus, when Haftar launched a massive attack in late 2018 in southern Libya in the area of the Fezzan, Le Drian stated, “The recent operations of the Libyan National Army have eliminated important terrorist targets and could permanently hinder the activity of human traffickers that continue to plague this region.”48 This operation targeted terrorists operating in the Sahel, where Paris has been involved since 2012 in combating al-Qaeda and IS affiliates though Operation Barkhane. Haftar’s operation in the Fezzan came at an even more welcome moment, as the situation in the Sahel had been dramatically deteriorating, with local Paris allies unable to contain terrorist expansion in the region. Furthermore, Haftar’s operation targeted the Chadian rebels of the UFR (Union des Forces de la Resistance), opposed to the regime of Idriss Deby, himself a major ally of Paris in combating terrorism in the Sahel.49 Finally, besides security concerns, oil plays an important role. Total has been investing in Libya and secured several contracts there.50 The fact that Haftar has taken control and secured the so-called oil crescent, and that GNA canceled in May 2019 Total’s contract in Libya, underlines Paris’s interest in Libya.51 Thus, Haftar played a major role in securing French interests, in return for which Paris provided him with military support and legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.
Following this strategy, Russia as well endorsed Haftar. His hardline stance on jihadists and Islamists as well as the support he receives from al-Sisi, seen by Moscow as a major partner, could only meet Putin’s expectations and interests. Libya used to be an ally of the Soviet Union and then, to a lesser extent, of post-1992 Russia. Thus, as Tarek Megerisi argues, Putin could see Haftar as a way to regain Moscow’s influence in the country, lost after the fall of Qadhafi,52 and beyond, to increase Russian influence in the Mediterranean.53 Andrea Beccaro explains that, from this point of view, Russian interests in Libya are multiple: a way for Moscow to reposition itself in the world and to increase its influence in the international system, to counter the threat of radical Islamism, as well as defend major economic interests. In that regard, for Alexeï Malachenko,54 Libya represents to Moscow billions of dollars of potential future contracts in weapons, infrastructure and oil.
Finally, the rapprochement between Moscow and Egypt of al-Sisi plays an important role in Russian involvement in Libya and its decision to support Haftar.55 For Alexandre Choumiline, Haftar is “Moscow’s man in Libya,” as he has been doing his utmost to cooperate with Russia, from which he has received support.56 Russia officially endorsed him by welcoming him on the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov in February 2018;57 in June 2019, he visited Moscow and was received by Putin. In April 2019, shortly after the launching of his assault against Tripoli, Moscow blocked a UN resolution that called for Haftar to stop his advance against the Libyan capital, arguing that the resolution should be aimed at all the parties.
Furthermore, since September 2019, many reports have surfaced regarding the fact that the Russian company Wagner has been sending hundreds of mercenaries, snipers and drones to Libya, support that could give a decisive edge to Haftar’s troops, confirming Russia’s stance.58 However, as Frederic Wehrey underlines well, this strategy and input from Russian mercenaries could come at a major cost for Haftar: Washington’s ceasing to support him. This would be a blow, as the United States played an important role in his successful campaign against jihadi groups in 2016, allowing him to consolidate his status.59 Overall, however, one must “nuance” this Russian support. It will depend on his ability to take Tripoli with limited casualties.
Thus, one should note that Moscow’s strategy in Libya has not focused only on Haftar. Russia has also maintained relations with the GNA.60 This could place Moscow in a favorable position to become a major mediator; it has kept ties with all the parties. This, in turn, could be a vector for Russia to improve its standing in the international system. Thus, Moscow established, in early 2019, a Libyan contact group that attempted to facilitate a dialogue among all these factions. However, for Choumiline, Moscow does maintain contacts with the GNA to avoid “putting all its eggs in the same basket,” while its preference does go to Haftar. For him, this mediation is used to maintain the image of “a balanced approach which does not exist in reality.”61
Therefore, through his strategy of aligning himself with the interests of his backers and eliminating other possible alternatives, as Harchaoui explains, “Haftar basically had them all married to him. They will support him, they have been supporting him since 2014, with money, weapons and political influence; they cannot afford to lose him.” For Harchaoui, Cairo was against Haftar’s attack on Tripoli and does not necessarily like him, as “his militias commit a lot of trafficking and so on, but chose to support him, losing him not being an option either.”62 This line was strongly opposed by Algeria, which considered that any future solution in Libya was to be inclusive of all acceptable and moderate factions, including the MB.
Support for the Tripoli Government
Very much like Cairo, Algiers perceives Libya as a major security problem, given the presence of terrorist organizations, most of which are deployed in the west and southwest, as well as the quantity of weapons in circulation. However, and contrary to Cairo, Algeria’s strategy in Libya argues for a “political solution” derived from the policy of national reconciliation under the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which ended the civil strife in the 1990s. Based on this, as an Algerian diplomat explains, “This concept, however ill-defined, is based on two assumptions: (1) the rejection of any interference in the domestic problems of the countries, given that external interventions often aggravate conflicts; and (2) putting in place an inclusive dialogue of all the parties engaged in the conflict, which would result in a political agreement, a dialogue in which Algeria could play the role of the mediator.”63
For Algiers, such a dialogue among all the warring parties, with the exclusion of the jihadists, would result in forming a legitimate government of national unity in which all the factions would be represented. This government, supported by the international community and armed with popular legitimacy, would in turn combat transnational terrorism and trafficking, and thus avoid any international intervention.64 As Kharief underlines, “Part of this strategy therefore entailed the inclusion of the MB, on whom Algiers relied heavily to counter the radical Islamists.”65 Indeed, in order to isolate the Islamists in Algeria in the 1990s and 2000s, the authorities relied heavily on the MB, as it was perceived as an alternative to radical Salafists. Furthermore, Algeria believes that the Libyan tribes should also be involved in the dialogue, as illustrated by the visit of the former Algerian foreign minister, Abdelkader Messahel, to tribal leaders during a mediation attempt in 2017. Therefore, as Kharief explains, “Haftar’s actions have disrupted tribal mechanisms on which Algiers was counting; it puts Algiers at odds with its ‘tribal diplomacy.’” 66
This approach directly clashes with Haftar and his international backers, especially Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Furthermore, regarding jihadi organizations, Algiers considered that they need to be contained in Libya while the Tripoli government is strengthening itself. A crackdown on jihadists would take place only then and by GNA forces. To that extent, and for Algiers, Haftar’s action is “like a kick in the anthill” and risks pushing the jihadists to further spread in the Sahel and elsewhere toward the Algerian borders.67 Thus, when it came to Libya, Algeria adopted a noninterventionist defensive strategy. As Kharief explains, this meant that “Algeria has built fortifications along the Algerian-Libyan borders, has constant aircraft surveillance conducting missions over the borders, intercepts terrorists’ convoys trying to enter the country, but refrains from going to Libya.”68
Algeria has, as well, maintained strong relations with all the factions, especially those in the West, in order to foster a dialog between them, such as it did in 2015. Thus, according to a former Algerian diplomat, Algeria has kept itself equidistant from all the factions and refused to deliver weapons to any of them.69 Therefore, Haftar’s all-out war on the Islamists, including the MB, contradicts Algiers’ approach to solving the conflict. When one adds his proximity to Cairo — whose influence Algeria wants to limit and contain in Libya — and his former close relations to the United States, he becomes highly suspect in the eyes of Algiers.70
The tensions between Algiers and Haftar reached a peak in September 2018, when Haftar threatened to “bring war to Algeria,” before retracting his threat.71 One of the other reasons for this was that Algeria had systematically blocked until early spring 2019 any military operations in western Libya for fear of repercussions and the impact on its borders and networks there.72 When one examines closely the operations launched by Haftar in spring 2019, one realizes that he took this last element into consideration and kept his troops far from the Algerian-Libyan borders, including Ubari, where there are many Tuareg/Tubu communities with whom Algeria has important links.
Tunisia, for its part, supported Algiers when it came to Libya, as it was severely affected by the collapse of the Qadhafi regime. As Mzioudet explains, “Libya was the second largest economic partner of Tunisia.73 There was also a large Tunisian diaspora in Libya that had to leave after 2011 — in addition to trade, which was hit by the closing of the borders.”
However, on the flip side, this also meant an alignment of Tunis with Algiers when it came to Libya. Accordingly, Algiers developed close relations with Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), close to the MB and Abdelhakim Belhaj, a key leader of western Libya militias.76 It led Tunisia as well to establish close ties with them, especially considering that the Tunisian Ennahda Party, of MB obedience, has always had close ties with their Libyan counterparts. This was shown by the fact that Tunisia at first, in 2014, recognized the Al Bayda government backed by General Haftar, but then shifted to recognize the Tripoli government when it was formed in 2015. Initially, President Beji Essebsi, who was anti-Islamist, was reluctant to do so; he tried to shift Tunisia’s support to Haftar again, but the proximity of Algiers led him to maintain relations with the Tripoli government.77
For their part, Qatar and Turkey have been the staunchest supporters of the GNA for both ideological and economic reasons.78 Indeed, both have been strong supporters of the MB, whether in Egypt or Syria, and also provided strong backing to Libya Dawn, the emanation of the MBs in Libya, and therefore to the GNA. Economically, Ankara had signed contracts worth more than $15 billion with Libya prior to the overthrow of the Qadhafi regime, and wanted these to be implemented.79 Furthermore, Ankara had developed strong connections with Libyan exiles after Qadhafi’s fall, as well as with several factions in Libya itself, especially Libya Dawn. These connections and networks were therefore perceived by Turkey as an opportunity to expand its influence there and to counter Egyptian and EU influence, as part of the Middle East regional-order competition.80
Lately, Turkey has increased its help to Tripoli by providing weapons and political support to counter Haftar’s onslaught, triggering a major crisis. In reaction, Haftar ordered, in June 2019, that all Turkish nationals be arrested, including six Turkish sailors 81 who were eventually released after direct threats from Ankara.82 Turkey is also rumored to have sent pro-Turkish Syrian fighters from the Syrian National Army (not to be confused with the regular Syrian army) to boost Tripoli’s defenses. In late November 2019, Ankara and Tripoli signed two agreements. One was related to security cooperation, paving the way for Ankara to send troops to support the GNA, scheduled for early 2020. The second called for “delimitation of maritime boundaries,” paving the way for offshore gas-resource exploitation by Turkey. This put it directly at odds once more with Egypt, which vehemently rejected the agreements, considering them illegitimate. Thus, Ankara has decisively entered the conflict in Libya and asserts itself as a major actor to be “reckoned with.”
Finally, the United States under President Barack Obama adopted a position close to the one supported by Algiers. Indeed, in terms of direct interests, the United States is essentially concerned about security, as Libya is strategically situated close to a key line of communication from the Gibraltar strait to the Suez Canal. In addition, there is the proximity of key U.S. allies, such as Egypt and the southern European states.83 In that context, the deployment of IS or al-Qaeda-linked groups was perceived as a major threat that needed to be countered. Economically, on the other hand, the United States has little interest in Libya; relations between the two have been strained since the start of the Qadhafi regime. However, in contrast to his predecessor, Obama did not want more military entanglements and aimed at reducing U.S. deployments abroad, as his withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated.84 Intervention in Libya was out of the question for the U.S. administration, even after having supported the NATO mission of March 2011. Furthermore, Algeria’s perception of Haftar was shared by the United States under Obama. Both considered that Haftar’s actions would lead to pushing jihadists out of Libya into the Sahel. Instead, a coalition government receiving the support of the international community found favor in Washington, which is why the latter supported Algiers’s view. For Harchaoui, Algiers and Washington were in total agreement during this period when it came to Libya.85 Once the GNA/Tripoli government was formed under UN auspices, the United States provided support by launching airstrikes against IS and al-Qaeda positions in Libya and did not support Haftar.
The arrival of Donald Trump to power in 2017 changed the situation. Indeed, Trump operated a policy of rapprochement with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as well as a hardening of U.S. engagement against IS and al-Qaeda. In this context, the Trump administration reversed policy on Libya and decided to officially back Haftar. In April 2019, the White House announced that Trump had had a phone conversation with Haftar and that the United States “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources. The two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.”86 This marked a major departure from the previous administration. It was facilitated by the fact that by early 2017, when Trump took office, IS and al-Qaeda had already retreated to southern Libya under pressure from Haftar’s LNA and the GNA forces — thus no longer requiring direct U.S. involvement. This more “pro-Haftar approach” reflected the fact that the GNA influence never went beyond the Tripolitania area, on the one hand, and even less territory was controlled by AQIM and IS. From Trump’s perception, Haftar and LNA are the ones that pushed back those organizations in the south. The fact that Trump wanted to reduce U.S. deployments abroad — in Syria and Afghanistan — pushed him to at least let things run their course in Libya. Thus the United States did not take any major initiative to stop the fighting there or to prevent Haftar’s assault on Tripoli.87
Over all, this stand in favor of Tripoli’s government — “a political-solution approach” — was further weakened by two consecutive events: the forced resignation of Bouteflika in Algeria on April 2, 2019, which indirectly incited General Haftar to launch his assault on Tripoli two days later, and the death of Tunisian President Essebsi in July 2019. Algeria had been going through political turmoil since February 22, which led to the departure of Bouteflika. The sudden death in December 2019 of General Gaid Salah, the strongman of the regime and a supporter of this noninterventionist, pro-GNA line, further weakened it. The current authorities in Algeria are both focused on finding a solution to the domestic crisis and in need of external support.
As Harchaoui argues, “Algeria was unhappy with the assault on Tripoli, one of the last opposition strongholds to Haftar in Libya; however, given its domestic situation, Algiers is unlikely to do anything about it. It simply cannot afford to act at this stage.”88 This was reflected in the outcome of the meeting of the Algerian national security council convened by newly elected President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, which simply decided to reinforce Algeria’s military deployment on the borders with Libya and implicitly rejected the calls to join an alliance with Turkey in support of the GNA. In the case of Tunisia, the death of Essebsi plunged the country into political transition and uncertainty vis-à-vis its Algerian protector. Tunisia adopted a prudent position regarding the unfolding events in Libya and implicitly refused to enter into an alliance with Turkey.
The Libyan civil war was aggravated by this multiplicity of powerful actors, with the means and the backing in Libya itself to advance their interests and agendas — whether political, diplomatic or economic — most of the time conflicting. Even within the “same camps,” there were major divergences, as illustrated by the supporters of the GNA. Thus, when Turkey decided to intervene militarily, both Algeria and Tunisia actually opposed it. All of them focused on their short-term interests, backing each of the warring factions instead of focusing on the long-term objective of stabilizing Libya. Lacking a common vision and solidarity with each other, they failed to cooperate.
INFORMAL PEACE INITIATIVES
One of the most important consequences of these differences was the proliferation of diplomatic initiatives. Most of them were informal mediations, especially by Algiers, Cairo and Paris, while the United Nations attempted to put in place a more formal one. Uncoordinated and even contradictory, against the backdrop of competition for leadership between Cairo and Algiers, those initiatives ended up offsetting one another. It is also worth noting that all the other international organizations whose involvement could have been expected, including the Arab League and the African Union, were simply sidelined.
To date, the only agreement that was signed after a formal mediation and somehow implemented was the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) under the mediation of the United Nations, which led to the creation of the GNA. This agreement — finalized in Skhirat, Morocco, in December 2015 — was supposed to end the conflict between the Al Bayda government emanating from the parliament in Tobruk and the government in Tripoli, and to unify them.89 Sarraj’s GNA was to become the internationally recognized government and include several former factions, including the Libya Dawn organization emanating from the MB. However, by mid-2016, the implementation of the agreement fell apart and the fighting continued. However, the international community, while officially backing the GNA, was, in fact, divided, with each country supporting one of the warring factions. Furthermore, from the very beginning, the GNA had no military support from eastern Libyan militias — especially Haftar’s — while not all of western Libya’s militias supported it. In fact, only three powerful militias really supported the GNA.
An illustration of this complexity was the Misrata Brigades. While hostile to Haftar, they were not supportive of the GNA. Another example was the powerful Zenten tribes in western Libya, which were divided towards Haftar. As Wolfram Lacher and Alaa al-Idrissi argue, “There was no detailed understanding over the arrangements needed to secure Tripoli for a unity government representing all key factions. Indeed, no serious talks had been held with or between the armed groups,”90 which effectively prevented the Skhirat agreement from ending the conflict. Worse for the GNA, when Haftar’s offensive was launched in the early spring of 2019, the groups supportive of the GNA in western Libya were essentially the “former revolutionaries” of 2011, while the former supporters of Qadhafi who had been marginalized by the post-2011 regime accepted and supported Haftar, in addition to several Madkhalis present there.91 To that extent, the GNA was never really able to establish itself as a government.
Algiers, a key player as early as 2011, also entered into a process of mediation among the various factions involved in the civil war, “at the demand of these very factions,”92 according to an Algerian official. For Algeria, the solution had to be inclusive and entail the participation of all the warring parties, including revolutionary movements and tribes, as well as the MB.93 Furthermore, as Harchaoui explains, this strategy includes granting those contemplating a political solution a certain degree of recognition, provided that they renounce violence. Algeria’s idea was to isolate the jihadist organizations from the Libyan factions.94 In that regard, Algeria has revived or established, often in secrecy, links with tens of Libyan political actors, including tribal leaders,95 who in 2017 received Abdelkader Messahel in an attempt at mediation. This strategy therefore directly contradicts the one put in place by “the hardliner axis” from all points of view. It also led Algiers to support the UN-led mediation in 2015, which ended with the formation of the GNA, composed of various Libyan factions, including the MB Libya Dawn.
This also reflects Algeria’s strategy of “balancing in North Africa” and attempting to limit Egypt’s influence in Libya. As Andrea Taylor explains, “Algeria does not have a particular preference for who controls Libya, but rather wants a stable Libya that is not overly indebted to Egypt.”96 According to a politician from Misrata, “Algerians are against Cairo extending its influence in Libya. They want Egyptians to stay away from their borders.”97 Indeed, for Algeria the main problem is that Haftar is too close to Cairo, while for Algeria, Libya must remain an autonomous political unit. In that regard, a former Algerian diplomat argued that, “for Algiers, our friends are in both Tripoli and Benghazi; the problem is to find partners whose agenda is not dependent on foreign powers.” Therefore, the proximity of Haftar to Cairo made him an unlikely counterpart.98
For its part, Egypt also conducted mediations between the various factions in Libya, especially in 2017 and 2018 between the GNA and Haftar. To show the importance of these talks, Egyptian President al-Sisi created a special committee headed by the chief of staff of the Egyptian army, Marshal Mahmoud Hijazi, with the aim of unifying the Libyan military as well as reinforcing Haftar’s position, as those unified troops were to be under his command.99 The negotiation eventually failed when Haftar refused to recognize the 2015 UN agreement or to have Sarraj command this army.100 Indeed, had al-Sisi been able to carry out his mediation plan, it would have put Haftar in a predominant position and Egypt in a leading role in the future of Libya. Instead, this mediation, since it was not coordinated with Algiers and was conducted to give primacy to Haftar, could only fall apart. Egypt continued to back Haftar and eventually supported him in his final assault against Tripoli in April 2019, albeit initially being against it. For Harchaoui, “After five years of supporting him, Cairo could simply not afford to lose him.”101
Paris also attempted to mediate between the parties, especially after the election of Emmanuel Macron in May 2017. Macron initiated a secret mediation between Tripoli and Benghazi, from which it excluded all regional protagonists, especially Algeria and Egypt. It led in July 2017 to the signing of the “Paris Agreement” by Haftar and Sarraj. The agreement included a ceasefire between the two factions, except for jihadi organizations, the dismantling of all the militias, the organization of elections in spring 2018 and a reiteration of the validity of the 2015 UN agreement.102 Furthermore, this agreement was to lead to the creation of a regular, unified Libyan army.103 However, one of its shortcomings was the exclusion from the agreement of several factions, including the tribes and the MB. As a result, it was seen as too favorable to Haftar and led Egypt, while not associated with it, to welcome it. Conversely, Algiers got cold feet, as it contradicted all its strategies since 2011.
The agreement never materialized on the ground, and Paris continued to give its support to Haftar. This was confirmed in May 2019 amid the battle of Tripoli, when Haftar was officially received in Paris by Macron and missiles belonging to France were discovered on a military base of pro-Haftar forces. According to Harchaoui, “Paris sees Haftar positively. Since 2014, Haftar has steadily taken control of Egypt and has not stopped combating jihadists since Benghazi. He has also taken control of southwest Libya, where jihadi organizations were deployed.”104 In this context, and in spite of claiming to be supportive of the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli, Paris has sided with Haftar.
Therefore, in the end, all those uncoordinated and informal initiatives competed with each other. They were conducted by powerful actors with divergent perceptions of how Libya should be stabilized, and thus ultimately failed. Instead, those powers tried to assert their influence at the expense of the others by promoting their clients and allies. This prevented any agreement from succeeding. It showed the absence of any leader capable of imposing a solution to the conflict and absorbing the costs of such initiatives. In fact, the conflict in Libya, beyond a civil war, reflected a conflict over leadership, with each regional and major power trying to use the situation to assert its role at the expense of the others. This conflict over leadership extends beyond Libya itself. It pits Algeria against Egypt and is used by Russia to further its return into the international system, while more broadly opposing two geostrategic and political visions of Islam and who should lead them: one defended by Turkey and Qatar, and supportive of the MB, against one defended by the Gulf monarchies. To that extent, and in the absence of any powerful leader, all those mediations and peace initiatives were bound to fail. This, in turn, played directly into Haftar’s hands. He was able to emerge as the only available alternative, in the context of chaos, and launch his assault on Tripoli on April 2, without having the initial support of the backers who ended up siding with him. Those powers that had opposed him finally either shifted to his side (the United States) or simply reverted to their domestic problems (Algeria, Tunisia). The decision of Turkey to send troops to support the GNA, way beyond its traditional theaters of operation, raises doubts about the long-term feasibility of such an initiative, given the logistical difficulties it entails. Beyond that, it impedes any future peace initiative and aggravates the conflict dramatically.
Libya represents the case of a modern hybrid conflict with multiple complex actors using proxies in the context of weak and failed states. Indeed, the civil war in Libya, while caused by domestic dynamics, was exacerbated by the intervention of foreign powers competing for leadership and interests. The outcome of this regional competition was also determined by the fact that international and regional organizations that should have played a role were sidelined. In fact, the situation in Libya should have led the regional powers and the international community to cooperate to confront common threats, especially the rise of IS and al-Qaeda, and to have a long-term interest in stabilizing the country. Instead, divergent strategies and conflicting interests led them to support local proxies, thus exacerbating the crisis. From a country where regional powers compete for leadership, Libya has also become a theater for competition between outside powers — Turkey-Qatar vs. the Gulf monarchies — projecting their rivalries. Finally, it is a theater of competition between the United States and Russia. In this context, any mechanism for cooperative security was bound to fail, as those actors favored their own short-term interests at the expense of long-term collective ones.
Thus, Haftar’s assault on Tripoli, in April 2019, was to mark the final victory of one faction over another, and through him of two visions for the resolution of the conflict as well as of some powers over others. However, the prospects for any decisive victory on the part of either camp is unlikely. Indeed, while Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as well as France continue to support Haftar, the GNA has gained the staunch support of Turkey and Qatar. While Haftar has gained much international support, he still has to take control of Tripoli itself and other strongholds opposed to him, especially Misrata, with all the risks associated with protracted civil wars — unless the international community is able to reach an understanding and impose it on the actors. The decision of Turkey to send troops in support of the GNA was met by rejection from many actors, including Algeria and Tunisia, which considered this a further escalation of the conflict, reducing any possibility of an agreement in the near future.
1 The author would like to thank Sara Bateman, professor at the language center of Al AKhawayn University, for editing the paper.
2 Robert I. Rotberg, “Failed States, Collapsed, Weak States: Causes and Indicators,” in State Failure and State Weakness in a Time of Terror, ed. Robert I. Rotberg (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), 5.
3 François Gaulme, « États Faillis », « États Fragiles »: concepts jumelés d’une nouvelle réflexion mondiale » Politique Étrangère (2011), 24.
4 Ray Takeyh and Nikolas Gvosdev, “Do Terrorist Networks Need a Home,” Washington Quarterly 25, no.3 (2002).
5 James A. Piazza, “Incubators of Terror: Do Failed and Failing States Promote Transnational Terrorism?” International Studies Quarterly 52, no. 3 (September 2008).
6 Robert I. Rotberg, “Failed States, Collapsed, Weak States: Causes and Indicators,” in State Failure and State Weakness in a Time of Terror, ed. Robert I. Rotberg (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), 5.
7 Interview with a former Algerian diplomat, Algiers, Algeria, June 2014.
8 “Interview with Abul-Mughirah al-Qahtani”, Dabiq, no. 11, September 9, 2015, 63, http://clarionproject.org/wp-content/uploads/Issue%2011%20-%20From%20th….
9 Interview with Michaël Béchir Ayari, Tunisia Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), Tunisia, March 2018.
11 Interview with Huda Mzioudet, expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tunis, March 2018.
12 Arturo Varvelli, “Islamic State’s Re-Organization in Libya and Potential Connections with Illegal Trafficking” Program on Extremism: The George Washington University, November 2017, https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/Varvelli%20IS%20Re….
13 Interview with a Tunisian official, Tunis, Tunisia, March 2018.
14 Interview with Akram Kharief, journalist and security expert, Algiers, Algeria, January 2018.
15 AQIM was created in 2007 and since then has developed affiliates in Tunisia with the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade and in the Sahel with the Group to Support Islam and the Muslims (GSIM). It remains the last terrorist organization in activity in Algeria and is a direct threat to the security of the country. IS for its part briefly established itself in Algeria between 2014-2015 through Jund Al Khilafa (soldiers of the Caliph) before eliminated by the Algerian security services. An organization called Jund Al Khilafa in Tunisia has established itself as well in Tunisia, loosely associated with its counterpart in Algeria, but remains contained. Other small organizations in Algeria such as Katibet Al Ghoraba and then Katibet Al Feth claimed allegiance to IS but were quickly dismantled or remain inactive/dormant.
16 “Egyptian Migration to Libya,” International Organization for Migration, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/99CDE2C6E952C….
17 Giuseppe Dentice, “Egypt’s Security and Haftar: al-Sisi’s strategy in Libya,”Istituto Per Gli Studi Di Politica Internazionale, February 2, 2017, https://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/egypts-security-and-haftar-a….
18 “Egypt’s oil companies plan return to Libya,” Libya Herald, April 4, 2017,https://www.libyaherald.com/2017/04/04/egypts-oil-companies-look-to-ret….
19 Rasmus Alenius Boserup and Virginie Collombier, “Militarization and Militia-ization: Dynamics of Armed Group Proliferation in Egypt and Libya”, MENARA Working Papers, 17 (October 2018), https://www.cidob.org/en/publications/publication_series/menara_papers/….
20 Ahmed Salem, “The Re-Emergence of Jund al-Islam: A New Chapter in the Conflict Between al-Qaeda and ISIS,” Atlantic Council, November 29, 2017, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/the-re-emergence-of-ju….
21 “Military Man Turned Jihadist,” Al Arabiya, May 20, 2020, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/webtv/programs/death-making/2015/10/04….
22 Erin Cunnigham and Heba Habib, “Video shows purported beheading of Egyptian Christians in Libya,” The Washington Post, February 21, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/video-shows-purported-….
23 Interview with a Mauritanian security official, Nouakchott, Mauritania, August 2013.
24 “Investigating Cross-Border Weapon Transfers in the Sahel,” Report of the Conflict of Research Armament, November 25, 2016, https://www.conflictarm.com/reports/investigating-cross-border-weapon-t….
25 Discussion with an Algerian official close to these issues, Algiers, Algeria, January 2015.
26 Discussion with Akram Kharief, journalist and expert in security issues, Algiers, Algeria, January 2018.
27 “Investigating Cross-Border Weapon Transfers in the Sahel,” Report of the Conflict of Research Armament, November 25, 2016, https://www.conflictarm.com/reports/investigating-cross-border-weapon-t….
28 Virginie Collombier, “2016 Onwards: Changing Dynamics of the Situation in Libya,” in “The Libyan Security Continuum: The Impact of the Libyan Crisis on the North African/Sahelian Regional System,” MENARA Working Papers 15 (October 2018), http://menaraproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/menara_wp_15.pdf.
30 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya, July 2019.
31 President Trump position on the strife between the GNA and Haftar has been shifting. In mid-2019, he seemed to be leaning in favor of Haftar before shifting again in late 2019.
32 Laurent De Saint Perier, “Khalifa Haftar: La Libye n’est pas encore mûre pour la démocratie“ Jeune Afrique, February 5, 2018, https://www.jeuneafrique.com/mag/507758/politique/khalifa-haftar-la-lib….
33 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya.July 2019.
34 Khaled Mahmoud, “Sisi’s Ambitions in Libya,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 30, 2018, https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/77847.
37 Jared Malsin and Summer Said, “Saudi Arabia Promised Support to Libyan Warlord in Push to Seize Tripoli,” The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-promised-support-to-libyan-wa….
38 “Addressing the Rise of Libya’s Madkhali-Salafis”, International Crisis Group, April 25, 2019, https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/north-africa/libya….
39 Ahmed Salah Ali, “Libya’s Warring Parties Play a Dangerous Game Working with Madkhali Salafists,” The Atlantic Council, November 3, 2017, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/libya-s-warring- parties-play-a-dangerous-game-working-with-madkhali-salafists.
40 Interview with Michaël Béchir Ayari, Tunisia Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), Tunisia, March 2018.
41 Tarek Megrisi, “Libya’s Global Civil war,” European Council on Foreign Relations, June 26, 2019, https://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/libyas_global_civil_war1.
42 Aziz El Yaakoubi, “Haftar's ally UAE says 'extremist militias' control Libyan capital,” Reuters, May 2, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-emirates/haftars-ally….
43 Wolfram Larcher, “Who is Fighting Whom in Tripoli?: How the 2019 Civil War is Transforming Libya’s Military Landscape,” Small Arms Survey, August 2019, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/T-Briefing-Papers/SAS-SAN….
44 Mattia Toaldo, “Europe: Carving Out a New Role,” Foreign Actors in Libya’s Crisis, July 24, 2017, 58-59, https://www.ispionline.it/en/pubblicazione/foreign-actors-libyas-crisis….
45 « Libye : la France se défend de prendre parti pour Haftar », Le Figaro/AFP, May 2, 2019, https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/libye-la-france-se-defend-de-prendre….
46 Thomas Liabot, “Lybie: Pourquoi la France est contrainte de clarifier sa poisiton », Le Journal Du Dimanche, April 9, 2019, https://www.lejdd.fr/International/Afrique/libye-pourquoi-la-france-est….
47 Emadeddin Badi, “General Hifter’s Southern Strategy and the Repercussions of the Fezzan Campaign”, The Middle East Institute, March 7, 2017, https://www.mei.edu/publications/general-hifters-southern-strategy-and-….
48 Celian Mace, « Le maréchal Haftar fait des ricochets au Sahara » , Liberation, February 8, 2019, https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2019/02/08/le-marechal-haftar-fait-de….
49 « Libye: Total Accède À Des Réserves Pétrolières Supplémentaires » Capital, February 3, 2018, https://www.capital.fr/entreprises-marches/libye-total-accede-a-des-res….
50 « Libye : les activités de Total suspendues par Tripoli », Jeune Afrique, May 10, 2019, https://www.jeuneafrique.com/773186/economie/libye-les-activites-de-tot….
51 Tarek Megrisi, “Libya’s Global Civil war,” European Council on Foreign Relations, June 26, 2019, https://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/libyas_global_civil_war1.
52 Karim Mezran and Arturo Varvelli, “Libyan Crisis: International Actors At Play,” Foreign Actors in Libya’s Crisis, July 24, 2017, 19, https://www.ispionline.it/en/pubblicazione/foreign-actors-libyas-crisis….
53 « En Libye, la Russie mise sur Haftar mais ménage ses intérêts », Le Point, April 9, 2019, https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/en-libye-la-russie-mise-sur-haftar-mais-me….
54 Andrea Beccaro, “Russia : Looking for a Warm Sean”, Foreign Actors in Libya’s Crisis, July 24, 2017, 73-90, https://www.ispionline.it/en/pubblicazione/foreign-actors-libyas-crisis….
55 « En Libye, La Russie Mise Sur Haftar Mais Ménage Ses Intérêts, » Le Point, April 9, 2019, https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/en-libye-la-russie-mise-sur-haftar-mais-me….
56 “Libya commander Haftar visits Russia ahead of conference,” Reuters, November 7, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-libya-haftar/libya-commander-….
57 Frederic Wehrey, “With the Help of Russian Fighters, Libya’s Haftar Could Take Tripoli,” Foreign Policy, December 5, 2019, https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/05/libya-khalifa-haftar-take-tripoli-….
59 Samuel Ramani, “Russia’s Mediation Goals in Libya,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 18, 2019, https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/78940.
60« En Libye, La Russie Mise Sur Haftar Mais Ménage Ses Intérêts, » Le Point, April 9, 2019, https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/en-libye-la-russie-mise-sur-haftar-mais-me….
61 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya, July 2019.
62 Interview with an Algerian Diplomat, Algiers, Algeria, January 2016.
63 Yahia Zoubir and Djallil Lounnas, “L’Algerie face a l’arc des menaces: Quelle Strategie?,” The Maghreb Review 44, no. 1 (2019): 58-90.
64 Interview with Akram Kharief, journalist and specialist of security questions, Algiers, Algeria, January 2018.
66 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya, July 2019.
67 Interview with Akram Kharief, journalist and specialist of security questions, Algiers, Algeria, January 2018.
68 Interview with a former Algerian diplomat, Algiers, Algeria, January 2018.
70Zahra Rahmouni, “Libye: le maréchal Haftar met l’Algérie sur le qui-vive,” Jeune Afrique, September 14, 2018, https://www.jeuneafrique.com/629362/politique/libye-le-marechal-haftar-….
71 Laurent De Saint Perier, “Libye : sur quels pays peut compter Khalifa Haftar?,” Jeune Afrique, February 5, 2018, https://www.jeuneafrique.com/mag/507765/politique/libye-sur-quels-pays-….
72 On the economic consequences of the Libyan crisis on Tunisia, see Hamza Medeb, “Les ressorts socio-économiques de l’insécurité dans le sud tunisie » Research note for Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique, June 2016.
73 Interview with Huda Mzioudet, expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tunis, March 2018.
74 Discussion with an Algerian official close to these issue Algiers, Algeria, November 2017.
75 Interview with Huda Mzioudet, expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tunis, March 2018.
77 Christopher Zambakari, “The misguided and mismanaged intervention in Libya: Consequences for peace,” African Security Review 25 no. 1 (2016): 54.
78Tarek Megrisi, “Libya’s Global Civil War,” European Council on Foreign Relations, June 26, 2019, https://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/libyas_global_civil_war1.
80 Patrick Wintour, “Six Turkish Sailors Freed By Libya Warlord Khalifa Haftar,” The Guardian, July 1, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/01/six-turkish-sailors-freed….
81 “Turkey Threatens Libyan Strongman Haftar As Six Citizens Detained,” BBC, June 30, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48818695.
82 Interview with Wolfgang Pusztai, Security& Policy Analyst Director, Perim Associates, Chairman of the Advisory Board, National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations, December 2019.
83 Yanan Son, “The US Commitment To NATO in The Post-Cold War Period – A Case Study on Libya,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 14, no. 1 (2016): 83–113.
84 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya, July 2019.
85 Steve Holland, “White House says Trump spoke to Libyan commander Haftar on Monday,” Reuters, April 19, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-trump/white-house-say….
86 Interview with Wolfgang Pusztai, Security& Policy Analyst Director, Perim Associates, Chairman of the Advisory Board, National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations, December 2019.
87 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya (July 2019).
88 “The Libyan Political Agreement: Time for a Reset,” International Crisis Group, November 4, 2016, https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/north-africa/libya….
89 Wolfram Lacher and Alaa al-Idrissi, “Capital Of Militias Tripoli’s Armed Groups Capture the Libyan State,” Small Arms Survey, June 2018, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/T-Briefing-Papers/SAS-SAN….
90 Wolfram Larcher, “Who is Fighting Whom in Tripoli?: How the 2019 Civil War is Transforming Libya’s Military Landscape,” Small Arms Survey, August 2019, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/T-Briefing-Papers/SAS-SAN….
91 Discussion with an Algerian official, Algiers, Algeria, January 2015.
93 Jalel Harchaoui, “Too Close For Comfort: How Algeria Faces the Libyan Conflict,” Small Arms Survey, July 2018.
95 Andrea Taylor, “Algeria's Libya Problem,” Atlantic Council, February 28 2018, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/algeria-s-libya-problem
96 Jalel Harchaoui, “Too Close For Comfort: How Algeria Faces the Libyan Conflict,” Small Arms Survey, July 2018.
97 Interview with a former Algerian diplomat, Algiers, Algeria, January 2018.
98 Khaled Mahmoud, “Sisi’s Ambitions in Libya,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 30, 2018, https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/77847.
100 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya, July 2019.
101 “Libye : Sarraj et Haftar’s accordent pour des élections « dès que possible », ” Jeune Afrique, July 27, 2017.
102 “Libye : une force régulière en formation « pour en finir avec les milices », ” Jeune Afrique, July 14, 2017.
103 Phone interview with Jalel Harchaoui, Expert on Libya, July 2019.