In early 2021, Libyan politicians agreed on terms for a national unity government bringing together what had been two administrations in Tripoli and Tobruk. The accord was another step toward lasting stability following the October 2020 ceasefire between the two rival militaries. Unifying national institutions is taking time, however, and several possible pitfalls lie ahead. Through research and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to keep the national unity agreement intact and the various associated processes on track, encouraging dialogue among Libyans and vigorous engagement on the part of the UN and external powers with influence in the country.
This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood asks Crisis Group experts how the Ukraine war has affected peacemaking elsewhere, notably Nagorno-Karabakh, where Moscow plays a major diplomatic role, and Libya, where the Kremlin backs one of the conflict’s main protagonists.
Political deadlock persisted despite headlines suggesting that rival factions reached agreement on election laws while selection of new interim govt remained controversial.
Stakeholders sent contradictory signals on elections and new govt. Following series of meetings in Moroccan town of Bouznika, members of 6+6 joint committee – composed of House of Representatives (HoR) and rival Tripoli-based High State Council (HSC) representatives – early June announced agreement on legal framework for presidential and parliamentary elections. HoR Speaker Aguila Saleh and head of HSC Khaled Meshri 6-7 June travelled to Morocco but failed to sign off on electoral legislation as points of contentions persisted, notably on whether military officers can run for president. Meanwhile, amid competing plans aimed at appointing new interim govt before elections take place, eastern forces commander Khalifa Haftar 16 June congratulated outcome of Morocco talks and called for formation of “technocratic” govt to oversee election preparation, suggesting that he may now favour parliament-led selection process, rather than keeping Tripoli-based PM Dabaiba in office as part of power-sharing deal. In briefing to UN Security Council, UN Envoy to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily 20 June said failure to reach agreement among major stakeholders on eligibility criteria for presidential election, linkage between presidential and parliamentary elections, and formation of new unified govt could “trigger a new crisis”.
Tripoli conducted fresh strikes in west. Dabaiba 1 June insisted drones strikes carried out late May in western Libya targeted sites used by “criminal gangs” for human trafficking, drug and fuel smuggling, denying HoR claims that strikes were aimed at “settling political scores”; Dabaiba also denied Turkish involvement in strikes. Forces loyal to Dabaiba 7-8 June conducted fresh strikes near Zuwara city, reportedly targeting fuel smuggling site.
Tensions over control of oil wealth threatened to escalate. Eastern-based PM Osama Hammad 24 June threatened to impose blockade on oil and gas facilities to prevent exports in protest at alleged unfair distribution of oil revenues by Tripoli-based authorities; 26 June said he discussed mater with Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation Chairman Farhat Bengdara.
In other important developments. Drone strikes 29 June reportedly hit Al-Kharruba airbase used by Russian paramilitary group Wagner; Tripoli-based authorities denied responsibility.
There is a need for the UN envoy to play a more proactive role in coordinating international positions and putting pressure on Libyan actors to move the situation forward...
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard is joined by Crisis Group’s Libya expert Claudia Gazzini, to discuss the political standoff in Libya, the changing nature of foreign involvement in the country and potential links to fighting in Sudan.
As the United Nations Special Representative in Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily, presents his plan for paving a way out of the country's political problems, Claudia Gazzini looks at four obstacles that his proposal will face.
In this In Black & White video, Crisis Group's Expert Claudia Gazzini explains that the only way to put Libya back on track is to maintain and strengthen a multitrack approach to Libya's problem.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood is joined by Claudia Gazzini, Crisis Group’s Libya expert, to look at the political standoff in Libya that led to deadly clashes over the summer and whether a new UN envoy can help find a way out.
Libya is once again stuck in a standoff between two rival executives. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2022 – Spring Update, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to host consultations among foreign ministers of countries engaged in Libya, push the UN Security Council to appoint a new special representative and encourage the opposing factions to reach agreement on a state budget.
Discord about how to resolve a political impasse has once more put Libya in danger of fracturing in two. The priorities are for the camps to agree on a way forward and for outside powers to stay united in backing whatever peaceful option Libyans choose.
Libya again has two rival administrations pressing claims to be the rightful government. Both sides have armed loyalists. Outside powers should join hands to help stop them from clashing once more.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group’s Turkey expert, Nigar Göksel, about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent trip to Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Turkey’s involvement in conflicts in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus, and its wider foreign relations.
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