Politics & Economics

Between Conflict And Diplomacy: The Crisis In Libya

North Africa

As the conflict in Libya escalates, taking ever-greater international dimensions, regional and global powers are increasing their diplomatic involvement to negotiate an end the fighting.

The seemingly-unending conflict in Libya appears to be witnessing a renewed flurry of diplomatic and political action against the backdrop of intensifying fighting around the country’s capital, Tripoli, as well as further east, near Sirte, which witnessed significant developments in recent days.

Over the past couple weeks, Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has increased its gains around Tripoli, breaking through a number of areas that were held by the forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA). With these gains, the LNA is now realistically in range of Tripoli’s city centre. Pro-LNA outlets also mentioned that they have extended a no-fly zone over the Mitiga Airport. LNA officials said that this was a response to the news of the Turkish-supported Syrian National Army (SNA) sending fighters to aid the GNA.

In the east, the LNA made a surprise offensive towards the formerly-ISIS-held city of Sirte, capturing it earlier this week. The LNA has since continued to push towards the city of Misrata where many of the forces loyal to the GNA are based out of.

With the international dimensions of the conflict growing, local, regional and global powers have increased their diplomatic involvement in the country. Located across the coast from Libya, Italy is one of the countries most concerned about the crisis and the possibility of a refugee crisis resulting from it. As a result, Italian officials have met Haftar in Rome this week, emphasising that a political solution to the crisis is the only real option.

In Cairo, Arab and European, particularly Greek and French, officials gathered to discuss and express support for a United Nations peace initiative. The UN Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, emphasised the importance of a ceasefire, urging those who support either side in the Libyan conflict to put an end to the fighting as soon as possible.