Libya: All Eyes on Military Developments Around Tripoli

North Africa

The forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar are advancing once again towards the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Leader of the LNA, Khalifa Haftar, recently announced a renewed offensive on the Libyan capital, Tripoli. This represents the latest stage of the overall LNA offensive on Tripoli that began in April. This has brought a renewed focus on developments in Libya, centered around the capital city.

Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, has already announced a state of emergency in the city. Several military units in and around capital are on standby expecting to be involved in imminent clashes with the LNA.

The geopolitical dimensions of the conflict in Libya have recently been exacerbated. Turkey recently reached an agreement with the GNA to entrench its military support for them. It has also signed an agreement to outline the maritime borders between Libya and Turkey in order to give Turkey easier access to the northern African country. Qatar is also known to provide support for the GNA.

On the other side, neighbouring Egypt as well as the UAE are backing the LNA. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi recently made critical comments of the GNA in light of the LNA offensive on Tripoli.

Heavyweights such as the US, Russia and China are as of yet non-aligned, but invested in the conflict and in Libya. Russia, especially has been attempting to maintain relations with both sides. On the one hand it has signed lucrative contracts with companies in GNA-held areas, on the other hand it has provided military support to the LNA. With regards to China, it is interested in profiting from the reconstruction industry in Libya, which has been booming due to the widespread infrastructural damage caused by the past few years of military civil conflict.

There are international fears that Libya is going to turn into a “second Syria”, where the actions of external powers have a malign effect on developments on the ground by prolonging and exacerbating the dynamics of the internal military conflict.