Conflict

Neighbouring Countries Express Concern Over Libya Escalation

North Africa

Countries bordering Libya, including Tunisia and Algeria, are concerned that the military escalation in Libya may have negative consequences for themselves.

To the west of Libya lie two countries that have recently been experiencing groundbreaking political transitions: Tunisia and Algeria. Both countries have been undergoing internal political and social processes that seem to indicate a shift towards more democratic practices, however, their new governments are expressing deep concerns regarding developments in neighbouring Libya, where the civil conflict is being exacerbated by external forces.

The new leaders of both Tunisia and Algeria, Qais Said and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, have condemned the foreign interference in Libyan affairs and have stated that external forces are causing increased instability there, which may have adverse effects on Tunisia and Algeria.

Qais Said recently stated that the situation in Libya is becoming ever more complicated and that there is a high likelihood that refugees will begin crossing the border into Tunisia. He asserted that Tunisia must remain vigilant as there is a possibility that “terrorist elements” may enter the country under the guise of being refugees fleeing the war. Indeed, border points between Tunisia and Libya have frequently been closed due to security concerns.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune recently welcomed head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj, in Algeria. Tebboune has called on the international community to push for a ceasefire in Libya. He called Tripoli a “red line” that should not be passed by the LNA.

Nevertheless, international efforts to de-escalate the situation in Libya have failed to come to fruition. The push by the Libyan National Army (LNA), lead by Khalifa Haftar, to capture the Libyan capital, Tripoli, has continued since it was launched in April 2019 despite international calls to halt the operations.

The LNA recently captured the strategic city of Sirte from the GNA and it is currently pushing towards Misrata, which is located only a few kilometres to the east of Tripoli, where the GNA is based.