With armed factions vying for control of the country’s strategic assets and United Nations-facilitated negotiations leading nowhere, 2020 has seen no improvement to the turmoil that has plagued Libya since the ouster of Moammar al-Gadhafi in 2011. While the self-styled Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar continues, unsuccessfully, to try to take over the country militarily, the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez Serraj in Tripoli, propped up by militias opposed to Haftar, retains control over major institutions and sources of national wealth. With the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt backing Haftar, and Turkey and Qatar backing Serraj, weapons of increasing sophistication are flowing to opposing sides, pitting foreign powers against each other and violating U.N. sanctions.
Meanwhile, facing a stagnant economy and constant threats to infrastructure, the Libyan people are caught in the crossfire of this protracted jockeying. Unchecked migration and the threat of extremist groups taking hold in the country’s contested spaces likewise make Libya’s internal situation a security concern for Europe and the United States. Solving the civil war in Libya would restore needed stability to a strategically vital part of northern Africa, while laying the groundwork for the prosperity of the Libyan people.
On February 24, the Brookings Institution hosted an event to discuss these issues. Moderated by Michael O’Hanlon, the conversation featured Federica Saini Fasanotti, whose new book “Vincere: The Italian Royal Army’s Counterinsurgency Operations in Africa 1922-1940” provides timely and salient insight into the history of warfare in Libya.
To subscribe or manage your subscriptions to our top event topic lists, please visit our event topics page.