April 26, 2019

A New Round of Civil War in Libya


Oleksiy Volovych

April 4, 2019 the Libyan National Army under the command of Marshal Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against the capital of Tripoli. The declared by H. Hafthar aim of the attack was supposedly to “clean the Tripoli from islamists and terrorists”, although the true aim of this offensive is, in fact, to drive away the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya led by Kh. Haftar's longtime opponent, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, supported by some western countries and the UN.

Estimating the parties' chances to win, it should be noted that the chances of the Commander of the LNA to win are greater, although his victory may become “Pyrrhic”. This conclusion is evidenced by the fact that Kh. Haftar has more military forces than F. al-Sarraj, on whose side are fighting mostly detached groups of predominantly Islamic militants. Besides, Kh. Haftar controls the vast majority of the country's territory and its oil infrastructure. At the same time, the capture of Tripoli by LNA forces would be a long process, given the specifics of fighting in cities with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. Prolonged battles for controlling the capital can lead to unpredictable consequences. It should not be ruled out that Kh. Haftar launched the attack on Tripoli in order to strengthen his positions in possible future negotiations with the GNA through international mediation.

Sadly, the Libyan conflict seems to have no end in sight, and it is difficult to predict further developments in this country. The situation is greatly complicated by the involvement in the events in Libya of numerous foreign powers, who have their own geopolitical interests in the country, and are in a fierce competition with each other, — similar to what we can observe in Syria, too.

The article is available in Ukrainian