“An improvement of governance is not in sight. Without a new, successful initiative, Libya will break-up in an uncontrolled way, allowing radical Islamists to use parts of the country for expansion outside of Libya. A reversal would need an entirely new approach”.
Libya is close to a failed state, with civil war-like scenarios in several parts of the country. All warring factions are fragmented. There is no centralized control on any of the sides. Root causes: inability of the Government to impose its will and retain monopoly on violence, rising influence of radical Islamists, legacy of chaotic Administration of Gaddafi and century old tribal conflicts. Until Italian occupation in 1911, Libya was never a unified state. Three historic regions --Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan-- developed separate from each other for thousands of years. Gaddafi marginalized the East and funnelled oil wealth towards coastal Tripolitania. Since the ousting of Gaddafi in 2011, seven (!) persons have been Prime Ministers or claimed to be. The rule of militias and threats by Islamists undermine human rights in most parts of the country. Freedom of religion is, due to radical Islamists, impossible. In February 2015, 21 Egyptian Copts were beheaded by Islamic State (IS). The 10,000s of illegal migrants passing through Libya on their way to Europe are subject to brutal treatment. For some nations, their interests in Libya are security related (for Egypt, Italy and Western Europe) and/or economic (Egypt, Tunisia, Italy, Turkey). Other nations promote their values (e.g. Qatar, UAE pro & against Islamists). The GNA, the internationally recognized government is supported by the UN, Italy, France, UK, Germany, Turkey, and the U.S. Libya’s population is very young: 44% of its 6.5 million people are younger than 25. Only 9.5% are older than 55. 100,000 new jobs are needed every year. So many young people are “employed” by militias. One million Libyans have sought refuge in Tunisia and Egypt. Half a million are internally displaced. Although there are so many “governments”, the country’s economic institutions, the National Oil Corporation (NOC), the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) remain sole representations in their respective business areas. The international community refuses to deal with anybody else. These institutions are the glue keeping the country together. Most militias are financed by the CBL.
Mattia Toaldo (European Council on Foreign Relations): “Russia’s increasing political backing and the anti-Islamist winds blowing in Washington have strengthened Haftar’s belief there is no point negotiating a political solution with the forces in Western Libya.”