News / Middle East

    Libya’s Fate Difficult to Predict, Analysts Say

    FILE - Women take part in a demonstration against the country's parliament and in support of the coalition of fighters called the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, at Freedom Square, Benghazi, Aug. 29, 2014.
    FILE - Women take part in a demonstration against the country's parliament and in support of the coalition of fighters called the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, at Freedom Square, Benghazi, Aug. 29, 2014.
    Mohamed Elshinnawi

    As Libya slides deeper into political and military chaos, uncertainty reigns and analysts say it’s difficult to anticipate how things will unfold.

    Some say Libya needs regional or broader foreign involvement; others say that would only aggravate the situation.

    In mid-August, Libya’s ambassador to Egypt, Mohamed Jibril, called for international intervention, saying “Libya is unable to protect its institutions, its airports and oil fields.”

    Last week, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, asked the U.N. Security Council to disarm the warring factions. But the council decided against sending a U.N. peacekeeping force to Libya.

    Two military coalitions are competing for governmental control.  Their power struggles have almost paralyzed the country, leaving it with two de facto parliaments and two prime ministers.

    One coalition, Libya Dawn, represents Islamist groups including the hardline Ansar al-Shariah and militias from the coastal city of Misurata. The other coalition includes supporters of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, ousted in 2011. It’s led by retired General Khalifa Haftar, an anti-Islamist.

    Retired General Sameh Seif Alyazal, director of Cairo’s Algomhuria Center for Strategic Studies, said it’s “very difficult, if not impossible now, to disarm more than 1,600 militias and armed groups in Libya with millions of pieces of weapon and a variety of heavy weapons and missiles.” 

    Seif Alyazal welcomed the Security Council’s resolution to impose sanctions on militias and their political supporters who are fueling Libya’s escalating war.

    Egypt’s former ambassador to Libya, Hany Khallaf, said stabilizing Libya will demand more international cooperation.

    “Political and security arrangements are urgently required in Libya and it would take serious efforts from neighboring Arab countries, European and international efforts to be achieved,” Khallaf said.

    Egypt is committed to helping “the legitimate Libyan government in Tobruk” restore stability and extend its authority, according to Seif Alyazal. He said the two countries’ chiefs of staff met to discuss military cooperation, and Egypt offered to train Libyan police and army units, while  monitoring the borders to prevent insurgents or weapons from crossing.

    But Khallaf downplayed any significant role in Libyan politics for Egypt and its Gulf allies.

    “Libyan Islamists reject any role by Egypt, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates for a settlement in Libya, due to their anti-Islamist positions,” he said.

    A recent report in the military journal Jane’s Intelligence Review said the escalated fighting could yield one of several different scenarios. They include Islamist forces that  “gradually expand their control over the country, leading to a high probability of Algerian or Egyptian intervention.” Another possibility, Jane’s said is that the government could consolidate its control of oil revenues and contain the Islamists in the east.

    But if Islamists “succeed in isolating the Tobruk government and secure control of energy revenues,” Jane’s said, it  could divide the more hardline factions and the Muslim Brotherhood, leading to “greater direct foreign military intervention from Algeria and Egypt to secure their respective borders.”

    Michael O’ Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brooking Institution, a Washington think tank, predicted Libya eventually might be divided.

    “Realistically,” he said, “it is possible that Libya would be partitioned in the future, or at least would be a confederation of some kind where you do have two ongoing parliaments.”

    The most likely outcome is a stalemate – at least until the Tobruk government can “secure enough support and maybe direct Egyptian help to extend its authority across the country,”  said Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, an organization committed to resolving deadly conflict.

    The head of the United Nations’ support mission, Spanish diplomat Bernardino Leon, agrees foreign intervention isn’t the answer to Libya’s turmoil.

    “More conflict, more use of force will not help Libya get out of the current chaos, which would also impact countries in the region, in Europe and beyond,” he said.

    Besides, Gazzini said, few countries have shown interest in forming an international coalition to restore stability.

    And she warned against such national or regional intervention. “Any viable solution must come from within Libya,” she said. “Intervention by outsiders picking sides may just make things worse.”

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    Comment Sorting
    by: love,peace,and happines
    September 06, 2014 6:53 PM
    why not negotiate like Russia and Ukraine..let peace have a chance and federalize power and let people live. Ukraine has democratic election and after last crisis they elected two fresh governments and presidents and in Syria, Assad and his government kips on on power and killings of thousand of people,children, and women. everyone is asking how there is so much killing in arab states and so much sectarian violence while everyone is still Muslim and how not so much in Ukraine.where there are ethnic differences but everyone is Christian. you be the judge and why is there no Unions in Africa,Arab states,SE ASIA, and South America like a mighty USA(union) and European Union(very strong UNion). you be the judge.
    In Response

    September 06, 2014 10:29 PM
    After killing gadhafi , his system re-controlled the country, as they benefited by the mercy shown by people , but the money of gadhafi loyalist used to put the revolution in bad shape, supporting thieves , former prisoners giving them authority, even succeeded to blackmail part of the government specilay the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Defence ,which surprisingly responds to old gadhafi system ,so the airport was used for drug trafficking, facilitate e escape of criminals ,specially by some zentani melechia leaders who got spoiled with easy money ,recruiting former gadhafi fighting brigades again, about 2 billion dollars spent on these suspicious groups ,so in the biggest most cevalized city in Libya Trioili , people started to complaint that only flag changed , and its Neighbor city called janzour started the clash after which other former anti gadhafi people joined, the most important to know in the western part of Libya the Islamic linked terrorist fighters have no role on ground , most of fighters are ordinary people having different jobs , Musrata joined by sending its army named shields contains soliders from middle coast cities, again just ordinary people, but the false media Plastered false charge of being Muslim Brothers, in the beginning they attacked the airport area and nearby camps used by gadhafi loyalist, Tripoli brigades attack forces in the west of Tripoli , now most of military work is finished , the political part is starting as the elected Parliament is divided between supporters of the Back Gaddafi regime and the opposition, which led to escape of gadhafi loyalist from Parliament out of the capital to city of Tobruk ,on the Egyptian border, which supports one of previous Gaddafi army leaders called Hafter, who used the pretext of Islamic terrorism, which the media and especially the Egypt succeeded to put Benghazi in this context, while the truth is Benghazi is moderate Islamic city ,only some Islamic extremists are in the city of Derna, but does not control it , after defeating ghadafi supporters again last week in capital things are calm , just few gadhafi loyalist escaped and being followed far from capital.

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