Libya’s Transition Out of Civil War Has Stalled

Libya’s Transition Out of Civil War Has Stalled
Forces loyal to Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, one of Libya’s two rival prime ministers, secure the streets of the capital, Tripoli, May, 17, 2022 (AP photo by Yousef Murad).

Libyans could be forgiven for feeling an uneasy sense of déjà vu in recent months. Last year many had hoped the country was finally moving on from a long struggle between rival authorities. But the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity, or GNU, that was established in 2021 as part of the United Nations-led political process has been challenged since March by a rival government appointed through a disputed parliamentary vote.

Earlier this month the head of that parallel authority, Fathi Bashaga, sparked militia clashes when he tried to install himself in the capital, before ultimately being forced to leave. The episode recalled how Bashaga’s current ally, Khalifa Haftar, a septuagenarian military commander based in eastern Libya, launched an unsuccessful offensive to wrest control of Tripoli in 2019, triggering a war that drew in foreign intervention and mercenaries on both sides. That Bashaga was then a key figure in the effort to thwart Haftar’s offensive is a reminder of how often alliances shift in Libya.

The current political standoff has had economic repercussions that also summon bitter memories. In April, Haftar loyalists returned to the disruptive tactics they had previously used to gain political leverage when they instigated the shutdown of vital oil facilities. The continuing blockade has slashed production in the hydrocarbon-dependent country.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.