How Libya’s National Unity Deal Drove Its Factions Farther Apart

How Libya’s National Unity Deal Drove Its Factions Farther Apart
A fighter from the Libyan forces affiliated with the Tripoli government runs for cover while fighting against Islamic State positions, Sirte, Sept. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Manu Brabo).

The liberation of the Libyan city of Sirte from the self-proclaimed Islamic State late last year seemed like a major step in stabilizing Libya and combating terrorism in North Africa. But Libya’s still-stalled political dialogue and internal rifts have tempered any gains.

Despite—or perhaps because of—the terms of the U.N.-backed peace deal signed in Morocco in December 2015 to form a unity government, Libya remains plagued by strife between two main rival blocs in eastern and western Libya, which are unable to find common ground. The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, or GNA, that was set up 14 months ago has rapidly shown its limits. Rather than lead to reconciliation with the rival House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk, the new political order created by the GNA is completing the country’s fragmentation.

The Tobruk faction still hasn’t even approved the terms of the GNA’s implementation. Last month, a meeting of Libyan parties in Tunisia attempted to bridge their gaps, until the House of Representatives boycotted it. A new meeting was planned earlier this month in Cairo between Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the powerful military leader backed by Tobruk who opposes the government in Tripoli, and the GNA’s prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj. But at the last moment, Haftar decided not to attend. Despite the efforts of his regional backers, such as Egypt, Haftar does not show any willingness to reach a political denouement, as he thinks only a military solution can restore security and chase Islamist groups out of the 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.