A Piece of a Greater Puzzle: The Libyan Civil War, External Influences and Regional Trends

Source:Jamestown Foundation Date:09Feb2020

Very good analytics explaining the power struggles outside Libya spilling over to its ugly civil war. Since Turkey is now a party to the war, a good primer for those who wish to catch up.


The Libyan conflict has to be seen as a part of the emerging dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean. For years, the conflict was seen as an appendix of Gulf politics, especially following the Qatar blockade; as an arena for intra-European competition, for instance between Italy and France; or intra-Maghrebi, as shown by the duplication of negotiations around 2014 and 2015 involving Algeria and Morocco. However, the nature of the proxy war and its increasingly internationalized nature has now entered a new stage. The linkage with the eastern Mediterranean is now more apparent: Turkey sees influence in Libya as a crucial element to breaking out from its own increasing isolation.

However, over the past few weeks, another regional dynamic emerged with the high potential to influence trends in Libya. On January 28, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled what he defined as the “deal of the century,” his long-awaited plan to resuscitate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (Al-Jazeera, January 28). In this context, Egypt remains the crucial element for any arrangement concerning Israeli regional security. Since the Camp David accords in 1978, it has been clear that there cannot be a state-led war against Israel without Egypt. Preserving this strategic reality is a crucial element driving American foreign policy in the region since the 1970s and it obviously remains vital to keeping the current plan alive, at least theoretically, in the coming years. The UAE is essential for this plan. Abu Dhabi said that the project is a “serious initiative that addresses many issues raised over the years” and it is one of the most important Arab countries supporting the plan, especially economically (The National [Abu Dhabi], January 29).