Violence Continues in Libya: 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know
1. Fighting resumes after ceasefire
After agreeing to a 2-day truce in respect of observing Eid Al Adha, Libyan officials say the fighting around Tripoli has resumed, and the self-styled Libyan National Army led by commander Khalifa Hifter carried out airstrikes overnight on the southern outskirts of Tripoli. The militias allied to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli also shelled Hifter’s forces in the area. This continuance of violence after the Muslim holiday was expected, as the Libyan civil war has reached a heated stage, with many foreign nations adding fuel to the fire.
2. Drone strikes increase fears of civilian deaths
The Libyan civil war has for the most part been an air war, one which is intensifying as rival forces in the divided country try to break a military stalemate, heightening significantly the risk of civilian casualties. Around 45 people were killed and dozens wounded in an airstrike last Sunday that targeted a town hall meeting in south-western Libya. The forces of Khalifa Haftar have been blamed for the strike. As the war now rages on after the brief cease-fire, worries of civilian casualties are increasing, and the international scene is moving away from further violence and towards pushing for peace in the region, a task which will by no means be easy.
3. How Libya’s civil war has attracted international attention
Both sides fighting the Libyan civil war have received weaponry and aid from Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia and many more countries. Almost eight years since a revolution backed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) that led to the ousting and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Al Gadhafi in October 2011, Libya has become an arena for regional and international rivalries. This has turned Libya into an international geopolitical game to gain influence in the region and reap the fruits of its resources, specifically its oil reserves, which are the largest in Africa. A triad of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with France backing them, support Haftar against the Tripoli government and its allied armed factions, which are backed by a Muslim Brotherhood-friendly alliance between Turkey and Qatar. The strong support from each side has resulted in a long civil war, that has cost many lives.
4. Division in Europe over Libya
The ongoing conflict in Libya appears to have brought division to Europe, as the Italian foreign ministry official has said that French military deployments in Libya have run counter to international aims. Italian foreign ministry undersecretary Manlio Di Stefano told The National that while France and Italy cooperated as partners on Libyan issues, in practice, things were often “not going in the right direction”. This division will have to be resolved before the nations can take be united in peace talks for the region.
5. Migration crisis increases
As the airborne Libyan civil war continues to take many civilian casualties, it also brings fear to the inhabitants of the nation, forcing them to migrate to Europe through the Mediterranean, and this has not stopped. Two French charities pulled another 81 migrants from the waters off Libya Sunday, bringing the number of those it rescued at sea since Friday to 211. Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranean jointly operate the Norwegian-flagged rescue ship Ocean Viking. The abundance of migrants from Libya will be another factor stimulating European nations to change their strategy to trying to achieve peace in Libya.