Libya from the Midst of the Crisis to Prospects for Stability


Madrid, 2017

By: Sayed Ghoneim

Firstly: Repercussions of Arab Spring:

  1. Politically/ economic

a. Governments of some countries in the Middle East and North Africa changed, also imposed several reforms and other changes.

b. Chance of political Islam gave predominance in some countries of the region to prove its failure to manage its affairs in a very short time.

c. Led to more foreign political and military interventions.

Led to significant changes in the balance of power.

d. Opened the field of multilateralism to impose itself in the Middle East and North Africa.

Proved the real failure of the common foreign and security policy of the European Union to the region, where failed e. to improve security in the southern Mediterranean region or to ensure the protection of their interests, while conditions require the involvement of Europe and the international community more seriously with Libya and Egypt and Tunisia with expanded economic and political assistance.

2. Security

a. Increased frequency of flare-up of sectarian dividing and civil wars.

b. Increasing transnational crimes.

c. The spread of terrorism where it was classification (14) new terrorist organization in the region.

Secondly: Libya after the revolution of February 2011

The Libyan Revolution erupted on 17 February 2011 affected by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, which toppled two presidents Ben Ali and Mubarak. And with Qadhafi forces successes in front of rebels and dissidents from his armed forces, NATO’s intervention in March 2011 with unprecedented speed.

To turn the balance of things in favor of the rebels, and declare against the Libyan East and Tripoli during August, then control of the last bastions of Gaddafi and kill him in Sirte on October 20.

All this has led to fragmentation of Libyan forces to several armed militias as well as the rebels to form the rival factions difficult reunification.

Thirdly: in five years, until 2016 presence in Libya three major domestic parties, four regional actors, as well as the important international parties may seek to intervene in the crisis in Libya:

  1. Internally

a. In Tripoli, we find the Government of National Accord of the Presidential Council headed by “Fayez Al-Sarraj”, Supreme Council of State (output Skhirat Agreement signed on December 17, 2015), the Supreme Council is consultative body in Tripoli also consist of (145) members, representatives from the predominately Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic factions, and following them the armed militias of the Islamic-minded (Fajr Libya), then Salvation Government Under “Khalifa al-Ghawil”  arising from the National Conference, outgoing his mandate and loyal to Muslim Brotherhood Group, this Government returned to impose its presence in the wake of her loyal militiamen on a number of Government Headquarters was snatched from the control of Seraj Government.

b. In the East (Tobruk) find the three main bodies, Libyan House of Representatives (Parliament) under the Chancellor “Aguila Saleh” internationally recognized, which led to the interim Government headed by “Abdullah al-Thani” Libyan National Army led by General “Khalifa Haftar”.

And outside the political parties find organization ISIS and terrorist groups loyal to him for example, as well as Al Qaeda.

3. Regionally

a. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates supports the Libyan National Army and elected Parliament.

b. Qatar supports the Presidential Council and the Islamic militia.

c. Turkey, which supports the militia in Misrata and in harmony with Qatar and Turkey play a big role in the scene complexity.

d. Then Tunisia and Algeria tend to reconciliation.


Russia against the European Union (Italy, France and Britain) to deal with the crisis of illegal immigration and terrorism, as well as the United States.

Fourthly: EU, NATO and Libya now:

The situation in Libya turned into a broader security crisis in the Sahel region and desert, amid European modes of transmission of violence and unrest within Europe itself, especially that the North Africa region is the real southern border of the European continent… Security in the region has become a priority, not marginal concerns for Europe, as compared to the rest of the Middle East, especially after recent attacks in France, Germany, and Belgium to establish overlapping nature of the security of both the southern and Northern Mediterranean, mostly carried out by people of Arab descent from North Africa, Were recruited to join the ranks of ISIS in Syria. The Mediterranean and its marine passageways remain an open field needs to be secured.

Fifthly: the critical evolution in the political track eased the likelihood of the military escalation:

  1. Elements of the Libyan crisis (internally and regionally) turned from parties in the crisis to actors to resolve it, starting from the reception of the President of the Presidential Council “Fayez Al-Sarraj” in Cairo mid-January is the worst enemies politically Haftar, Followed by the statement by Sarraj in meeting of the high-level Committee of Heads of State of the African Union and neighboring countries on Libya end of January, he said “tribute to the Libyan army fighting efforts «this Regulation [ISIS] and his supporters in Benghazi, now near completely edited them”, I ask the African Union and the international community to take immediate action to lift the arms embargo against Libya, and technical assistance for the training and upgrading of military and security.”
  2. During that period were the 10th ministerial meeting Libya neighbors in Cairo on January 21, 2017, Libyan Summit in Cairo on 13 and 14 February attended by Sarraj and Haftar but insisted to didn’t meet even once, Then the Egyptian Foreign Minister “Sameh Shoukry” headed on February 19 to Tunisia to participate in a meeting of Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia and Algeria to prepare for a tripartite summit from the initiative by the President of Tunisia “Beji Caid Essebsi” on Libya entitled «political solution through dialogue and national reconciliation in Libya.
  3. This was preceded by the United Nations resolution aimed at resolving the crisis through reconciliation between the Libyan parties, insist on the appointment of Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, approving the possibility of creating a joint force to enforce peace in the region, Arm and move the national army is prohibited to non-controlled expansion against his opponents internationally recognized Presidential Council, however, the strongly negative effect of defeating terrorist organizations in Libya.
  4. Arabic League succeeded in appointing a Special Envoy in Libya deals with all parties in the crisis.
  5. A significant role for the African Union did not issue compared to other actors in the crisis.
  6. Although Egypt continuation to support Haftar and bet on his greater political role in the future, but that Egypt did not insisting on eradicating Islamists in Libya as it was in the past, Perhaps due to understanding Cairo difficulty of  Haftar  forces completely control on western Libya, especially with the continued Security Council embargo on arming his forces, And also because of the strength of the armed groups supportive of the Government of National Accord in the West, foremost Misrata militia (Northwest of the country).

Sixth: the near future in Libya:

  1. European vision consensus but moral and material support for the Egyptian vision now proclaimed waiting that “the highest priority to Egypt now maintain a unified Libya, neutralize and overcome a speech split the country between the two East and West”, which seriously affect the security and stability inside of Libya by the security and safety of the Libyan borders and neighboring countries.
  2. With the continued attitude towards compatibility, Libyan Islamic factions wait for a response, as Justice and Construction Party (Muslim Brotherhood) and leadership of the Salafi Leader and Islamic Homeland Party “Abdelhakim Belhadj” for this Egyptian position “modified” and supports Egyptian efforts in this direction, which may worry stakeholders and individual agendas.
  3. based support to Trump management for Libyan national army led by “Haftar” as the Libyan military National Foundation, and the army is officially recognized, which may happen balance in Haftar relationships with Moscow.
  4. The case the need for military intervention by ground forces will avoid any foreign intervention, as expect the reluctance of Egypt and Algeria and Tunisia have forces permanently on Libyan territory, you may prefer to provide full support for the Libyan national army to eradicate terrorism.

Seventh: recommendations:

  1. The need for joint action to resolve the Libyan crisis through key principles is to support and recognize of the will of the people of Libya (represented in the elected House of Representatives), And maintain the security and stability of Libya and territorial integrity and rejected outside interference in the internal affairs of Libya, and the adoption of a political solution as the only one way to restore State authority and keep the cohesion the Libyan people in various  sections, and enable the Libyan people to preserve its riches and adapted for rebuilding State institutions.
  2. Continue to support the Skhirat Agreement, despite the expiry of the validity, through coordination between the Libyan Presidential Council and the House of representatives, and continued political dialogue among all parties and provide high over Libya’s interest, in order to adopt and implement a comprehensive political settlement and national reconciliation government capable of realizing the aspirations of the Libyan people and alleviate the suffering.
  3. The need for the reservation of Libyan neighbors on the intentions of the presence of military bases, whether European or American or Russian in Libya, especially at the present time to reduce any undesirable interference in the current time.
  4. The African Union calculated to processing rapid intervention force linked to United Nations resolutions and the possibility of African American leadership US AfrCom intervention in the landscape.
  5. Consensus mechanism to out of the current blockage is activated to run through the steps clear of constitutional amendments compatible needed and during the parliamentary and presidential elections as soon as possible, with all the major incumbents in Libya, and until the end of the transitional period.
  6. The need for the parties to compromise solutions maintain the unity of the State and Libyan nationality, equitable distribution of resources, and rebuild national State institutions in Libya.
  7. The insistence on supporting the efforts of the United Nations envoy and the envoy of the League of Arab States to Libya and permanent coordination with them.
  8. Work on strengthening the capacity of the Libyan army regulars to build capacities and to eliminate terrorism and defeat his will, as well as work to resolve the issue of armed militias in Libya according to clear controls compatibility.



Sayed Ghoneim
Fellow, Nasser Higher Military Academy
Senior Strategist, International Security & Defence
Chairman, Institute for Global Security & Defence Affairs (IGSDA) &