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The War In Libya

Updated: Jul 25

BY: Kieran Stoyka Kay

Libya, in one form or another, has been at war ever since the overthrow of dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011. The civil war has now become internationalized with countries and international organizations showing their true colours, as well as picking sides. There are two main political movements that spearhead the war in Libya. In the west there is the UN-backed government; the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by its prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj. To the east, there is the Libyan National Armed forces (LNA) headed by Khalifa Haftar.

The UN, European Union, Turkey, and NATO are sided with the GNA at the moment, and France, Russia, Egypt, and the UAE back the LNA military. This conflict has claimed thousands of lives and put hundreds of thousands of civilians in harms way, sometimes on the front-lines of the conflict. In April 2019 Khalifa Haftar, and his backers, prodded on by US President Donald Trump, attempted to seize the GNA stronghold of Tripoli in a Blitzkrieg-like military assault, which ultimately failed. Turkey has helped change the tide of the war, with many frozen economic contracts within Libya they see the result of the war in the favour of the GNA could be favourable to these contracts and help them gain some economic stimulus. Recently Tripoli has been fully regained by GNA forces who have pushed back the LNA into their eastern positions and are now fighting a war of attrition.

The biggest effect of Turkey’s involvement has been its air support, offering GNA support through air-attacks carried out by drones. Ever since the increased involvement from the Turkish military over the past few months, backers of Haftar have wavered in their support of the self-proclaimed authoritarian leader, due to significant setbacks in the war, and the withdrawal of Russian mercenaries from the region. Since the start of the conflict between the two sides, Russia has reportedly sent in 800-1200 mercenaries to back Haftar and the LNA, as well as aiding them in the illicit selling of oil and gas from the regions which Haftar controls. The war in Libya is a fight over one of Africa’s richest oil-fields, garnering significant international economic interest towards the regions, which is why so many governments and organizations are involved in this now international war.

As of today, the two international governments with the most sway in the war are Turkey and Russia, who have begun to engage in peace talks ever since Haftar’s defeat in Tripoli. The United Nations have called for an international cease-fire in the times of COVID-19, which in Libya have fallen upon deaf ears. The war continues to be localized in specific regions across the country fought by mercenaries on both sides, as well as powerful international military support mechanisms.

*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.


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