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Origins of the Libyan Conflict and Options for its Resolution

Author: Jonathan M. Winer

Organization/Publisher: Middle East Institute

Date/Place: May 21, 2019, U.S.

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 29


Keywords: Conflict in Libya, Qadhafi Regime, Haftar, Sarraj


This report is commissioned to tackle the origins and to propose pathways to end the conflict in Libya in the post-Arab uprising. The inherited historical tribal fabric and the immature political system following Qadhafi’s coup in 1969 created two hostile tribal blocs: the “haves” and the “have-nots”. While the “haves” were privileged tribes, the political opponent “have-nots” consist of excluded tribes deemed enemies to Qadhafi. On the eve of 2011, the Arab uprising fueled these political historical differences, and regenerated two political blocks competing for power. However, while the local military dispute had escalated to a conflict over the country’s natural resources between the locals, the post 2014 period marks an intensified dispute with the backing of external powers to the local conflicting blocs. Consequently, both local actors and their backers must understand the risks that would be lethal to Libya and other countries. To end the conflict, a number of procedures are proposed: Libyans must be convinced by international actors that a negotiated settlement and elections are the only viable path forward, rather than military disputes; Diplomatically, internationals must work together and act within the UN to avoid illegal Oil exports; For security stability, a security institution must be established, consisting of a national army as well as local police forces to supplant militias.

By: Imad Atoui, CIGA Research Associate



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