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HomeGeopolitical CompassNile Valley & N.AfricaThe UAE in Libya: Continuity and Change

The UAE in Libya: Continuity and Change

Author: Ferhat Polat 

Affiliation: TRT World Research Centre

Organization/Publisher: TRT World Research Centre

Date/Place: September 21, 2021/Istanbul, Turkey

Type of Literature: Policy Outlook

Number of Pages: 8


Keywords: Regional Hegemony, Authoritarianism, Mercenaries, Elections




The United Arab Emirates (UAE) perceives Libya as a centerpiece for its regional goals, so its policy makers seek to engage in influencing the war-torn country’s long-term future. The UAE’s interest is driven by both ideology and geopolitical interests, the former manifested in the vigorous effort to crush the Arab Spring along with all Islamist-leaning groups, and pushing for authoritarian models of government. Meanwhile geopolitically, Libya is part of grander plans of becoming a regional hegemon, as it is a beachhead for further influence in Africa and the Mediterranean. The financial and military support given to Haftar is a way of securing Emirati goals, maintaining enthusiasm in aiding him despite the disappointment of Russia and Egypt due to recent defeats. In addition, the Emiratis are showing the potential of exploiting the uncertain elections in the coming December 2021. The presence of the UAE and other foreign forces is undermining the success of any resolution, especially when all its bets are placed on Haftar’s victory. In this case, there is no end in sight for mercenaries, arms proliferation and civil war. The UAE may have toned down some of its regional activities after Biden won the Presidency, however a change in shape doesn’t mean a change in essence.


By: Omar Fili, CIGA Research Assistant



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