Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 2 (1) – The Joint Arab Force Takes a Side

After having examined the first scenarios – diplomatic negotiations between the Council of Representatives (COR) and General National Congress (GNC) towards peace – with this article we shall begin detailing a second set of scenarios focusing on external intervention and evaluating their likelihood. The organization of the whole series for the future of Libya can be found here. This scenario and its sub-scenarios are grounded in the premises that despite the advocacy of external actors to avoid foreign involvement in Libya’s civil war, consideration of intervention increases as Libya heads closer to a failed state, and as Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaida affiliates expand their areas of operation. In our first intervention scenarios category, external actors decide to intervene in …

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (5) – A Libyan-Mediated Peace?

After evaluating scenarios involving failed peace negotiations, we shall conclude scenario 1, exploring paths towards a mediated peace, by evaluating sub-scenario 1.3 in this article – a scenario where peace negotiations, without an external mediator, lead to a signed peace treaty and transitional government. Our focus here will be on the scenario where the actors reach such levels of exhaustion that they are willing to negotiate a peace, as noted by Luttwak (Foreign Affairs, 1999); and in this case, through negotiations involving exclusively Libyan actors, i.e. without external mediators. We shall discuss the scenario where the actors form a unity government and whether or not it makes progress towards stabilization, as well as the scenario where the actors fail to …

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (4) – Failed negotiations

Scenario 1: Towards Peace – continued After having discussed scenarios involving a peacebuilding mission, with this article we shall continue detailing the scenarios assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years, suggest indicators to monitor their happenstance and progressively evaluate their likelihood. Our first focus here will be on the scenario detailing the alternative to successfully forming a unity government under an externally brokered peace agreement. The first possibility for the evolution of sub-scenario 1.1 was presented here. Then, we shall concentrate on the scenario where the peace talk participants even fail to sign a peace agreement. The organization of the whole series of scenarios for the future of Libya can …

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (3) – A Successful Peacebuilding Mission?

After having discussed the formation of a unity government, with this article we shall continue detailing the scenarios assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years, suggest indicators to monitor their happenstance and progressively evaluate their likelihood. Our focus here will be on the scenario where an international peacebuilding mission is necessary to see the Libyan government and state progress towards stabilisation. The first possibility for the evolution of sub-scenario 1.1.1 was presented here (scenario 1.1.1.1 “The unity government functions” – i.e. without international assistance, and then articulated around the ability or not to face the Salafi threats). The organisation of the whole series of scenarios for the future of Libya can be found …

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1 (2) – a Victorious United Government?

After having focused on understanding the actors in Libya’s civil war, with this article we shall continue detailing the scenarios assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years, suggest indicators to monitor their happenstance and progressively evaluating their likelihood. The first phases for this scenario were presented here (scenario 1.1 “Peace treaty signed” and 1.1.1. “Unity Government formed”) and the organisation of the whole series of scenarios for the future of Libya can be found here. The analysis and indicators below suggest that sub-scenario 1.1.1.1 is unlikely to succeed without international assistance, which we shall discuss in sub-scenario 1.1.1.2. Scenarios 1: Towards Peace – continued Summary of the previous phase-scenarios The …

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Scenarios 1: Towards Peace? (1)

After having focused on understanding the actors in Libya’s civil war, and presented our basic scenarios outline (see previous post), with this article we shall begin detailing the scenarios and evaluating their likelihood, starting with assessing the potential for a peaceful solution for Libya’s future within the next three to five years. Scenarios 1: Towards Peace The Council of Representatives (COR) and General National Congress (GNC) have agreed to participate in diplomatic talks for the sake of achieving peace and ending Libya’s civil war. Scenario 1.1: The Peace Negotiations, Brokered by External Forces, are Successful and a Peace Treaty is Signed An external actor, such as the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) as is currently the case, leads …

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War in Libya and Its Futures – Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (3)

In our previous post, we discussed the Amazigh and Tuareg tribes, who were marginalized and persecuted under Qaddafi, and their current involvement in the war. Similarly, the Toubou faced persecution and marginalization in the recent past, but became more powerful after the 2011 revolution, a result of their contribution to revolutionary forces. As a result, the balance of power over smuggling routes in Southern Libya (Fezzan) shifted to one that favored the Toubou, which drove the Toubou and Tuareg to end their long-lasting Midi Midi truce and clash in Ubari. This shift in power has also brought about violent clashes between Toubou and Arab tribesmen over smuggling routes and regional power. Here, we shall discuss the Toubou political grievances, their …

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War in Libya and Its Futures – Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (2)

Throughout their history (see “Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (1)“), Libya’s tribes have not been based exclusively on systematic tribalism, but rather on a flexible tribal ideology that is grounded in identity and shifts according to circumstances and practical opportunities. This shifting tribal ideology makes the non-Arab tribes different from the majority of the actors in Northern Libya, who are more or less bound by religious or political ideology – and thus ally with similar groups. Furthermore, tribalism naturally produces “nepotism and favoritism” amongst tribal groups and families (Varvelli, ISPI, May 2013), but Libya’s minority tribes have also shown that they can unite to protest shared grievances, as we shall see below. The Amazigh (Berber), Toubou, and Tuareg tribes have been …

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War in Libya and Its Futures – Tribal Dynamics and Civil War (1)

Tribalism in Libya’s civil war is a powerful dynamic that must be analyzed and understood before endeavoring foresight. Libya comprises 140 tribes, of which an estimated 30 to 40 have political influence, making it “one of the most tribal nations in the Arab world” (Kurczy and Hinshaw, The Christian Science Monitor, February 24, 2011; Varvelli, ISPI, May 2013). As a result, if a few or many of them side with one or the other warring groups, then this will impact the war. Tribal identity and its product of favoritism are dynamics that can have a profound effect on political allegiances (see section on Creating Grievances). Because tribes are inclusive and often have extended familial ties, they are naturally predisposed to favoritism …

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Update – War in Libya and its Futures – The Islamic State Advance and Impacts

In the past weeks, several major developments occurred in Libya that will affect the dynamics of the civil war, and on the longer term, most probably, its outcome. Egyptian airstrikes on Libyan soil, increased Russian support and involvement with the Council of Representatives (the internationally-recognized Libyan government), the Council’s suspended then renewed participation in the UN peace talks, its request to remove the arms embargo, and conflicting support in the UN for an intervention are all directly linked to the increased hostilities and threat from Islamic State elements in Libya. The United States and Britain stand currently opposed to any intervention and to Libya’s appeal to lift the arms embargo, citing the lack of a unified government that could not …

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