why war is no longer a solution in Libya

National flag of Libya

After the conflict in Libya between the GNA and the LNA has turned into a larger-scale proxy war with the intervention of Russia and Turkey, it is clear that neither side is able to prevail over the other.After having surrounded the capital Tripoli for over a year, the Libyan army of General Khalifa Haftar was unable to conquer it. Not only that, underestimating some tribal dynamics, and thanks to Ankara’s support for the GNA, the LNA was forced to withdraw from the western region.

“Turkey doesn’t understand today that getting hundred kilometers here, hundred kilometers there, it’s not going to end the crisis in Libya.” H.E. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said in a recent conversation with Middle East Institute (MEI), adding that “right now Turkey is the only Country to reject an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire. And the next battle over Sirte is really problematic, you got worries of 600 thousand civilians in that coastal city. The Turks are pushing their advantage. We saw with general Haftar, pushing all the way to the capital and we have always say that some of our friends are taking their unilateral decisions – we have seen this with NTC in Yemen, we seen it with general Haftar in Libya – and a lot of these unilateral calculations were wrong. These are calculations that sometimes you really don’t have the control or the sort of moral advice that you want on some of your friends.”

The UAE Foreign Minister of State, explained that in Libya today a big Turkish intervention will not solve the crisis. “To solve the crisis, you need 3 things: an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire now, the resumption of political process with the Egyptian initiative, and a real control of the money”. It must be said that most of the Libyan people always rejected any kind of interference on their Internal Affairs, or foreign military intervention on their territory. The Russian support for the LNA can’t change the situation as Ankara deployed in Libya thousands of mercenaries, military personnel and intelligence advisors. Conditions have drastically changed since January and it has become crystal clear to all who are involved in the war there that, just like in Syria, there is no military solution to the conflict.

The Russian intervention puts Haftar’s LNA on the same level of GNA forces, engaged with smugglers and terrorists. Furthermore, offering protection or welcoming among his ranks, criminals suspected of having committed war crimes, such as mass graves found in Tarhouna, raises serious doubts about the definition of “army” and increases doubts among Libyans.Once invited, the foreigner risks becoming the guest who takes control of the house and refuses to leave. Libyans have clearly expressed their refusal, and their will deserves to be heard.

All this, combined with the pursuit of personal advantages, the existing tribal differences, and the fragile balance between the social components, risks extending the conflict in other regions with a further deterioration of the living conditions for the population.This week, Europe welcomed top diplomats from Turkey and regional and European capitals for talks on Libya, in particular, and Syria. In the midst of these visits, Turkey’s top diplomat also paid a surprise midweek visit to Libya. The escalating diplomatic chatter indicates that there is more going on here than the rhetoric suggests.

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