The Trump Reversal the World Needs
Six years after the fall of Muammar el-Qaddafi, Libya remains mired in conflict and political chaos. To stem the emergence of an extremist haven at Europe’s gates and prevent the country from becoming another Russian playground, the US must engage with its Western allies in a strategy to build a viable Libyan state.
MADRID – Six years after the fall of Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, Libya remains mired in conflict and political chaos. Devoid of any central authority or national security structure, the Libyan state now exists only in name. It is time for a new approach – one that the United States should actively support.
To be sure, Libya does have an internationally recognized government: the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), born of the December 2015 Libyan Political Agreement, signed in Skhirat, Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations. But not only did that government receive a vote of no confidence from the Tobruk-based House of Representatives last August; it is being actively challenged by another Tripoli-based entity, the General National Congress (GNC), controlled largely by Islamist groups.
The bottom line is that Libya is now run by myriad mafia-style criminal groups and armed militias. Their allegiance is divided among the two competing governments, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State (ISIS), which views the country as a province of its dwindling caliphate and an important refuge for members escaping the war in Syria and Iraq. Uncontrolled waves of migration from the country are now breaking across the Mediterranean into Europe.
We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.
To continue reading, subscribe now.
Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.
Already have an account or want to create one to read two commentaries for free? Log in