Categories
Diplomacy Politics CSS Blog

The Biden Administration’s Impulse to US-EU Cooperation on Libya

Image courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Brigitte Brantley/DVIDS.

The US has maintained a relatively passive approach to Libya under President Donald Trump, whose administration largely left the Libyan dossier to Egypt, several Arab Gulf states, Turkey, Europeans, and Russia. In 2021, however, America’s new leadership will probably try to assert US influence in the war-torn country more actively.[i] President-elect Joe Biden and those in his inner circle have vowed to push back against Moscow in various ways, which means Libya could be a growing point of contention between the incoming US administration and Russia. In any event, the Libyan crisis offers Biden an opportunity to demonstrate to Washington’s traditional Western allies that his administration is determined to reassert US leadership in the world and stand against President Vladimir Putin’s designs for Libya and, by extension, in the Middle East and Africa too. It is unclear, however, whether Biden’s plans for countering Moscow’s hand in Libya will be more rhetorical or strategic, and how far his administration would be ready to escalate US-Russia tensions in relation to Libya.

Categories
Conflict Coronavirus CSS Blog

The Coronavirus in Libya: Halting the Violence to Enable the Fight

Image courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid/Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

Ongoing fighting in Libya and the toll of a decade of almost continual civil war will make it difficult to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Libya. Increased instability as a result of an escalation in fighting not only creates conditions under which transmission of the virus could rapidly accelerate while resources are devoted to dealing with the war-wounded; it also risks Libya once again becoming an important departure point for migrants and refugees as people seek to flee the coronavirus as well as the conflict. European policymakers should grasp the moment to push for a ceasefire, not only to help combat the spread of the virus in Libya but also to pave the way for a return to peace talks.

Categories
Terrorism

Where Do Sahel Terrorists Get Their Heavy Weapons?

Image courtesy of Magharebia/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Institute for Strategic Studies (ISS) on 12 February 2020.

With arms flows from Libya declining, military barracks and poorly controlled national stockpiles are being targeted.

Terror attacks on military outposts in the Liptako-Gourma area where Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet are increasingly ambitious and complex. Their frequency and the damage inflicted on defence and security forces is worrying, and raises questions about where the terror groups are sourcing their heavy weapons.

Categories
Conflict

General Haftar and the Risks of Authoritarian “Stability” in Libya

Image courtesy of jorono/Pixabay.

This article was originally published by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in February 2020.

On 8 January 2020, Turkey and Russia sought to broker a cease-fire between warring factions in Libya, calling on both sides to resume negotiations and end this new phase of the conflict raging since April 2019. While the cease-fire remained a dead letter, with talks moving to the international conference in Berlin, the effort underscored Moscow’s and Ankara’s growing influence in the country, with each actively supporting opposing sides in Libya.

Categories
Conflict

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2020

Image courtesy of Adrian Weale/DVIDS.

This article was originally published by the International Crisis Group on 27 December 2019.

Friends and foes alike no longer know where the United States stands. As Washington overpromises and underdelivers, regional powers are seeking solutions on their own – both through violence and diplomacy.