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.
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.
This week’s featured graphic maps the domestic coalitions in the Libyan conflict and their international supporters. For an insight into UN mediation in Libya, read Lisa Watanabe’s recent CSS Analyses in Security Policy here.
In the field of international relations, a nation’s credibility is often thought to be calculated by evaluating its historical record of following through on threats of punishment issued to adversaries. In contrast, today, the larger challenge to U.S. global credibility arises not from questions about its ability to inflict pain on rivals, but rather from the demonstrated failure of U.S. policymakers to make good on incentives promised to rivals in exchange for constructive changes in their behaviors.
This graphic highlights the uptick in Russia’s engagement in Libya from mid-2014 to the end of 2018. If you want to read more about Russia’s re-emergence as a power broker in the MENA region, see Lisa Watanabe’s chapter in Strategic Trends 2019 here.