Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 109, 10 June 2020

Libya: The GNA forces regain control of Tripoli from Haftar
Harini Sha

In the news

The UN-backed GNA forces have successfully pushed Haftar's troops to the pre-April 2019 positions after a month-long campaign against them with the help of Turkish military. The city of Tarhuna was the last stronghold of Haftar troops in the western territories of Libya which was swept by the GNA troops on 5 June, proclaiming the recapture of greater Tripoli area in its entirety. The Libyan based Government of National Accord (GNA) has also taken the control of the Tripoli airport that was overrun by the Libyan National Army last year thereby making significant victories over the week. Earlier this week there were reports of Russia deploying mercenaries in Libyan soil to support the Libyan National Army (LNA) of the renegade commander Khalifa Haftar. The US Africa Command, AFRICOM released images of Russian fighter jets, MiG-29s and Su-24s in Libya and claimed that the jets are sent to provide assistance to Russia's private military contractor, Wagner group in fighting Tripoli-based GNA troops.

Issues at large

First, the international support for the rival troops. The oil-rich state, Libya, plunged into years of conflict since the demise of the popular leader Mummad Gadaffi in 2011. In April 2019 the renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, proclaimed himself as the potential leader to unite Libya and launched an offensive to siege the capital city Tripoli. The Tripoli-based government led by Fayez-al-Sarraj is backed by the UN and the US, Turkey, Italy, and Qatar. However, the Tripoli government is seen as a terrorist supporter by the LNA forces that is based on Tobruk an eastern city which is supported by UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, and Russia. 

Second, the pandemic tilted the stakes towards GNA. In the wake of the pandemic and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan the Haftar troops announced ceasefire and retreated from fighting in the western fronts. Following this, with the combined involvement of the Turkish troops the GNA forces have made significant gains in the conflict and tilted the power in favour of the Tripoli-based government.

In perspective

First, the series of setbacks faced by the LNA troops halted the operation to siege the capital city after the involvement of Turkey in the fighting theatres.

Second, a serious disadvantage to Haftar's forces is that the troops have relied only on foreign aids. The key supporters of Haftar have also released a joint statement for all parties' political talks to resolve issues in Libya. This has further weakened Haftar's ambitions to capture Libya.

Last, Haftar is unlikely to give up his ambition for power in Libya. Though GNA forces have forced the LNA troops to retreat, the force of Haftar also possess capable weapons to resume a fight and hold the largest Libyan territory in compared to the Government of National Accord. Thus, the territorial gains and international pressure for peace talks do not communicate a message of the ending of the conflict. But to sustain as the warlord, Haftar could reconsider his decision to engage in political reformation talks rather than continuing a war.

Harini Sha is a research intern at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) 

October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence

October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem

September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal

January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings

December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar