Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 117, 24 June 2020

Conflict in Libya Expands: Egypt threatens military action, risks regional clashes with Turkey
Abigail Miriam Fernandez

In the news

On 20 June, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a key supporter of Haftar, threatened to deploy troops to halt an advance by fighters loyal to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. He further ordered the Egyptian army to be ready to carry out missions inside or outside of the country to protect its national security amid tensions over Turkey's intervention in Libya. In response to these statements, the GNA backed military by Turkey stated that Egypt's threat was a hostile act and direct interference, calling it a declaration of war. These statements came on the eve of a virtual meeting of Arab League foreign ministers on Libya, in which the GNA declined to participate. Further, French President Emmanuel Macron launched a furious attack on Turkey's involvement in Libya, accusing them of playing a "dangerous game." Further, Italy, Germany, and the United States have called for a ceasefire and de-escalation of tensions in Libya following a warning by Egypt.

Issues at large

First, the increasing role of Ankara in Libya is seen as a strategic threat. The support received from Turkey will enable the GNA to continue their offensive which will lead to further intensification of their plans to push back Haftar's forces, resulting in weakening his coalition and ensuring that there is no consolidation of Haftar's control especially in the east. Thus, the role of Ankara could potentially change the next phases of the conflict, which has threatened allies of the Haftar camp.

Second, a potential spillover into the already conflict-torn Sahel region. The regional actors on both sides are concerned over the possibility of regional expansion of the conflict that has become a playground for foreign forces. The allies of both camps have raised concern over the spillover effect, which could lead to further instability and terror forces with more leverage in the entire region.

Last, external actors have polarised the conflict. The meddling of external players has deepened the fragmentation and polarisation in Libya. This interference has further complicated diplomacy and mediation, for the external players have prioritized geopolitical benefits over ensuring stability for Libya.  

In perspective

First, Turkey should tread carefully on imposing its new assertiveness for this could result in Haftar's backers giving up on their mission on establishing control over the entire country and instead would focus on consolidating control in the east.

Second, the ongoing war in Libya seems to be heading towards a confrontation between regional powers with Turkey and Egypt becoming more vocal over the crisis in Libya, which could have a larger geopolitical consequence. In this context, the most dangerous risk for Libya is the expansion of the conflict.

Last, the severe opposition that has developed between both domestic and external actors over the country's power struggle will have detrimental effects for the prospects in negotiating a settlement to the conflict. With the conflict at the local level already grim, the involvement of outside actors will further add to the struggle of the country.


Abigail Miriam Fernandez is a Research Assistant at NIAS

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