Research studies

Suggested scenarios for settling the Libyan crisis

Prepared by the researcher :  Mohammed abd elmegid hussien – Researcher in African and Middle East affairs – Head of the Economic Studies Department at the Gulf Eye Center – Graduate School of African Studies MA Program in Economics

Democratic Arab Center

Many international and international mediation efforts failed to reach a political settlement to the Libyan crisis that satisfies all parties, the crisis that erupted since the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, and left a sharp division in state institutions among several authorities, the most prominent of which was the transitional government of reconciliation represented by Fayez al-Sarraj ; Which should have handed over power to the democratic process and direct voting in 2017, and the Libyan parliament, with the support of the National Army, represented by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar; Which is opposed by the Islamic parties, tribes of western Libya and the reconciliation forces, and given the importance of this crisis and the blood and capabilities of the Libyan people, and its repercussions on the security and stability of the region. Ali the capabilities of the Libyan people.

First: The settlement efforts from the Skhirat Agreement to the Palermo Conference:

Many countries exerted their efforts to calm the Libyan conflict and reach and eradicate points of disagreement, as the Libyan crisis caused the killing of tens of thousands of Libyans, as well as the deterioration of the economic and security conditions.

  1. Skhirat Agreement

On December 17, 2015, the first agreements for the political settlement of the Libyan crisis were signed; Which aims to form a national unity government to end the war raging in Libya since 2014, and the agreement was signed in the Moroccan city of Skhirat and under the supervision of the United Nations between the parties to the conflict, and as a result the political power in the country was distributed between the parliament elected in 2014 (legislative authority) and the Presidential Council The Government of National Accord (executive authority), along with the Supreme Council of State (advisory(.

But soon the Libyan civil war resumed again, as the agreement stipulated that the mandate of the reconciliation government would be one year only, and in the event that the issuance of the constitution was not completed during its mandate, that mandate would be automatically renewed for one additional year, which prompted some Libyan political factions to question On the extent of the reconciliation government’s seriousness in achieving the political path stipulated by the Skhirat Agreement, in addition, some studies indicate that despite the Skhirat Agreement, militant Islamic groups still controlled the state’s joints in the east and west of the country.

 Accordingly, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced two years after the Skhirat Agreement that he would drop it and the mandate of the Government of National Accord ended in 2017, and the Libyan Parliament announced its withdrawal from the agreement within two hours of Haftar’s announcement, which impeded the path of the political agreement that, upon its signature, constituted an important success in the way of resolving the crisis. At the same time, many international and international organizations rejected what Haftar and the Tobruk Parliament had expressed, and suggested that it was the main reason behind the current worsening situation.

  1. Paris Agreement – Palermo Conference

In Paris, the French presidency announced in May 2018 a “draft joint political declaration between the Libyan parties that would settle the existing conflict,” which was held under the auspices of France and in the presence of international organizations, and some countries that are interested in the course of the Libyan crisis, as well as in the presence of the two parties to the conflict, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and Prime Minister National Accord Fayez Al-Sarraj, Speaker of Parliament, Aqeelah Saleh, and Speaker of State Council Khaled Al-Mishri, in addition to a number of tribal leaders and civil society.

        The Paris Agreement stipulated a proposal for a timetable for the adoption of the constitution, which was suspended in 2017, after some Libyan parties objected to a number of the constitution’s provisions, and stipulated free parliamentary and presidential elections that are subject to international monitoring by 2018, as well as the unification of sovereign institutions.

While the Paris Agreement failed to settle the Libyan crisis, the Palermo conference was held in Italy in November 2018, and its attendance was boycotted by Khalifa Haftar, while the Speaker of Parliament, Agila Saleh, Speaker of the Supreme Council of State Khaled al-Mishri, and Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, attended. The conference recommended the necessity of a ceasefire, holding parliamentary and presidential elections in Libya by the year 2019, unifying economic institutions, on top of which is the Central Bank, and issuing a permanent constitution for the country on which all parties agree.

  1. Reasons for the failure of the settlement efforts in Skhirat-Palermo

The reasons for the failure of political settlement efforts in Libya revolve around the continuation of the deep political division, as the contentious issues in Libya are rooted in the parallel tribal plurality of 140 scattered tribes, and ideological orientations between religious parties and military institutions, as well as more than 1,800 militias, while the negotiating table It does not absorb so many divisions in its accounts, especially with regard to the distribution of wealth and power.

The sharp polarization of regional and international powers also crisised the political situation in Libya, and became a fuel for more division, not harmony, as the French-Italian rivalry – and Arab-Turkish interactions – and Washington and Moscow competing, which was reflected on the negotiating table and the way the conflicting parties dealt with in the rounds of political dialogue.

Second: Recent developments between the diplomatic settlement and the military option:

        The Libyan developments during the recent period witnessed a turning point, due to the increasing size of foreign intervention in the Libyan lands, and its effects on regional and international stakeholders, where the Turkish-Russian competition and military intervention on land and air fueled the Libyan crisis, seeking to search for oil interests and geostrategic concentration, as well as support The two sides of the fighting in Libya are faced by two camps that have opposing foreign policy agendas, namely Turkey, Qatar, the Government of National Accord, and Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the Libyan National Army.

  1. Adoption of the Cairo Declaration 2020:

Many international organizations and related countries indicate that the initiative adopted by the Egyptian leadership in Cairo may play an important role in reaching a political settlement to the conflict in Libya to this day, especially after the Turkish forces’ intervention by land and air in support of the Government of National Accord in exchange for fields Mediterranean gas, maritime border demarcation, and Libyan-Turkish oil contracts, which led to an exacerbation of the situation and an increase in the size of armed groups and mercenaries, and the initiative calls for the necessity of a ceasefire, forcing foreign parties to take out mercenaries, dismantle militias and hand over their weapons, in addition to completing the 5 + 5 Military Committee course in Geneva And to ensure fair representation of all three regions of Libya, in a presidential council elected by the people under the supervision of the United Nations and the competent organizations, as well as ensuring a fair distribution of the state’s economic capabilities to the Libyan people.

  1. Return to the Skhirat Agreement:

Some scenarios indicate that returning to the Skhirat Agreement and the constitution, whose articles were discussed in the agreement, would settle the Libyan crisis, and that it is a cornerstone for the launch of free presidential and parliamentary elections, but this cannot be achieved, as the conflict between the Libyan National Army and the Government of National Accord The national government cannot be settled by referring to a previous one-sided reference that did not fulfill the purpose of its founding, in addition to the fact that this crisis has its origins in a conflict between religious parties and tribal sects that do not want to have a place for political Islam in Libya.

  1. The Federal Proposal

The federal proposal has emerged strongly in recent times, especially after the withdrawal of the “Libyan National Army” from the west of the country. The idea of ​​a Libyan federation is based on dividing the country into three regions (Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripoli). The voices welcoming this proposal have increased not only from outside Libya, but From some Libyan elites, especially in the region of Cyrenaica, which is the same region that advocated this proposition since the end of Gaddafi’s rule in 2011 AD. However, this proposal in the Libyan crisis issue is not welcomed by many Arab and Western countries, and some Libyan organizations and elites, where the fear is that it will polarize The internal and external parties welcoming this proposal wish to divide Libya into states.


Time is always at a disadvantage for countries that suffer internal conflicts, as the economic lag behind the developed countries, and the state’s loss of its human resources and economic capabilities, and therefore there should be a unified Arab-African position that works to settle the Libyan crisis, and the African Union must do Its mandatory mechanisms to stop such conflicts, and to prevent foreign efforts from compromising the continent’s capabilities, while the Government of National Accord welcomed in August 2020 the ceasefire, and considered the Sirte and Jufrah regions demilitarized areas, and suggested returning to the dialogue table, which is what the Cairo 2020 initiative has produced. The Arab and African countries should support this path and obligate foreign countries to leave the Libyan territories, and take all diplomatic means for that.

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