In recent weeks, the Libyan government, House of Representatives (HoR), and its general, Khalifa Haftar, have been intending to march the troops westward to the Tripoli in order to gain back control over Libyan governance. This movement has been reported to generating more and more casualties. It raises concerns that the Libyan civil war will be scaled up and causing further damage not only to the Libyans but also to the Mediterranean.
The Libyan civil war has been an ongoing development since 2011 when the former leader Muammar al-Qaddafi was overthrown and passed away. It was the struggle of rebuilding governing institutions and stability that caused further divisions and tensions. The conflict is raged by mainly two sides – House of Representatives (HoR) and General National Congress (GNC), both of which have established their own governing bodies fighting against the control over tribal, regional, political and religious lines. Besides from the main two parties, it is also the backing countries behind and the external group, Islamic State, that are raging the Libyan divisions. Hence, the Libyan Civil War is a serious issue of International Security for this region.
(photo credit to: cfr.org)
BACKGROUND AND DEVELOPMENT
Libyan civil war can be traced back to 2011 when the former leader Muammar al-Qaddafi was forced by people who ask for democratic election to cede his governance to Libyan people. Though the authoritative regime collapsed, the elected General National Congress (GNC) in turn was not able to stabilise the national divisions. Other armed groups backed by different foreign countries claimed territory and fought for oil field control even escalated to the whole nation governance.
The House of Representatives (HoR) was elected in 2014 but the controversy remained in its legitimate governance transition and therefore the HoR instead set up the parliament in Tobruk and occupied most eastern Libya with militarily support by General Khalifa Haftar. Further in 2014, General Haftar initiated a campaign, Operation Dignity, to attack the militant coalition group called Libya Dawn. The campaign eventually broke out at the capital, Tripoli, and since then the civil war has started. The HoR, controlled Benghazi and most of eastern Libya, since then has been supported by Egypt and the UAE. The General National Congress (GNC) is backed by different militias including Libya Dawn, Libya Shield and foreign countries such as Qatar, Sudan, Turkey, now controlled the capital Tripoli and most of western Libya. The UN has been assisting talks between both sides but is still struggling to create a stable, unified Libyan government.
As the conflict went on, different militant groups took chance to operate in Libya. Ansar al-Sharia, believed to emerge since 2011, is an armed group which attacked the US consulate in 2012. The Islamic State set up bases in Libya to generate further regional violence and deterring Libya’s unification.
Libyan civil war has been raising concerns about Libyan people’s humanitarian issues, increasing refugee migration to Europe and Libyan worrying economy.
The UN refugee agency estimates that more than 200 thousand of people have been displaced and 1.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Libya. With war conflict carrying on, Libyan people are forced to leave their home and even their country. The UN-recognised Libyan government prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, announced that due to the prolonged Libyan civil war a massive level of migration wave from Libya to Europe is raising its attention to Mediterranean region. France, Italy and Spain have been putting up the border controls and setting up refugee authorities to tackle with refugee migration. At last, Libya is a member of Organization for Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC) and 80% of Libya’s economy used to reply on oil export. With the armed groups fighting over oil fields and deterring the oil production, Libya’s national finance is a future worry.
ICRD stands for international issues of human right and security. The prolonged civil war in Libya has caused Libyan people’s increasing casualties and dissolving safety. Libyan internal division should not be treated as a platform for different militant groups, foreign countries and international authorities to play their power but incapable of facilitating the fundamental human rights for Libyan people.
ICRD therefore mandates the international community to take immediate action on ending the Libya civil war for bringing peace to the country and humanitarian aid to the people.