The Libyan Quagmire

By Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah for Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (March 25):


  • Arab civil wars seem to follow a pre-designed pattern. Once the conflict in a particular Arab country bursts open, the country splits into two areas (sometimes more), with separate capitals and separate ethnicities.
  • Libya is no exception to this rule. Since the overthrow of Libya’s ruler Muammar Qaddafi in October 2011, Libya has fallen into chaos in which armed militias govern their own patch of territory.
  • A multitude of armed groups has emerged since the overthrow of Qaddafi, some of them merging with one another, others fighting for supremacy in defined geographical areas. Three main groups are fighting for control of Libya – militias, government forces, and the Islamic State.
  • Libya is not only a gateway to Europe, but also to three North African states (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) and a clear threat to Egypt. The huge arsenal left by Qaddafi has been looted, and arms have found their way through smuggling networks to Syria, Iraq, Hamas in Gaza and also to Nigeria and most of the Sahel countries.
  • A force of African states has already engaged with terror militias. A force from moderate Arab Sunni states is under discussion.
  • The Islamic State’s infiltration into Tunisia and Algeria could definitely pose a threat to European and U.S. interests. In such a situation the West would be forced to consider a more immediate and aggressive attitude towards the terrorists’ haven in Libya.

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