UNSMIL: Libya is increasingly divided

An LNA combatant in west of Sirte, August 2020 An LNA combatant in west of Sirte, August 2020 REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

29 August 2020

The statements of the United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) show concern about divisions in the country

At the end of August, UNSMIL stressed the need to protect the rights of individuals through representation and rule of law. This call comes at a time of further restrictions on the freedom of expression, assembly and movement throughout the whole country. The United Nations mission also emphasized the increasing brutality with which protests have been recently repressed in Tripoli and the growing tensions in the Sirte region.

Looking at the UN-backed Government in Tripoli, the internal disputes between Prime Minister Sarraj and Interior Minister Bashagha culminated with the latter's dismissal from the cabinet. Bashagha is regarded as the spokesperson of the popular discontent which started the demonstrations and his exclusion has thus aggravated the situation. On the eastern front, General Haftar's Government is fortifying its outposts at the gateway to the country's main oil reservoirs. After besieging the capital for months, the Turkish intervention in the early summer led to the General's retreat to the Sirte region. Simultaneously, anti-Ottoman sentiment has prompted countries such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to increase their support for Haftar, who, bolstered by these new alliances, is strengthening its positions in the region. The result of the current stalemate is that, despite the diplomatic efforts of the United States and Germany for demilitarisation, a growing mobilisation in the area is currently taking place. 

The worsening of the Libyan scenario is leading to a gradual polarisation within the country, making it increasingly difficult to achieve a ceasefire in the short term and a lasting peace in the long run.


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Author: Matteo Consiglio; Editor: Margherita Curti

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