War in Libya and its Futures – Potential International Intervention in Context

The possibility of international intervention in Libya looks increasingly likely. Indeed, on 16 February, Egypt officially attacked the Islamic State component in Libya in retaliation against the murder there of twenty-one Egyptian Copts, again used by the Islamic State as yet another brutal psyops video, “A Message signed in Blood to the Nation of the Cross”, depicting their beheading (“Egypt launches air strikes against Islamic State in Libya“, Al Ahram, 16 February 2015; Karasik, “Black Flags over Libya show ISIS is on the warpath“, Al Arabyia News, 16 February 2015). Meanwhile, Italy closed down its embassy and its Defense Minister stated Italy’s readiness “to lead a coalition from Europe and north African states to battle against the advance of Jihadis in Libya”, because “The risk is […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Islamist Forces (2)

In Part I of Libya’s Islamist and Misrata forces, we examined Dawn of Libya forces and the underlying dynamics created by the General National Congress (GNC). In this second post, we shall focus on the state-affiliated Islamist militias in Benghazi, the Salafist militias in Benghazi and Derna – as well as their Islamic State and Al-Qaeda links. In the next post, we shall look at actual and potential international involvement, from the UNSMIL peace talks to countries supporting the GNC and Dawn of Libya. Here, we shall notably address the religious dynamic of the Salafist groups, which are increasingly fundamentally important to note, in Libya – as in the rest of the region and beyond. The Salafi movement, or Salafism, strives for […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Islamist & Misrata forces (1)

With this post of our series on the war in Libya, and the next, we shall examine the pro-Islamist Libyan actors, including Islamist groups, militias from Misrata, the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, and their regional supporters – Qatar and Turkey, after having focused previously on the Nationalist forces and the internationally recognized Council of Representatives in Tobruk (see Nationalist Forces I & Nationalist Forces II). The complexity and lethality of Libya’s civil war is steadily increasing for a host of reasons. As underlined previously (Mitchell, “Features of a War”), the Libyan conflict is not easily categorized. As far as ideological affiliation is concerned, for example, several Islamist militias in Libya hold to a Salafi-jihadist ideology. However, Seth G. Jones […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Nationalist Forces (2)

The civil war in Libya recently became more complex and dangerous, as the jihadist group Majlis Shura Shabab al-Islam (the Islamic Youth Shura Council) announced that the Eastern Libyan city of Derna is now part of the Islamic State (Zelin, October 10, 2014). An Islamic State (IS) foothold in Eastern Libya could pose concerns for international governments already combatting IS in Syria and Iraq. With its border less than 200 miles from Derna, Egypt is particularly concerned as they are already fighting Islamists, notably in the Sinai. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand all the actors on the Libyan battlefield, as we are doing here, if one wants to make sense of the civil war and its international ramifications. The […]

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War in Libya and its Futures: State of Play – Nationalist Forces (1)

With two primary warring alliances and two rival governments, Libya’s civil war is becoming increasingly polarized. The Islamist/Misratan coalition, or Dawn of Libya, which supports the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli, is battling General Haftar and the Nationalist coalition, which supports the Council of Representatives in Tobruk. With this in mind, we shall begin the present state of play with the Nationalist coalition. In this post, we shall specifically evaluate the Petroleum Facilities Guard, the Army of Cyrenaica, the Cyrenaica Protection Force, the Libyan military, al-Saiqa (Special Forces), al-Sawaiq Brigade, and al-Qaqa Brigade. The remaining groups – the Libyan National Army, Zintan Brigades, various tribes and regional forces – shall be presented in the next post. The Council of […]

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Potential Futures for Libya Series – Features of a War

The fall of Muammar Gaddafi and his revolutionary regime in 2011 has ushered in an era of factional violence between city militias, military units, and Islamic and nationalist brigades. According to LibyaBodyCount.org (see detailed bibliographic reference below), 1,741 Libyans have been killed in violent clashes or assassinations from January to September 2014 alone. Although the site’s body […]

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