Second Libyan Civil War
  (Redirected from Libyan Civil War (2014–present))
This article is about the civil war that lasted from 2014 to 2020. For the 8-month civil war in 2011, see First Libyan Civil War.
The Second Libyan Civil War was a multi-sided civil war that lasted from 2014 to 2020 in the North African country of Libya fought between different armed groups, mainly the House of Representatives and the Government of National Accord.[114]
Second Libyan Civil War
Part of the Arab Winter, and the Libyan Crisis

Military situation in Libya on 11 June 2020
  Under the control of the House of Representatives and the Libyan National Army
  Under the control of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and different militias forming the Libya Shield Force
  Controlled by local forces
(For a more detailed map, see military situation in the Libyan Civil War)
Date16 May 2014 – 23 October 2020
(6 years, 5 months and 1 week)
  • Permanent ceasefire ratified on 23 October 2020
  • Government of National Unity formed on 10 March 2021[97]
  • As of August 2020 60–70% of the Libyan population lives in areas controlled by the GNA. 30–40% of the Libyan population lives in areas controlled by the HoR or LNA.[98]
Main belligerents
Syrian National Army (since 2019)[55]
 Turkey (since 2020)[56][57][58]
 Sudan (2014–16)[79][60]
 Turkey (2014–16)[80][81]
 Qatar (2014–16)[80][59]
 Iran[82] (allegedly)
(from 2014)[90]
AQIM (2014–2015;[94][95] alleged in 2016[96])
Commanders and leaders
Aguila Saleh Issa
(President of House of Representatives)
Abdullah al-Thani
(Prime Minister)[99]
FMKhalifa Haftar
(High Commander of the LNA)
Gen. Abdulrazek al-Nadoori (Chief of the General Staff of the LNA)
Col. Wanis Abu Khamada
(Commander of Libyan Special Forces)
Brig. Gen. Almabrook Suhban
(Chief of Staff of the Libyan Ground Forces)
Brig. Gen. Saqr Geroushi
(Chief of Staff of the Libyan Air Force) (LNA-aligned)
Adm. Faraj al-Mahdawi
(Chief of Staff of the Libyan Navy) (LNA-aligned)
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi
(Candidate for President of Libya)
Fayez al-Sarraj
(Chairman of the Presidential Council and Prime minister)
Fathi Bashagha
(Minister of Interior)
Salah Eddine al-Namrush
(Minister of Defence)
Gen. Mohammad Ali al-Haddad
(Chief of the General Staff of the Libyan Army)
Abdul Hakim Abu Hawliyeh (Chief of the Libyan Navy) (GNA-aligned)
Col. Rida Issa (Commander of Libyan Navy) (GNA-aligned)
Maj. Gen. Osama Juwaili
(Commander of the Western Military Zone)
Maj. Gen. Abubaker Marwan
(Commander of Tripoli Military Zone)
Maj. Gen. Mohamed Elhadad
(Commander of the Central Military Zone)
Gen. Ali Kanna
(Commander of the Southern Military Zone)
Nouri Abusahmain (2014–16)
(President of the GNC)
Khalifa al-Ghawil (2015–2017)
(Prime Minister)[100]
Sadiq Al-Ghariani
(Grand Mufti)
Abu Khalid al Madani 
(Ansar al-Sharia Leader)[101]
Mokhtar Belmokhtar
(Commander of Al-Mourabitoun, believed dead)[102]
Musa Abu Dawud  (AQIM southern Zone commander)[85]
Mohamed al-Zahawi [103]
(Former Ansar al-Sharia Leader)
Ateyah Al-ShaariDMSC / DPF leader
Wissam Ben Hamid [104]
(Libya Shield 1 Commander)
Salim Derby 
(Commander of Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade)[105]
Abu Nabil al-Anbari  (Top ISIL leader in Libya)[106][107]
Abu Hudhayfah al-Muhajir[108]
(ISIL governor of Wilayat Tripolitania)
Casualties and losses
8,788 killed[109][110][111][112][needs update]
20,000 injured (as of May 2015)[113][needs update]
The General National Congress, based in western Libya and backed by various militias with some support from Qatar and Turkey​,​[115]​[116]​[117]​[118] initially accepted the results of the 2014 election, but rejected them after the Supreme Constitutional Court nullified an amendment regarding the roadmap for Libya's transition and HoR elections.[13] The House of Representatives (or Council of Deputies) is in control of eastern and central Libya and has the loyalty of the Libyan National Army, and has been supported by airstrikes by Egypt and the UAE.[115] Due to controversy about constitutional amendments, HoR refused to take office from GNC in Tripoli,[119] which was controlled by armed Islamist groups from Misrata. Instead, HoR established its parliament in Tobruk, which is controlled by General Haftar's forces. In December 2015, the Libyan Political Agreement[120] was signed after talks in Skhirat, as the result of protracted negotiations between rival political camps based in Tripoli, Tobruk, and elsewhere which agreed to unite as the Government of National Accord. On 30 March 2016, Fayez Sarraj, the head of GNA, arrived in Tripoli and began working from there despite opposition from GNC.[121]
In addition to those three factions, there are: the Islamist Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, led by Ansar al-Sharia, which had the support of the GNC and was defeated in Benghazi in 2017;[122][123][124] the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL's) Libyan provinces;[125] the Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna which expelled ISIL from Derna in July 2015 and was later itself defeated in Derna by the Tobruk government in 2018;[126] as well as other armed groups and militias whose allegiances often change.[115]
In May 2016, GNA and GNC launched a joint offensive to capture areas in and around Sirte from ISIL. This offensive resulted in ISIL losing control of all significant territories previously held in Libya.[127][128] Later in 2016, forces loyal to Khalifa al-Ghawil attempted a coup d'état against Fayez al-Sarraj and the Presidential Council of GNA.[129]
On 23 October 2020, the 5+5 Joint Libyan Military Commission representing the LNA and the GNA reached a "permanent ceasefire agreement in all areas of Libya". The agreement, effective immediately, required that all foreign fighters leave Libya within three months while a joint police force would patrol disputed areas. The first commercial flight between Tripoli and Benghazi took place that same day.[130][131] The war concluded on 24 October 2020.[132] On 10 March 2021, an interim unity government was formed, and is slated to remain in place until the 2021 Libyan general election in December.[97]
Background of discontent with General National Congress
At the beginning of 2014, Libya was governed by the General National Congress (GNC), which won the popular vote in 2012 elections. The GNC was made of two major political groups, the National Forces Alliance (NFC) and the Justice and Construction Party (JCP). The two major groups in parliament had failed to reach political compromises on the larger more important issues that the GNC faced.
Division among these parties, the row over the political isolation law, and a continuous unstable security situation greatly impacted the GNC's ability to deliver real progress towards a new constitution for Libya which was a primary task for this governing body.[133]
The GNC also included members associated with conservative Islamist groups as well as revolutionary groups (thuwwar). Some members of the GNC had a conflict of interest due to associations with militias and were accused of channeling government funds towards armed groups and allowing others to conduct assassinations and kidnappings. Parties holding majority of seats and some holding minority of seats began to use boycotts or threats of boycotts which increased division and suppressed relevant debates by removing them from the congressional agenda;[134] voting to declare sharia law and establishing a special committee to "review all existing laws to guarantee they comply with Islamic law";[135] imposing gender segregation and compulsory hijab at Libyan universities; and refusing to hold new elections when its electoral mandate expired in January 2014[136] until General Khalifa Haftar launched a large-scale military offensive against the Islamists in May 2014, code-named Operation Dignity (Arabic: عملية الكرامة‎‎; 'Amaliyat al-Karamah).[137][138]
Political fragmentation of the GNC
The 2012 elections, overseen by the Libyan electoral commission with the support of the UN Special Mission In Libya (UNSMIL) and nongovernmental organizations like the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), have been considered "fair and free" by most Libyans. However, the elections did not necessarily create a strong government because the Parliament was fragmented due to the lack of organized political parties in Libya post-revolution. The GNC was made up of two major parties, the National Forces Alliance and the Justice and Construction Party, as well as independents in which some were moderates and others conservative Islamists. The GNC became a broad-based congress.[133]
The GNA elected Nouri Abusahmain as president of the GNC in June 2013.[139][140] He was considered an independent Islamist and a compromise candidate acceptable to liberal members of the congress, as he was elected with 96 out of a total of 184 votes by the GNC.[141]
Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room and kidnapping of Ali Zeidan
Main article: Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room
The GNC was challenged due to increasing security concerns in Tripoli. The GNC itself was attacked many times by militias and armed protesters who stormed the GNC assembly hall.[142] Following his appointment, Abusahmain was tasked with providing security. He set up the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR), which was made up of rebels from Gharyan, and was initially intended to protect and secure Tripoli in August 2013. Its commander was Adel Gharyani. During this time, Abusahmain blocked inquiries into the distribution of state funds and it was alleged that Abusahmain was channeling government funding towards the LROR.[141]
In October, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped. It is believed to have been carried out by the LROR,[143] although there is evidence to suggest that armed groups such as the Duru3 actually conducted the kidnapping.[144] Following the kidnapping, Abusahmain used his presidency to change the agenda of the GNC in order to prevent them from disestablishing the LROR. At the same time, he cancelled a request to establish a committee to investigate his allocation of 900 million Libyan Dinars (US$720 million) to the LROR and various other armed groups.[134]
The GNC responded by removing Abusahmain as president and dismissing the LROR from its security function.[145] However, the armed group was allowed to continue to operate, and no one was prosecuted for the incident.
Expansion of armed groups during the GNC's term
Many Libyans blamed the GNC and the interim government for a continued lack of security in the country. The interim government struggled to control well-armed militias and armed groups that established during the revolution. Libyans in Benghazi especially began to witness assassinations and kidnapping and perceived the GNC to be turning a blind eye to the deteriorating security situation in the east.
But security concerns increased across the country, allowing armed groups to expand in Tripoli and the east.
In April 2014, an anti-terrorist training base called "Camp 27", located between Tripoli and the Tunisian border, was taken over by forces fighting under the control of Abd al-Muhsin Al-Libi, also known as Ibrahim Tantoush,[147] a long-serving Al-Qaeda organizer and former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.[148] The Islamist forces at Camp 27 have subsequently been described as part of the Libya Shield Force.[149] The Libya Shield Force was already identified by some observers as linked to al-Qaeda as early as 2012.[150][151]
GNC's political isolation law
Although Islamists were outnumbered by Liberals and Centrists in the GNC, in May 2013 they lobbied for a law "banning virtually everyone who had participated in Gaddafi's government from holding public office". While several Islamist political parties and independents supported the law, as they generally had no associations to the Qaddafi regime, the law enjoyed strong public support. Polls demonstrated that a large majority of the Libyan people supported the exclusion of high-ranking Qaddafi-regime officials.[133]
The law particularly impacts elite expatriates and leaders of liberal parties. There existed reservations that such a law would eliminate technocratic expertise needed in Libya at the time.
Armed militiamen stormed government ministries, shut down the GNC itself and demanded the law's passage. This intimidated the GNC into passing the law in which 164 members approved the bill, with only four abstaining and no member opposing it.[133]
Suppression of women's rights
GNC opponents argue that it was supporting Islamist actions against women. Sadiq Ghariani, the Grand Mufti of Libya, is perceived to be linked closely to Islamist parties. He has issued fatwas ordering Muslims to obey the GNC,[152] and fatwas ordering Muslims to fight against Haftar's forces[153]
In March 2013, Sadiq Ghariani, issued a fatwa against the UN Report on Violence Against Women and Girls. He condemned the UN report for "advocating immorality and indecency in addition to rebelliousness against religion and clear objections to the laws contained in the Quran and Sunnah".[154][155] Soon after the Grand Mufti issued a clarification op-ed that there should be no discrimination between men and women yet women have a greater role in the family.[156]
Later in 2013, lawyer Hamida Al-Hadi Al-Asfar, advocate of women's rights, was abducted, tortured and killed. It is alleged she was targeted for criticising the Grand Mufti's declaration.[157] No arrests were made.
In June 2013, two politicians, Ali Tekbali and Fathi Sager, appeared in court for "insulting Islam" for publishing a cartoon promoting women's rights.[158] Under sharia law they were facing a possible death penalty. The case caused widespread concern although they were eventually acquitted in March 2014. After the GNC was forced to accept new elections, Ali Tekbali was elected to the new House of Representatives.
Protesters stage a large demonstration in Shahat against the GNC's mandate extension plan.[137]
During Nouri Abusahmain's presidency of the GNC and subsequent to GNC's decision to enforce sharia law in December 2013, gender segregation and compulsory hijab were being imposed in Libyan universities from early 2014, provoking strong criticism from Women's Rights groups.
GNC extends its mandate without elections
The GNC failed to stand down at the end of its electoral mandate in January 2014, unilaterally voting on 23 December 2013 to extend its power for at least one year. This caused widespread unease and some protests. Residents of the eastern city of Shahat, along with protesters from Bayda and Sousse, staged a large demonstration, rejecting the GNC's extension plan and demanding the resignation of the congress followed by a peaceful power transition to a legitimate body. They also protested the lack of security, blaming the GNC for failing to build the army and police.[137] Other Libyans rejecting the proposed mandate rallied in Tripoli's Martyrs Square and outside Benghazi's Tibesti Hotel, calling for the freeze of political parties and the re-activation of the country's security system.[159]
On 14 February 2014, General Khalifa Haftar ordered the GNC to dissolve and called for the formation of a caretaker government committee to oversee new elections. However, his actions had little effect on the GNC, which called his actions "an attempted coup" and called Haftar himself "ridiculous" and labelled him an aspiring dictator. The GNC continued to operate as before. No arrests were made. Haftar launched Operation Dignity three months later on 16 May.[160]
House of Representatives versus GNC
On 25 May 2014, about one week after Khalifa Haftar started his Operation Dignity offensive against the General National Congress, that body set 25 June 2014 as the date for new elections.[161] Islamists were defeated, but rejected the results of the election, which saw only an 18% turnout.[162][163] They accused the new House of Representatives parliament of being dominated by supporters of Gaddafi, and they continued to support the old GNC after the Council officially replaced it on 4 August 2014.[115][164]
The conflict escalated on 13 July 2014, when Tripoli's Islamists and Misratan militias launched Operation Libya Dawn to seize Tripoli International Airport, capturing it from the Zintan militia on 23 August. Shortly thereafter, members of the GNC, who had rejected the June election, reconvened as a new General National Congress and voted themselves as replacement of the newly elected House of Representatives, with Tripoli as their political capital, Nouri Abusahmain as president and Omar al-Hasi as prime minister. As a consequence, the majority of the House of Representatives were forced to relocate to Tobruk, aligning themselves with Haftar's forces and eventually nominating him army chief.[165] On 6 November, the supreme court in Tripoli, dominated by the new GNC, declared the House of Representatives dissolved.[166][167] The House of Representatives rejected this ruling as made "under threat".[168]
On 16 January 2015, the Operation Dignity and Operation Libya Dawn factions agreed on a ceasefire.[169] The country was then led by two separate governments, with Tripoli and Misrata controlled by forces loyal to Libya Dawn and the new GNC in Tripoli, while the international community recognized Abdullah al-Thani's government and its parliament in Tobruk.[170] Benghazi remained contested between pro-Haftar forces and radical Islamists.[171]
Opposing forces
The pro-GNC forces were a coalition of different militias with different ideologies although most of them are Islamist influenced especially in eastern Libya in Benghazi and Derna. Since LPA negotiations started in Skhirat there has been a rift within the militias over support for the UN-sponsored talks and the proposed Government of National Accord, which seeks to unite the rival governments.[172]
Since GNA started working from Tripoli in March 2015, Libya Dawn coalition the largest of Pro-GNC militias has been disbanded and most of its forces changed allegiances to GNA.[173]
Libya Dawn
The Islamist "Libya Dawn" has been described as "an uneasy coalition" identified as "terrorists" by the elected parliament in Tobruk[174] including "former al-Qaeda jihadists" who fought against Qaddafi in the 1990s, members of Libya's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a "network of conservative merchants" from Misrata, whose fighters make up "the largest block of Libya Dawn's forces".[175] The coalition was formed in 2014 as a reaction against General Khalifa Haftarfailed coup and to defeat Zintan brigades controlling Tripoli International Airport whose aligned with him.
The Zawia tribe has been allied to Libya Dawn since August 2014,[176] although in June 2014 at least one Zawia army unit had appeared to side with General Haftar, and reports in December claimed Zawia forces were openly considering breaking away from Libya Dawn.[177] Zawia militia have been heavily fighting the Warshefana tribe. In the current conflict, the Warshefana have been strongly identified with the forces fighting against both Libya Dawn and Al Qaeda. Zawia has been involved in a long-standing tribal conflict with the neighbouring Warshefana tribe since 2011.[178] The motivations of the Zawia brigades participation in the war have been described as unrelated to religion and instead deriving foremost from tribal conflict with the Warshafana and secondarily as a result of opposition to the Zintani brigades and General Haftar.[179]
When the head of GNA Fayez Sarraj arrived in Tripoli, Libya Dawn has been disbanded as the interests of the militias forming it conflicted when some of them choose to support GNA others chose to stay loyal to GNC.
Libya Shield
The Libya Shield Force supports the Islamists. Its forces are divided geographically, into the Western Shield, Central Shield and Eastern Shield. Elements of the Libya Shield Force were identified by some observers as linked to Al-Qaeda as early as 2012.[150][151] The term "Libya Shield 1" is used to refer to the Islamist part of the Libya Shield Force in the east of Libya.[180]
In western Libya, the prominent Islamist forces are the Central Shield (of the Libya Shield Force), which consists especially of Misrata units and the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room. Two smaller organizations operating in western Libya are Ignewa Al-Kikly and the "Lions of Monotheism".
Al-Qaeda leader Abd al-Muhsin Al-Libi, also known as Ibrahim Ali Abu Bakr or Ibrahim Tantoush[148] has been active in western Libya, capturing the special forces base called Camp 27 in April 2014 and losing it to anti-Islamist forces in August 2014.[147] The Islamist forces around Camp 27 have been described as both Al-Qaida[147] and as part of the Libya Shield Force.[149] The relationship between Al-Qaeda and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is unclear, and their relationship with other Libyan Islamist groups is unclear. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb are also active in Fezzan, especially in border areas.
Libya western and central Libya Shield force fought alongside Libya Dawn and were disbanded with it in 2015. While the eastern Libya Shield forces merged later with other Islamist militias and formed Revolutionary Shura Council to fight Hafter LNA.
Revolutionary Shura Councils
In Benghazi, the Islamist armed groups have organized themselves into the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. These are:
The Shura Council of Benghazi has been strongly linked with ISIL as they fought together against Hafter in Battle of Benghazi. Yet, the Shura Council never pledged allegiance to ISIL.[172]
Meanwhile, in Derna the main Islamist coalition Shura Council of Mujahideen which was formed in 2014 is an al-Qaeda-affiliated group. The coalition has been in fight with ISIL in 2015 and drove them out from the city.[172]
Ajdabiya had its own Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, which is the most ISIL linked among the three Shura councils. Its leader Muhammad al-Zawi and a number of the council pledging allegiance to ISIL played a major role in strengthening the Islamist group grip on Sirte.[172]
Benghazi Defense Brigades
Benghazi Defense Brigades was formed in June 2016 to defend Benghazi and the Shura Council from the Libyan National Army, the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) included various Libya Dawn militias and was organized under the banner of the former Grand mufti Saddiq Al-Ghariyani.[181][182] Even thought it pledged to support the GNA[182] and apparently working under Mahdi Al-Barghathi, the Defence Minister of the GNA.[183] The GNA never recognized the BDB with some members calling for it to be demarcated as a "terrorist organization".[184]
Amazigh militias
Even though the Amazigh militias mainly situated in Zuwara and Nafusa Mountains fought alongside Libya Dawn, they consider themselves pushed towards that because Zintan brigades and the rest of their enemies has been sided with HoR.[185] Still though, the Amazigh main motivations for fighting against Haftar is his Pan-Arabic ideas which is conflicting with their demands of recognition their language in the constitution as an official language.
While keeping their enmity towards Haftar, the Amazigh militias mostly became neutral later in the war especially since the formation of GNA.
Operation Dignity
The anti-Islamist Operation Dignity forces are built around Haftar's faction of the Libyan National Army, including land, sea and air forces along with supporting local militias.
General Khalifa Haftar
The Libyan National Army, formally known as "Libyan Arab Armed Forces", was gradually formed by General Khalifa Haftar as he fought in what he named Operation Dignity. On 19 May 2014, a number of Libyan military officers announced their support for Gen. Haftar, including officers in an air force base in Tobruk, and others who have occupied a significant portion of the country's oil infrastructure, as well as members of an important militia group in Benghazi. Haftar then managed to gather allies from Bayda, 125 miles east of Benghazi.[186] A minority portion of the Libya Shield Force had been reported to not have joined the Islamist forces, and it is not clear if this means they had joined the LNA forces.[187]
Since then Haftar continued to strengthen his LNA by recruiting new soldiers along with the advancements he made on the ground. In 2017 Haftar said that his forces are now larger by "hundred times" and now they are about 60 thousand soldiers.[188]
Salafist militias
Salafists, called Madkhalis by their enemies, fought alongside Haftar LNA since the beginning against the Islamist militias, especially Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries and ISIL whom they considered Khawarij after a fatwa from Saudi Rabee al-Madkhali.[189]
Zintan brigades
Since the Battle of Tripoli Airport, armed groups associated with Zintan and the surrounding Nafusa region have become prominent. The Airport Security Battalion is recruited in large part from Zintan. The "Zintan Brigades" fall under the leadership of the Zintan Revolutionaries' Military Council.
Wershefana militias
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Wershefana tribal and mainly Gaddafi loyalists armed groups, from the area immediately south and west of Tripoli, have played a big[peacock term] role in Haftar forces west of Libya[clarification needed][further explanation needed] On 5 August 2014, Warshefana forces captured Camp 27, a training base west of Tripoli.[149] Wershefana armed groups have also been involved in a long-standing[peacock term] tribal conflict with the neighbouring Zawia city since 2011.[178] Zawia has allied with Libya Dawn since August 2014,[176] although its commitment to Libya Dawn is reportedly wavering.[177]
After being accused of kidnapping, ransoming and other crimes, a GNA joint force made up mostly from Zintan brigades defeated them[who?] and seized the Wershefana district.[190] Zintan brigades were former allies of Wershefana.
Ethnic tensions
In 2014, a former Gaddafi officer reported to the New York Times that the civil war was now an "ethnic struggle" between Arab tribes (like the Zintanis) against those of Turkish ancestry (like the Misuratis), as well as against Berbers and Circassians.[191]
Libyan oil fields, pipelines, refineries and storage
As of February 2015, damage and disorder from the war has been considerable.[192] There are frequent electric outages, little business activity, and a loss in revenues from oil by 90%.[192] Over 4,000 people have died from the fighting,[109] and some sources claim nearly a third of the country's population has fled to Tunisia as refugees.[192]
Since Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar had captured the ports of Libya's state-run oil company, the National Oil Corporation, in Es Sider and Ra's Lanuf, oil production has risen from 220,000 barrels a day to about 600,000 barrels per day.[193]
The war has prompted a considerable number of the country's sizeable foreign labour force to leave the country as extremist groups such as ISIL have targeted them; prior to the 2011, the Egyptian Ministry of Labour estimated that there were two million Egyptians working in the country yet since the escalation of attacks on Egyptian labourers the Egyptian Foreign Ministry estimates more than 800,000 Egyptians have left the country to return to Egypt.[194]Land mines remain a persistent threat in the country as numerous militias, especially ISIL, have made heavy use of land mines and other hidden explosives; the rapidly changing front lines has meant many of these devices remain in areas out of active combat zones; civilians remain the primary casualties inflicted by land mines with mines alone killing 145 people and wounding another 1,465 according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).[195][196]
In a report, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) revealed that it had registered over 45,600 refugees and asylum seekers in Libya during 2019.[197] The World Food Programme reported that an estimated 435,000 people had been forcibly displaced from their homes during the conflict.[198]
On 22 October 2019, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that children have been suffering from different sorts of malnutrition in the war-torn nations, including Libya.[199]
Executive Director of UNICEF said on 18 January 2020, that thousands of Libyan children were at risk of being killed due to the ongoing conflict in Libya. Since hostile clashes between the Libyan government and Haftar's LNA forces (backed by the UAE and Egypt) have broken out in Tripoli and western Libya, conditions of children and civilians have worsened.[200]
The blockade on Libya's major oil fields and production units by Haftar's forces has sown losses of over $255 million within the six-day period ending 23 January, according to the National Oil Corporation in Libya.[201] The NOC and ENI, which runs Mellitah Oil & Gas in Libya, have suffered a production loss of 155,000 oil barrels per day due to the blockade on production facilities imposed by Haftar's LNA. The entities claim losing revenue of around $9.4mn per day.[202]
Since the beginning of Libyan conflict, thousands of refugees forced to live in detention centres are suffering from mental health problems, especially women and children, who are struggling to confront the deaths of their family members in the war.[203]
On 7 February 2020, the UNHCR reported that the overall number of migrants intercepted by the Libyan coast guard in January surged 121% against the same period in 2019. The ongoing war has turned the country into a huge haven for migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.[204]
On 6 April, an armed group invaded a control station in Shwerif, the Great Man-Made River project, stopped water from being pumped to Tripoli, and threatened the workers. The armed group's move was a way to pressure and force the release of the detained family members. On 10 April 2020, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Libya, Yacoub El Hillo condemned the water supply cutoff as "particularly reprehensible".[205]
On 21 April 2020, the UN took in to consideration the "dramatic increase" of shelling on densely populated areas of Tripoli, and claimed that continuation of war is worsening the humanitarian situation of Libya. The organisation also warned that such activities could possibly lead to war crimes.[206]
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in its first quarter report for 2020 on the civilian casualty in Libya cited that approximately 131 casualties have taken place between 1 January and 31 March 2020. The figures included 64 deaths and 67 injuries, all of which were a result of the ground fighting, bombing and targeted killing led by Khalifa Haftar’s army, the LNA, backed by the United Arab Emirates.[207] [208]
On 5 May 2020, The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, raised concerns over the continuous spree of attacks by Haftar on Tripoli. The prosecutor said that actions endanger lives and warned of possible war crimes due to current affairs. "Of particular concern to my Office are the high numbers of civilian casualties, largely reported to be resulting from airstrikes and shelling operations," she expressed in a statement.[209]
On 10 November 2020, prominent Libyan activist, Hanane al-Barassi, was killed in Benghazi. The 46-year-old Barassi was an outspoken critic of humanitarian abuses committed in the eastern areas controlled by UAE-backed Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). She was known for giving voice to female victims of violence through the videos she posted on social media.[210]
Main article: Timeline of the Second Libyan Civil War
Peace process
Main articles: Libyan peace process and Libyan Political Dialogue Forum
During the first half of 2015, the United Nations facilitated a series of negotiations seeking to bring together the rival governments and warring militias of Libya.[211] A meeting between the rival governments was held at Auberge de Castille in Valletta, Malta on 16 December 2015. On 17 December, delegates from the two governments signed a peace deal backed by the UN in Skhirat, Morocco, although there was opposition to this within both factions.[1][2] The Government of National Accord was formed as a result of this agreement, and its first meeting took place in Tunis on 2 January 2016.[212] On 17 December 2017, general Khalifa Haftar declared the Skhirat agreement void.[213]
A meeting called the Libyan National Conference was planned in Ghadames for organising elections and a peace process in Libya.[214] The conference was prepared over 18 months during 2018 and 2019 and was planned to take place 14–16 April 2019.[215] It was postponed in early April 2019 as a result of the military actions of the 2019 Western Libya offensive.[216]
The Libya Summit in Berlin, Germany on 19 January 2020
In July 2019, Ghassan Salamé, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), proposed a three-point peace plan (a truce during Eid al-Adha, an international meeting of countries implicated in the conflict, and an internal Libyan conference similar to the Libyan National Conference).[217]
In September 2019, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) discussed the need for the PSC to play a greater role in concluding the Libyan crisis, putting forward a proposal to appoint a joint AU-UN envoy to Libya.[218]
Turkish President RT Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin made a joint call for ceasefire, starting 12 January 2020, to end the proxy war in Libya.[219] The ceasefire is said to have been broken hours after its initiation. Both the warring parties – GNA supported by Turkey and LNA backed by Saudi, UAE, Egypt and Jordan – blamed each other for the violence that broke out in Tripoli.[220] Turkey's Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by foreign powers including the UAE, does not want peace and is seeking a military solution to the drawn-out war in the country.[221]
Haftar's forces launched attacks on Abu Gurain province, near the port city of Misurata, Libya's UN-recognized government claimed. The attacks were seen as a violation of cease-fire accord signed at the Berlin Conference.[222] On 12 February, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution demanding a "lasting cease-fire" in Libya. Drafted by Britain, it received 14 votes, while Russia abstained.[223] Around 19 February, the government withdrew from peace talks following rocket attacks on Tripoli.[224]
At the urging of the UN, both sides agreed to a new ceasefire in late March due to the novel coronavirus; however, the ceasefire quickly fell apart. On 24 March shells hit a prison in an area held by the GNA, drawing UN condemnation. The GNA launched a series of "counter-attacks" early on 25 March, in response to what the GNA called "the heaviest bombardments Tripoli has seen".[225] In June 2020, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi brokered an agreement with parties aligned to the Libyan National Army, calling it the Cairo Declaration - However, this was quickly rejected.[226]
On 21 August 2020, Libya's rival authorities announced an immediate ceasefire. The Tripoli-based and internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) published a statement that also calls for elections in March 2021.[227][228]
The United Nations Security Council received a confidential report in September 2020, which provided details of the extensive violations of the international arms embargo on Libya, since the beginning of 2020. The UN identified eight countries breaching embargo. Besides, the United Arab Emirates and Russia were found to have sent five cargo aircraft filled with weapons to Libya on 19 January 2020, when the world leaders were signing a pledge to respect the arms embargo on Libya, at the Berlin conference. Four out of the five cargo airplanes belonged to the UAE.[229]
On 16 September 2020, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told CNN Turk that Turkey and Russia have moved closer to an agreement on a ceasefire and political process in Libya during their latest meetings in Ankara. According to Reuters, Turkey and Russia were the main power brokers in the Libyan war, backing opposing sides. Russia supported the eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar, while Turkey backed Libya's internationally recognised Government of National Accord.[230]
In September 2020, the European Union issued sanctions against two people, who were indirectly or directly engaged in serious human rights abuses. While Benghazi-based Mahmoud al-Werfalli was engaged in violations like killings and executions, Moussa Diab was involved in human trafficking and the kidnapping, raping and killing of migrants and refugees. Three companies, Turkish maritime firm Avrasya Shipping, Jordan-based Med Wave Shipping and a Kazakhstan-based air freight company, Sigma Airlines, were also sanctioned for breaching the UN arms embargo by transferring military material to Libya.[231] Among these, Sigma Airlines was also found involved in the air-borne hard cash shipments for the Khalifa Haftar’s government from the United Arab Emirates, Russia and the United Kingdom, among others. Sigma Airlines was also involved in a bank-note delivery made on 29 January 2019 for the LNA, using a commercial network operating through the UAE, Ukraine, Jordan and Belarus. In approximately $227 million bank note transfers, $91 million came from the UK, $27 million from Russia and $5 million from the UAE, which recorded highest number of transfers among 14 countries that were involved.[232] [233]
On 23 October 2020, the 5+5 Joint Libyan Military Commission representing the LNA and the GNA reached a "permanent ceasefire agreement in all areas of Libya". The agreement, effective immediately, required that all foreign fighters leave Libya within three months while a joint police force would patrol disputed areas. The first commercial flight between Tripoli and Benghazi took place that same day.[130][131] The war concluded on 24 October 2020.[132]
UN-sponsored peace talks failed to establish an interim government by 16 November 2020, although both sides pledged to try again in a week.[234]
Talks by the Advisory Committee of the Libya Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Geneva during 13–16 January 2021 produced a proposal for a procedure for selecting a unified executive authority. On 18 January, 72 of the LPDF members participated in a vote on the proposal. The proposal passed, attaining more than the 63% decision threshold, with 51 voters in favour, 19 against, 2 absentions and 2 absences. The validated electoral procedure involves electoral colleges, support from the West, East and South of Libya, a 60% initial threshold, and a 50% plus one second-round threshold, for positions in the Presidency Council and for the prime ministership.[235][236]
On 19 February 2021, a confidential report by the United Nations revealed that the former CEO of Blackwater, Erik Prince breached the Libyan arms embargo by supporting and supplying weapons to Khalifa Haftar under an operation that cost $80 million. In 2019, Prince deployed foreign mercenaries to eastern Libya, who were armed with gunboats, attack aircraft, and cyberwarfare capabilities. While the report didn’t conclude who funded the mercenary operation, analysts and Western officials asserted that it was most likely the UAE. The report noted that the mercenaries had offices, shell companies, and bank accounts in the Gulf nation.[237]
Domestic reactions
Khalifa Haftar and his supporters describe Operation Dignity as a "correction to the path of the revolution" and a "war on terrorism".[238][239][240] The elected parliament has declared that Haftar's enemies are "terrorists".[174] Opponents of Haftar and the House of Representatives' government in Tripoli claim he is attempting a coup. Omar al-Hasi, the internationally unrecognized Prime Minister of the Libya Dawn-backed Tripoli government, speaking of his allies' actions, has stated that: "This is a correction of the revolution." He has also contended: "Our revolution had fallen into a trap."[241] Dawn commanders claim to be fighting for a "revolutionary" cause rather than for religious or partisan objectives.[242] Islamist militia group Ansar al-Sharia (linked to the 2012 Benghazi attack) has denounced Haftar's campaign as a Western-backed "war on Islam"[243] and has declared the establishment of the "Islamic Emirate of Benghazi".
The National Oil Corporation (NOC) denounced calls to blockade oil fields prior to the Berlin Conference on 19 January 2020, calling it a criminal act. The entity warned to prosecute offenders to the highest degree under Libyan and international law.[244]
Dignitaries from Tripoli, Sahel and Mountain regions in Libya expressed discomposure at the UN envoy's briefing to Libya, Ghassan Salame at the Security Council, for equalizing the aggressors (Haftar's forces backed by UAE and Egypt) and the defender (GNA forces). They said Salame's statements made both the parties equal amid Haftar's offensive in Tripoli and the war crimes committed against civilians, including children.[245]
Foreign reactions, involvement, and evacuations
Neighboring countries
 United Nations – On 27 August 2014, the UN Security Council unanimously approved resolution 2174 (2014), which called for an immediate ceasefire and an inclusive political dialogue.[283] The resolution also threatened to impose sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel bans, against the leaders and supporters of the various militias involved in the fighting, if the individuals threaten either the security of Libya or the political process.[284] The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, expressed his fears of a "full civil war" in Libya, unless the international community finds a political solution for the country's conflict.[285] In 2019, the United Nations reported that Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates had systematically violated the Libyan arms embargo.[286] In February 2020, Libya's Ambassador to the UN, Taher Al-Sunni, emphasized on documenting attacks against civilians, medical personnel and field hospitals in Libya, during his meeting with the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross.[287] Around 2 March 2020, Ghassan Salamé (the UN special envoy to Libya) resigned, citing the failure of powerful nations to meet their recent commitments.[288] In June 2020, UN secretary general, António Guterres condemned and expressed shock at discovering mass graves in a Libyan territory that was formerly captured by the forces of general Khalifa Haftar, backed by the governments of Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Guterres commanded the UN-backed government to ensure identifying the victims, investigate into the cause of death and return the bodies to the respective family.[289] On 25 September 2020, UN diplomats revealed that Russia and China blocked the official release of a report by UN experts on Libya. The report accused the warring parties and their international backers, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, of violating the 2011 UN arms embargo on the war-torn country.[290] The UN identified the Sigma Airlines also known as Sigma Aviation and Air Sigma, a commercial cargo air company from Kazakhstan, as one of the commercial air cargo providers that have violated the arms embargo in Libya.[291] In March 2021, in a new report, UN accused United Arab Emirates, Russia, Egypt, Turkey and Qatar of extensive and blatant violations. The report included photos, diagrams and maps in order to support the accusations.[292][293]
Libya had been awarded the rights to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in association football; however, the tournament was stripped from the country in August 2014, due to concerns over the ongoing conflict.[375]
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Last edited on 9 April 2021, at 19:40
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