UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls for a global ceasefire went unheard as aerial bombardments eventuated all around in Tripoli.

The year 2020 has seen a retrogression to the disorder that has inundated Libya since the fall of  Muammar Gadaffi in 2011. The country is overrun with armed groups vying for control of the country's resources.

April 4 marks Libya's third spell of civil was in a decade. Leaders so far have struggled to find a solution. Although various attempts at negotiations have been made, the failure of these has paved the way for foreign interference.

This has effectively turned the conflict into a proxy war. The situation is so shambolic that even poverty-stricken Chad has become a participant.

While the Tripoli government is mainly backed Turkey, Qatar, and Italy, Haftar's government has Egypt, the U.A.E., Russia, Jordan, France and Saudi Arabia as its allies.

Support has come in the form of weapons, funds and foreign mercenaries such as Turkish backed Syrian fighters and forces of the Wagner group.

The core element of the conflict is economics. Libya hosts the largest oil reserves in Africa.

UN resolutions license the National Oil Corporation [NOC] as the only body allowed to mange the country's oil - a monopoly Haftar has been trying to break.   

Meanwhile, civilians are caught in the middle of ongoing contest. There are more than 645,000  migrants, refugees and asylum seekers residing in Libya.

Of these 64% are women and children. The war ravaged country currently functions as a major outpoint for irregular migration from North Africa to Europe.

Since 2106, almost 12,000 asylum seekers driven to the sea in hopes of escaping death have drowned.

To make matters worse, in January 2020, the United Nations Commissioner for refugees [UNHCR] announced that it was suspending its work at Tripoli's Gathering and Departure facility [GDF]  because of apprehensions that the entire area could become a military target.

The Libyan conflict is the region's ignored war. If the present trajectory continues, given the existing  Covid-19 pandemic, the humanitarian cost will catapult, and the flames of instability will engulf a region already submerged in war 

Any solution calls for serious dedication from both the African Union and the Arab League under the leadership of the UN.

This is the only way to rebuild the country's security and ensure the prosperity of the Libyans. If concrete steps are not taken soon, time may run out for a peaceful solution..

The World Students Society thanks author Arhama Siddiqa, Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies. She is also a LUMS and Warwick alumnus.


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