Analytical papers

The impact of international intervention on the Libyan conflict in the post-Gaddafi period

Mr. Abdul Raouf Al-Jaroushi

Master in Conflict Management and Humanitarian Action, Libya


This article argues that international intervention played a key role in strengthening the presence of the parties in the field, which contributed to the prolongation of the Libyan conflict. however, This intervention does not necessarily mean that it was the direct cause of the prolongation of the Libyan conflict. So, The countries of the region have expressed different interests related to the Libyan conflict. Such as the Egyptian and Emirati interests that aligned with the political parties in the east led by Haftar’s forces in light of the ideological consensus in their hostility to political Islam. Conversely, The interests of Qatar and Turkey with the political parties in the West and political Islam contributed to supporting these parties.

Therefore, The international intervention in the Libyan conflict did not take a unified position, whether it was supportive of the state of conflict or peace. As the dispersion of international support between the conflicting parties led to an imbalance of power to settle the conflict, Contrary to the unified international intervention that overthrew the Gaddafi regime in 2011. Accordingly, The Libyan case supports the theoretical argument that emphasizes the influence of the trend of support over the age of internal conflicts. Whether this support is unified as it happened in the civil war against Gaddafi, Or a competitor, as happened in the post-Skhirat period.

introduction :

The literature indicates that the intervention of external states in many cases contributes to making resolving conflicts more difficult. When looking at the costs associated with violent conflict, one of the important challenges is to explain why the conflicting parties prefer the continuation of the fighting over going to a negotiated settlement and achieving peace [1]. In general, foreign intervention plays an influential role on the duration of civil wars. On the one hand, it affects the shortening of the civil war whenever the interventionists favor one side or the other. On the other hand, it contributes to prolonging the fighting whenever foreign countries support the competing fighters [2]. On the other hand, the duration of the civil war is determined mainly by the ability of the conflicting parties to remain intact, preserve themselves, and avoid military defeat. Here, international intervention plays an important role in strengthening the capabilities of its local allies. [3] From another perspective, reaching a peace agreement contributes to reducing the duration of civil wars, which may not be in the interests of the external parties. Therefore, the literature refers to the concept of an external spoiler for whom peace constitutes a threat to its interests, as it works to spoil the negotiation processes by broadcasting its goals through his local allies [4].

When looking at the Libyan situation, we find that it is remarkable that the conflict has continued for eight years without real peace being reached, although the country has witnessed many international mediations to negotiate between the parties to the conflict, perhaps the most prominent of which is the Skhirat Agreement, which changed the political scene, but there are repeated accusations of external interference to bias the mediators. .[5] At the same time, allegations of external interference were not limited to obstructing peace efforts, but rather went beyond that in providing support to various local parties, specifically military support, which was noticeable by the presence of foreign fighters and mercenaries in various areas within the Libyan borders. [6] What helped in this was the absence of a central entity in the state, which contributed to reducing its sovereignty over its geographical borders, and was directly reflected in attracting international interests to invest in the internal conflict.

From this point of view, the external factor played an important role in the Libyan conflict. In addition, the long period of conflict in Libya calls for an attempt to understand the factors that contributed to this. Therefore, in this study, we will try to understand how the external factor affects the prolongation of the conflict. Here we will focus on understanding the motives of foreign countries to invest in the conflict. With an understanding of how these countries and their interventions influence the extension of the civil conflict, By focusing on two aspects: military support, and spoiling peace processes.

This study attempts to answer the following question: How did the international intervention affect the extension of the conflict in post-Gaddafi Libya? To answer this question, the study will use the theory of domestic destabilization to understand the motives of external parties. The theory of competitive interventions will also be used, which explains how the intervention affects the extension of civil conflict. With a review of the literature that dealt with the role of international intervention in prolonging conflicts. The study will depend on the qualitative methodology of analysis by linking theories and literature to the case study that will be discussed.

I. Theoretical framework and literature review:

1- The theory of local destabilization:

Before delving deeper into understanding how international interventions affect the extension of conflicts, It is necessary to understand the motives that motivate the state to intervene in a civil conflict in a country, Here, the theory of local destabilization contributes to explaining this aspect. When analyzing foreign policy, it is incorrect to look only at the interest of the intervening country. However, the interests of the target country often play a role in the decision to intervene [7]. Conversely, The norms of the international system provide a permissive environment for shaping the interests of states and developing policies to implement them. Since every country has interests, This also raises the possibility of a conflict of interests between any of these two countries. And when there is an acute conflict of interest between two states, No country will necessarily give up its own interests[8].

The theory of local destabilization was associated with literature that studied the history of American relations with socialist countries. particularly in the Caribbean, Which formed a severe ideological conflict of interests with the American perspective [9]. Here, the theory provides its explanation. Where she explains these foreign policies as one way to solve the problem of conflicts of interest between countries, It is often the intense conflict of interest that underlies the abandonment of other forms of diplomatic pressure and the adoption of destabilization as a means of achieving the country’s foreign policy objectives. Therefore, the mere existence of an extreme conflict of interest is enough to cause policy makers in one country to seek to overthrow the political leadership of another[10] . Conflict of interests can be categorized into three main types: security, economic, and ideological conflicts of interest between the target state and the status quo state.[11] .

In addition, The theory provides an explanation for this type of foreign policy, which aims to deliberately interfere in a country in indirect ways, Foreign and domestic actors include, that work together for the purpose of creating local instability[12]. The main objective of the policy of destabilization is to create conditions that will induce society to change its political leadership[13]. Where this goal is achieved by creating and exacerbating economic, political and military tensions within the target country, with the aim of dividing and weakening the target government and changing the balance of power within the target country in favor of parties from the internal opposition.[14].

Briefly, The conflict of interests between the target state and the status quo state motivates the adoption of policies to destabilize local stability. whose impact is significantly reflected in the reinforcement of the conflict between the parties, In order to deepen our understanding of how foreign intervention relates to the duration of the conflict, we can use the theory of competitive interventions.

2- The theory of competitive interventions:

The literature indicates that there is strong evidence linking external interventions to prolonging civil conflict. And that regardless of whether it was in the form of direct military intervention, or military aid, or economic assistance, or penalties, or whether they are designed to be neutral or in favor of the government or the opposition[15] One of the important factors determining the duration of the conflict is the military capabilities of the conflicting parties, which are linked to their supply of resources, which will be depleted during the course of the civil war, and therefore, to continue, they must have the ability to renew their stocks.[16] Here, external resources play a significant role in increasing the military capabilities of the recipient and improving his ability to survive, as the more the conflicting parties have two or more foreign sponsors, the more their ability to continue fighting until the end of the civil war is fourfold.[17]. Therefore, in order to understand how external financing contributes to the extension of the conflict, the theory of competitive interventions provides an explanation for this.

The theory of competitive interventions attempts to understand the competitive intervention by international parties in the arena of civil war and relate it to the competing dynamics between states. Where it interprets this as a set of opposing and simultaneous transfers of military assistance from various outside countries, To each of the combatants of the parties involved in the civil war, They are competitive insofar as they are attempts by third-party states to secure their competing interests through local fighting forces. This is to influence the balance of power between the conflicting parties[18] . Competitive interference influences the duration of conflict in three ways[19] ,Which:

Firstly, Competitive intervention delays the convergence of local combatants’ expectations by lowering the expected costs of war. Where external resources support the ongoing war effort by providing weapons, funds, and additional equipment, Thus freeing combatants from the constraints of local resources. On the other hand, this affects the reduction in combat costs. which is directly reflected in the increase in the relative value of combatants for war over peace, Through continued support for the fight in favor of negotiations.

secondly, Competitive intervention encourages the continuation of the fight by balancing the capabilities of the combatants, As the relationships between abilities shift toward parity, Uncertainty about the likely outcome of battlefield clashes increases, The combatants are thus strongly incentivized to deflect them to secure more favorable terms. And therefore, Civil war fighters must fight extra battles to get information, Referring to the ability and determination of the other party. Briefly, The state of equivalence generates uncertainty among the parties. Which leads to prolongation of the conflict by increasing the relative value of the fight.

Third, Competitive interference complicates the bargaining process by increasing information asymmetry. The inability to fully monitor the extent and quality of foreign aid impedes combatants’ efforts to assess their adversary’s capabilities. Even in cases where outside aid can be fully observed, Uncertainty about an adversary’s ability to effectively deploy capabilities provided, exploit military technology, or implement strategy complicates estimates of the probability of victory. Here the uncertainty of differing expectations about relative power and torque is reinforced. Which increases the relative value of combat.

3- Understanding external interference and its role in extending conflict and spoiling peace:

External support for combatants can affect the costs of continuing the war. This is because the growth of the rebel forces affects the facilitation of mobilization and recruitment, This will increase the expected duration of the war[20] , For this, External intervention can be understood as the unilateral intervention of a third party government or governments in a civil war, and in the form of military aid, or economic, or mixed, for the benefit of the parties involved in the war[21] . On the other hand, civil war has the potential to attract international attention, as violent conflicts are more likely to attract foreign interventions than non-violent ones.[22] attention is focused more on the large-scale local conflict, Which may lead to major changes in the infrastructure of the state[23] .

External interference contributes to the continuation of civil wars by injecting foreign parties with strange goals in an ongoing conflict. Where foreign countries often intervene to achieve independent goals in the war outside the goals of local combatants, Thus, it supports the struggle to achieve those goals. It is not necessarily to help one side win or to help resolve the conflict at hand[24] . The introduction of such independent objectives makes it difficult to end the fighting, because there is an additional actor that must be defeated militarily or an agreement to end the war agreed upon, so outside intervention can be expected to accompany longer civil wars.[25] .

From this perspective, The number of intervening countries prolongs the life of the conflict through the priorities and aspirations of those countries tending to clash with each other. as well as with the priorities and aspirations of local actors, Which makes a mutually acceptable solution even more elusive[26]. Therefore, civil wars with multi-state interventions, in which there is a high degree of competition between the actors, a high level of fluidity, and uncertainty in the relations between the intervening parties and local actors, will take longer to resolve than wars subjected to one-state intervention.[27]. The multiple aspirations of the external parties work to obstruct the peace processes, making them powerless in the face of the various interests of the external parties, for which any peace agreement may pose a threat to their interests, especially after investing them in financing the conflict.

When the interests of the parties conflict with the peace agreement, it stimulates the emergence of peace spoilers. who actively seek to impede, delay or undermine the settlement of conflicts, through a variety of means, to pursue different interests[28]. These parties or groups are either inside or outside the peace process. Actors outside the country of conflict can spoil the settlement of the conflict by aiding local spoilers. Sometimes, the external spoilers form the backbone of some of the internal spoilers, by pushing their own interests and linking them to the interests of the internal spoilers who also achieve their desired goals.[29] In other words, External interventions influence the decisions, expectations and actions of their ally in wartime. This influence gives them the opportunity to motivate their local allies to comply with the peace agreement. Or they can motivate them to back out of the agreement by increasing the potential benefits of defection[30] .

An important factor in understanding the motives of the outside spoilers is the insecurity about what will happen to them after the negotiations[31]. A peace agreement introduces a new status quo, often with a new administration, and a new order for a post-conflict state, and that would lead to major changes in public policy during the transitional period after the agreement.[32] The matter that determines the extent to which the intervening parties support the new status quo is based on their level of satisfaction with it. Satisfaction means pushing the allies towards a commitment to maintaining this situation, while dissatisfaction will push policies towards destabilizing the new status quo.[33]. In short, the level of satisfaction of the intervening countries with the new status quo after the agreement reflects their willingness to help their ally either break the peace agreement, or push in the opposite direction towards maintaining the peace.

Second – Post-Gaddafi Libya: Legitimacy struggle:

Understanding the influence of the external factor on the extension of the Libyan conflict basically requires an understanding of the internal events that led to this point. What is remarkable about the Libyan case is that it was the first case in which military intervention was applied to protect civilians. For this, The external intervention in Libya was not limited to the post-Gaddafi period. Rather, during the period of the first civil war, the state witnessed direct military intervention for the first time. This intervention derived its legitimacy from the Security Council under the principle of the responsibility to protect[34]. It occurs when a country cannot protect its citizens either because it is unable or unwilling to do so[35]This is what was invoked in the Libyan case. The intervention was led by NATO forces after being mandated by the Security Council, as their approach was to protect civilians by providing military support to the rebel forces.[36]. Accordingly, the unified international support towards the rebel side led to the breaking of the military balance of power, which culminated in the military resolution of the conflict in favor of the rebel forces, raising many questions about the extent of this principle’s violation of the state’s sovereignty, especially since the countries that pushed for the intervention had interests in the fall of the regime. Gaddafi[37].

After the armed conflict, many challenges emerged for the new political leadership. politically, The most important challenge was the lack of political experience of the parties participating in the first legislative elections of the state. This is due to the legacy of Gaddafi and his philosophy, which did not believe in political parties.[38] And his monopoly of sovereign positions, and his use as a tool to satisfy the tribal leaders.[39] As for the security sector, it was almost collapsed. This is due to two important factors: the proliferation of weapons beyond state control, The number of armed groups increased. These factors played an important role in threatening security stability. As its repercussions led to the emergence of repeated waves of assassinations, The bombing of the American embassy and the killing of the American ambassador, Kidnap the head of the provisional government, And storming the headquarters of the Legislative Council.

State power falters in its ability to monopolize the means of violence. creating a fertile ground for the return of civil war again, This is less than three years after the fall of Gaddafi. politically, The legislatures were leading this struggle, specifically between the House of Representatives in the East, and the General National Congress in the West, The main issue revolved around who had the right to rule the state[40]. Nevertheless, the parties tried to resolve the conflict internally by resorting to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, which ruled to annul Paragraph 11 of Article 30 of the Constitutional Declaration to establish the House of Representatives. However, the judicial decision was not accepted by Parliament, and as a result, the political division continued.[41].

The repercussions of this division were reflected in the form of armed conflict. Where the political parties derive their influence through the two most prominent military operations; Operation Dignity led by Khalifa Haftar, which was expressing an anti-Islamic philosophy, On the other hand, Operation Dawn Libya, led by the General National Congress, who once again expressed a philosophy hostile to the militarization of the state, Especially since Haftar’s scenario is similar to what Sisi did in Egypt[42] .

The overthrow of Gaddafi contributed to the establishment of the idea that conflicts can only be resolved militarily. Despite this, neither side was able to gain the upper hand militarily or politically. To create a political stalemate, he opened the way for international mediation. The international intervention contributed to reaching an agreement that would end the state of division. and redistribute power between the parties, On the one hand, it gave the House of Representatives legitimacy the functions of the main legislative body, On the other hand, it gave the General National Congress a new role represented in the State Council, which participates in the appointment of sovereign positions. and some constitutional rules[43] . In addition, the Skhirat Agreement produced an internationally recognized interim government, the “Government of National Accord,” which works to reform state institutions during the transitional period, and helps facilitate the way for parliamentary and presidential elections.[44] .

The Government of National Accord started its work from Tripoli in the west. where I faced a series of complex crises, The most important of which was represented in gaining the confidence of the House of Representatives. who, for his part, did not give confidence to the government, Rather, he commissioned a second government that began its work in the east of the country. Thus, Parliament created a parallel government with parallel institutions. To reflect the extent of the fragility of the Skhirat Agreement, who did not even succeed in his primary concern, “the division of power.”[45]. The agreement received its latest shocks after Khalifa Haftar declared war on Tripoli, in which he confirmed that the Skhirat Agreement had become part of the past, to ignite the civil war again, which ended with the victory of the National Accord Government.[46]. In short, post-Gaddafi Libya witnessed many challenges that the political leadership could not deal with, and its greatest focus was on who rules, so the state of political division was attractive to external parties, who played an important role in influencing their local allies.

Third – The impact of international intervention on the extension of the Libyan conflict:

1- The motives of the external parties in the context of the Libyan conflict:

Post-Gaddafi, Libya witnessed the interest of many international parties. especially because of its huge economic resources, And a distinctive geographical location linking the African and European continents, Also with the change of political leadership in Libya, The emergence of new parties, most notably political Islam and the military movement. This matter created a kind of conflict of interest between the political leaderships, whether in eastern or western Libya, with the international parties. And as indicated by the theory of local destabilization, the severe conflict of interests, particularly the ideological ones, plays an important role as a driver of the foreign policies of states in adopting policies that threaten the stability of the local regions of those political leaderships. And because the various countries that intervened, the focus will be on the motives of the parties that had a significant impact on the extension of the conflict.

Egypt is considered one of the most important countries that have interests with Libya. These interests are based on two important aspects: economic and security. However, the presence of Haftar in the Libyan conflict equation gave a new ideological dimension. economically, The Egyptian economy was affected after the Arab Spring. The Libyan civil war in 2011 contributed to this. that affected Egyptian labor in Libya, Those who number two million workers contribute $33 million in financial transfers annually.[47] on the other hand, Libya has extensive investments in various sectors of the Egyptian economy. worth billions of dollars, In addition, the interim government in Libya in 2013 pumped nearly two billion dollars into Egyptian banks to revive the Egyptian economy.[48] Finally, the value of the oil resources that the state owns in Libya and its high revenues would be an ideal choice for Cairo from the Gulf states.

in terms of security, The common border between the two countries is a source of concern for the Egyptian state. Specifically, the weapons and fighters leaking out of Libya have been linked to supporting jihadist movements in Sinai[49]The security threat is represented in the possibility of turning the eastern border into a safe port for movement to Egypt, in addition to the fact that both countries have extremist terrorist organizations, and this leads to easy communication and funding for these organizations.[50]. What reinforced this was the threat that Egypt received in the incident of killing Copts, which led to the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts by the Islamic State in 2015.[51] However, Haftar’s close presence in eastern Libya gave Egypt an opportunity to protect its various interests, as the military ideology hostile to the rising political Islam played an important role in directing Egyptian interests, especially since Sisi, in turn, rose to power in Egypt through a similar path, as it was for the two. Political Islam is an existential threat to them[52].

The idea of ​​anti-political Islam was not exclusive to the ideology of Sisi and Haftar. Rather, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were its most prominent supporters. After the rise of the Islamic movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood in most Arab Spring countries, including Libya, This challenged the authorities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. There is a severe conflict of interests between those countries and the parties of political Islam.[53] On the one hand, Saudi Arabia I tried to create a parallel Islamic current based on providing loyalty to the ruler. Which is known as Madkhali Salafism, which spread widely after the rise of Haftar in Libya[54] . On the other hand, the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia united their efforts in combating the Muslim Brotherhood, and were pushing to classify them as a terrorist organization.[55] Which was reflected significantly in the Libyan conflict, Haftar relied on him in his coup against the Legislative Council in the West, which contained a majority of political Islam.

Although anti-political Islam is a common goal between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, However, Emirati interests go beyond that. It is trying to enhance its presence in the region by reducing conflicts of interest with the countries of the region. For this, The UAE is trying, by supporting Haftar, to replicate the Egyptian experience that it supported under the leadership of Sisi. Thus, it is trying to support a figure who maintains its agenda through its commitment to subservience to it. which reduces the conflict of interest with it, This is what happened with Egypt during the Sisi era[56] .

on the other hand, Libya as a country possesses enormous natural resources with a long coastline and many ports that open to the European continent, All of this increases the attractiveness of intervention and investment in it. Especially since the UAE has an obsession with seaports, This is confirmed by its intervention in the State of Yemen. and its acquisition of the areas of its seaports,[57] In addition to what it is doing in Sudan by acquiring gold mining areas[58] .

in the other direction, There was a current supporting political Islam led by Türkiye and Qatar. Which made the two countries the most prominent supporters of the General National Congress and the political leadership in western Libya. From the country side, The Arab Spring opened the way for the state to play broad regional roles. The wager was on the rise of the Islamic trend in most Arab countries, particularly in Libya. Which represented their success in reaching the General National Congress[59]. However, Qatar has a good long-term relationship with political Islam, as it granted refuge to the Muslim Brotherhood coming from Egypt in the fifties and sixties, after their problems with Gamal Abdel Nasser, in addition to the fact that the organization, on the other hand, did not create direct hostilities with the Qatari regime that threatens the legitimacy of the regime, unlike The case in the UAE and Egypt[60].

As for the Turkish perspective, He believes that the rise of political Islam in the region will create important regional alliances, particularly in Libya. Especially since the ruling party in Turkey represents a clear orientation to political Islam. Which created ideological harmony with his allies in the Libyan West. Similar to what happened between Sisi and Haftar. However, Turkish motives are not limited to this aspect. Rather, it has broad economic interests in Libya that are no less important than Egypt. Especially after the economic crisis that Türkiye went through in 2017[61] . This is supported by the fact that during the civil war against Gaddafi, Turkey hesitated to support the rebels, fearing for its economic investments, which amounted to about $10 billion in trade exchange.[62]. On the other hand, Turkey tried to enhance trade exchange and investments in Libya, which motivated it more by exploiting its good relationship with the Government of National Accord in the West, in addition to exploiting the state of weakness after Haftar’s attack on Tripoli, which culminated in its signing of two agreements, namely; The maritime border demarcation agreement, which was built on the philosophy of the blue homeland of the Turkish Admiral Cim Gürdeniz, through which he affirms that ensuring freedom of navigation is a top priority for national security for the establishment of Turkey.[63] The second agreement is a military agreement. Through which Türkiye provides military support to maintain security and protect the sovereignty of Libya, This is done by strengthening the capabilities of the Government of National Accord in the West[64] .

2- The role of international intervention in extending the Libyan conflict:

A case of conflict of interest that has arisen between regional states with local parties, Especially on the ideological level, it motivated the international parties to provide support to the various conflicting parties in the Libyan conflict. Specifically, the military support that strengthened the internal balance of power. In addition to the attempt of some external parties to spoil the peace process. In terms of arming, Although Libya is still under an international arms embargo, However, this did not prevent foreign countries from providing their allies with military equipment. In eastern Libya, The Egyptian-Libyan border formed a crossing point for financing Haftar’s forces in the east. Which was receiving various military equipment from the UAE[65] The Egyptian-Emirati cooperation played a major role in providing Haftar’s forces with support in most of the wars he faced, the most prominent of which was against Tripoli in 2019. Support is not limited to military equipment, but an Emirati air base was established in the east.[66]It participates as an air cover in times of war, and the total Emirati spending is no less than $100 million on the weapons it provided to Haftar between 2014-2020.[67].

on the opposite side, Türkiye tried to restore the balance between the conflicting powers by supporting the Western forces. Where it provided military financing to the fighters of Operation Dawn of Libya[68]. And it did not stop at that, after the balance tilted towards Haftar’s forces in the Tripoli war, who almost controlled the most important city in western Libya, Turkey intervened to restore the balance of power between the parties through the military cooperation agreement.[69], thereby reducing Haftar’s ability to resolve the conflict militarily. The military cooperation agreement significantly contributed to changing the balance of field forces, as it provided huge military equipment support to the Government of National Accord, in addition to its use of two warships as an air base through which it launches attacks in support of the Government of National Accord forces.[70].

Based on the foregoing, we find that external intervention played an important role in strengthening local forces. Since this intervention is competitive, the dispersion of this support among the internal parties contributed to creating a state of balance of power between them. None of them preferred to resolve the conflict. Although Haftar was on the verge of ending it more than once, However, this fails due to the supportive intervention of the opposite party that adjusts the balance of power.

Military funding for the parties to the conflict has taken dangerous proportions. This is after the international parties sought the assistance of foreign fighting forces. support the different parties in the fighting, Where these forces were represented in three forces, which are the Wagner forces, janjaweed forces, Turkish forces (the Free Syrian Army). beginning with the Wagner forces which, despite being Russian, However, its entry into the Libyan conflict was through the UAE. Which financed their presence as supporters of Haftar’s forces[71]And what distinguishes the Wagner forces present in Libya is that they are not direct combat forces, but rather they are forces of a logistical nature, working to provide technical and tactical support to the fighters, drawing strategic plans for fighting, in addition to military intelligence work, this role in particular plays an important factor in the survival of the forces continuing the war[72]. As for the Janjaweed forces, which were also employed by the UAE to strengthen the combat ranks of Haftar’s forces, they participated with him in many wars, as nearly 3,000 fighters were contracted, most of whom participate in direct combat.[73]. Finally, the Turkish government has sent forces affiliated with the Turkish army based on the military cooperation agreement with the Government of National Accord, and it is interesting that most of the composition of these forces are of Syrian origin.[74].

Military support for the parties to the conflict created a state of balance that none of the local parties could break. This was reflected significantly on the prolongation of the conflict, But the international parties did not stop there. Rather, it had policies that contributed to spoiling the local peace process. On the one hand, Haftar represented to parties such as the UAE and Egypt the role of the internal spoiler of any peace process. Military support can be understood from this perspective as giving opportunity to conflict in return for peace. This option emerged clearly in 2019 when all Libyan parties decided to meet in a comprehensive national dialogue. However, a few weeks before the start of the dialogue, Haftar announced a military operation against Tripoli[75] . Haftar’s behavior as a spoiler of peace was clear. At the start of the war on Tripoli, he stated that the Skhirat Agreement had become a part of the past, and that his operation against Tripoli was based on the premise of liberating the state from terrorism.[76] , For this, His movements were always linked to his use of terrorism to justify his military operations. Which is based on the argument of the tripartite axis Egypt, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia that political Islam are terrorist movements, Although she does not directly bear arms, This argument supported Haftar as a spoiler of peace. turn the conflict into a zero-sum conflict, His existence as a party is conditionally linked to their absence.

In addition, The UAE often claims to be supportive of political negotiations in Libya. However, her policies were the opposite. They did not respect the negotiation process. It tried to influence the UN mediation that was leading the negotiations of the Skhirat Agreement[77]. Although the United Nations, as a third party, tried to resolve the political dispute between the General National Congress and the House of Representatives in 2015, there were many questions about the behavior of its envoy, Bernardino Leon, who was leading the negotiations, as he was linked to contacts with Emirati parties to whom he leaked information from the negotiations. In return, he obtains the management of one of the diplomatic colleges in the Emirates[78]. However, although the agreement reached the end and was signed by the parties, the result was not liked by the Egyptian-Emirati-Saudi tripartite axis, and this was clearly reflected in their policies that were racist towards the reconciliation government emanating from the agreement, through their preference for the interim government emanating from the mandate of the House of Representatives in the east. The internationally recognized Government of National Accord[79] Here, the international parties did not reflect their commitment to support peace in Libya by respecting the agreement. Rather, they were insisting on achieving their interests, regardless of the fact that this might increase the duration of the conflict.

Conclusion :

As an answer to the question raised at the beginning of the study, we find that the theory of local destabilization gave an analytical dimension in understanding the motives of the various international parties. As put forward in the theory of the role of the conflict of interest factor, Which requires countries to interfere in the affairs of the state of the current situation in order to overthrow the political leadership in it, We find that this was evident in the agendas of the tripartite axis in Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. which formed a whole alliance that expresses a current hostile to political Islam, who rose to the political ladder in the post-Arab Spring period, And he was leading the political scene specifically in western Libya. In return, Turkey and Qatar posed the rise of the military current as a threat to their interests. Specifically, Türkiye, which has huge economic interests in Libya. It was threatened by the rise of Haftar in the Libyan political scene. And his inclinations are more towards the axis of the Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Here it can be said, That the conflict of interests is not necessarily with the local leadership directly, Rather, the conflict of interests may express differences with the allies of that leadership with the regional states. whose conflict constituted a severe conflict of interest with the local allies.

Understanding the external drivers contributed to understanding the nature of competitive interference between the various external parties. In contrast, competitive intervention theory provides an understanding of how this affects the duration of conflict. By the fact that this competing support creates a state of balance of power that contributes to the extension of the conflict. This is what we find evident in the competing military support by the UAE, Egypt and Turkey to the competing parties. Despite the fact that the conflict was almost resolved militarily more than once, However, this collapses when a state intervenes to adjust the balance between the parties. This is unlike what happened in the first intervention in the civil war against Gaddafi. which helped significantly in resolving the conflict in a short period, Because of the unified support for the rebel party. Conversely, The extension of the conflict in Libya was not only through military support. Rather, the operations to spoil the peace contributed to that. Which, as described in the literature, is to inject targets into the local parties to spoil peace. Which was reflected in the role of Haftar on the field, In addition to biasing international mediation, Failure to respect the Skhirat Agreement and its outputs.

Briefly, International parties, through their intervention in Libya, have reinforced the state of Libyan domestic instability, whether through military support or spoiling the peace. However, Here we cannot say that the direct goal of the international parties is to prolong the conflict in Libya. On the contrary, it is clear that these countries’ foreign policies stem from a conflict of interests between them and the various local leaderships, whether in eastern or western Libya. so, It contributed to the extension of the conflict by providing support regardless of the desire of those parties to create a long-term conflict in Libya. Through their military funding, they contributed to strengthening the orientation of their local allies towards the military option instead of the diplomatic option for negotiation. Thus strengthening the protracted armed conflict.

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[10] Stodden, William P. The foreign policy of destabilization: The USA in Latin America, 1947-1989. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (2012): 14.

[11] Ibid, 18.

[12] Manley, Michael. “Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery.” London: Third World Media Limited. (1982): 138.

[13] Merom, Gil. Democracy, dependency, and destabilization: The shaking of Allende’s regime. Political Science Quarterly 105, no. 1 (1990): 95.

[14] Bisley, Nick. “Counter-revolution, order and international politics.” Review of International Studies 30, no. 1 (2004): 53.

[15] Regan, Patrick M. “Third-party interventions and the duration of intrastate conflicts.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 46, no. 1 (2002): 55-73.

[16] Leites, Nathan, and Charles Wolf Jr. Rebellion and authority: An analytic essay on insurgent conflicts. Markham Publishing Company, 1970.

[17] Sinno, Abdulkader H. “Organizations at war in Afghanistan and beyond.” Cornell University Press, (2011): 289.

[18] Anderson, Noel. “Competitive intervention, protracted conflict, and the global prevalence of civil war.” International Studies Quarterly 63, no. 3 (2019): 694.

[19] Ibid, 694-695.

[20] Sullivan, Patricia L., and Johannes Karreth. “The conditional impact of military intervention on internal armed conflict outcomes.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 32, no. 3 (2015): 2.

[21] Pearson, Frederic S. “Foreign military interventions and domestic disputes.” International Studies Quarterly 18, no. 3 (1974): 261.

[22] Rosenau, James N. “3. Internal War as an International Event” In International Aspects of Civil Strife, 45-91. Princeton: Princeton University Press, (2015): 50.

[23] Pearson, Frederic S. “Foreign military interventions and domestic disputes.” (1974): 266.

[24] Cunningham, David E. “Blocking resolution: How external states can prolong civil wars.” Journal of Peace Research 47, no. 2 (2010): 116.

[25] Ibid, 117.

[26] Lawson, Fred H. “Foreign military intervention and the duration of civil wars revisited.” Jadavpur Journal of International Relations 23, no. 2 (2019): 234.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Newman, Edward, and Oliver Richmond. “Peace building and spoilers: Opinion.” Conflict, Security & Development 6, no. 1 (2006): 102.

[29] Khan, Wajeeha, and Sadaf Bashir. “External State Spoilers In Peace Processes: Analysis Of India’s Role In Afghanistan.” Multicultural Education 8, no. 4 (2022): 247.

[30] Ogutcu-Fu, Sema Hande. “State intervention, external spoilers, and the durability of peace agreements.” International Interactions 47, no. 4 (2021): 638.

[31] Said, Habib. External States as Spoilers in Peace Processes: A case study of the USA in Afghanistan.” (2019): 7.

[32] Ogutcu-Fu, Sema Hande. “State intervention, external spoilers, and the durability of peace agreements.” (2021): 638.

[33] Ibid, 639.

[34] Bellamy, Alex J. “Libya and the responsibility to protect: The exception and the norm.” Ethics & International Affairs 25, no. 3 (2011): 263-269.

[35] Norooz, Erfaun. “Responsibility to Protect and its applicability in Libya and Syria.” ICL Journal 9, no. 3 (2015): 2–3.

[36] Williams, Paul D., and Alex J. Bellamy. “Principles, politics, and prudence: Libya, the responsibility to protect, and the use of military force.” Global Governance 18 (2012).

[37] Hehir, Aidan. “The permanence of inconsistency: Libya, the Security Council, and the responsibility to protect.” International Security 38, no. 1 (2013): 137-159.

[38] Al Qaddafi, Muammar. The green book. Public Establishment for Publishing, Advertising and Distribution (1980): 3.

[39] Hweio, Haala. “Tribes in Libya: From social organization to political power.” African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 2, no. 1 (2012): p.117.

[40] Melcangi, Alessia, and Karim Mezran. “Truly a Proxy War? Militias, Institutions and External Actors in Libya between Limited Statehood and Rentier State.” The International Spectator (2022): 3.

[41] Winer, Jonathan M. “Origins of the Libyan Conflict and Options for its Resolution.” Policy (2019): 11.

[42] Lacher, Wolfram. Supporting stabilization in Libya: the challenges of finalizing and implementing the Skhirat agreement.” (2015).


[44] Ibid.

[45] Quamar, Md Muddassir. “Turkey and the Regional Flashpoint in Libya.” Strategic Analysis 44, no. 6 (2020): 598.

[46] Megerisi, Tarek. Geostrategic Dimensions of Libya’s Civil War. NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC, (2020): 5.

[47] Mezran, Karim, and Arturo Varvelli. “Foreign actors in Libya’s crisis.” (2017): 28.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Dentice, Giuseppe. “Egypt’s Security and Haftar: al-Sisi’s strategy in Libya.” Italian Institute for International Political Studies, Commentary (2017).

[50] Ibid.

[51] Heo, Angie. “Sectarianism and Terrorism: The Libya Beheadings and ISIS Violence Against Egypt’s Copts.” In Middle East Christianity, pp. 113-124. Palgrave Pivot, Cham, (2020).

[52] Mezran, Karim, and Arturo Varvelli. “Foreign actors in Libya’s crisis.” (2017): 25.

[53] Haykel, Bernard. Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a time of revolution. Center for Strategic & International Studies (2013): 3.

[54] Collombier, Virginie. “Libyan Salafis and the struggle for the state.” Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal (2022): 1-18.

[55] Diwan, Kristin Smith. “The future of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf.” The Qatar Crisis (2017): 15.

[56] Bakr, Ali. “The UAE’s disruptive policy in Libya.” Insight Turkey 22, no. 4 (2020): 158.

[57] Dogan-Akkas, Betul. “The UAE’s foreign policymaking in Yemen: from bandwagoning to buck-passing.” Third World Quarterly 42, no. 4 (2021): 727.

[58] Grynberg, Roman, Jacob M. Nyambe, and Fwasa Singopo. Trade and smuggling of African gold to UAE: The cases of Libya and Sudan.” (2019).

[59] Feliu, Laura, and Rashid Aarab. “Political Islam in Libya: Transformation on the Way to Elitisation.” In Political Islam in a Time of Revolt, pp. 153-176. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham (2017): 164.

[60] Haykel, Bernard. “Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a time of revolution.” (2013): 2-3.

[61] Selcen, Oner. “The Influence of the Economic Crisis and Refugee Crisis on EU Politics: The Challenges and Prospects for Turkey-EU Relations.” Marmara University Avrupa Topluluğu Enstitüsü Avrupa Araştırmaları Dergisi 24, no. 2 (2016): 59–85.

[62] Bank, André, and Roy Karadag. The political economy of regional power: Turkey under the AKP.” (2012): 13.

[63] Özşahin, M. Cüneyt, and Cenap Çakmak. “Between defeating the warlord and defending the blue homeland: a discourse of legitimacy and security in Turkey’s Libya policy.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs (2022): 1-24.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Harchaoui, Jalel, and Mohamed-Essaïd Lazib. “Proxy war dynamics in Libya.” (2019): 7.

[66] Zoubir, Yahia H. “The Protracted Civil War in Libya.” Insight Turkey 22, no. 4 (2020): 19.

[67] Bakr, Ali. “The UAE’s disruptive policy in Libya.” (2020): 166.

[68] Winer, Jonathan M. “Origins of the Libyan Conflict and Options for its Resolution.” (2019): 10.

[69] Seufert, Gunter. Turkey shifts the focus of its foreign policy: From Syria to the eastern Mediterranean and Libya. No. 6/2020. SWP Comment, (2020): 3-4.

[70] International Crisis Group. “Turkey Wades into Libya’s Troubled Waters.” Crisis Group Europe Report 257 (2020): 25.

[71] Ramani, Samuel. “Putin, Mohamed bin Zayed seek to reclaim common ground on Libya.” Al Monitor (2020).

[72] GÖRÜCÜ, Kutluhan, and Arzu BÜNYAD. “Mercenaries of the Russian Wagner Group.” Rouya Turkiyyah 9, no. (2020): 206.

[73] Bakr, Ali. “The UAE’s disruptive policy in Libya.” (2020): 166.

[74] Kardaş, Shaban. “Turkey’s Libya policy: militarization of regional policies and escalation dominance.” China International Strategy Review 2, no. 2 (2020): 331.

[75] Varvelli, Arturo, and Chiara Lovotti. “Starting from resources: A model for conflict resolution in Libya.” ISPI Policy Brief 5 (2019): 1.

[76] Cherkaoui, Mohammed. “Libya’s Zero-Sum Politics and Defiance of Legitimacy–Part 2.” Aljazeera Center for Studies (2020): 2.

[77] Oxford Analytica. “Stalled dialogue ‘will freeze’ Libya conflict.” Emerald Expert Briefings oxan-db (2015).

[78] Watanabe, Lisa. UN Mediation in Libya: Peace Still a Distant Prospect. CSS Analyses in Security Policy 246 (2019): 3.

[79] International Crisis Group. The Libyan Political Agreement: Time for a Reset.” (2016): 6.

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