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What to Do About Libya: Intervention or Mediation?


In Libya, the UN mediation among the parties in conflict has opened up opportunities, but is still hindered by three main factors: the fragmentation of Libyan forces, the role of neighbouring countries and regional powers, and the evolution of civilian-military relations between the two main parties to the conflict. This paper takes a detailed look at all of them, concluding that mediation is weak because it is not sufficiently supported by western countries, even though they are the ones who insist that a political solution has to be found. For more effective backing, this paper recommends: a) tighter application of the sanctions and other instruments called for in Security Council resolution 2174; b) adequate pressure on regional powers – particularly Egypt and Turkey – who support the two parties in the conflict and give them hope for victory; c) a reconsideration of General Hafter's role as part of a credible reform of the national security sector; d) more room for civil society actors, who seem to be the most interested in peace. Finally, the document considers the possible alternatives of external intervention, concluding however that none of them can realistically work unless based on some kind of political agreement among the parties.