Impact of US and Algerian positions on Libya crisis

Friday 01/05/2015
Ruled by force of arms

The Libyan crisis is worsening day after day, despite the fact that Libyan society largely lacks the type of ethnic and sectar­ian divisions noted in Iraq, Syria or Yemen.
As a result, several questions may be posed in this context: Why is the fighting escalating? Why have the political elites failed to reach a national consensus? Why did the international com­munity give up on Libya and end the monthly meetings that were convened by the so-called Friends of Libya?
Bearing direct responsibility for this state of affairs is foreign inter­vention, which toppled the former regime by military force and paved the way for minor players to intervene in Libyan affairs in a blatant manner.
Qatari, Turkish and Sudanese interventions mark the beginning of the aggravation of the crisis. Through their inter­ventions this triumvirate believed they could impose their agendas, along with their Libyan allies, by force of arms and money.
Mercenaries and terrorists from these countries began to flow towards Libya as early as 2011. These same countries also formed armed militias to implement their agendas and unleashed these groups to destabilise the country to the point that one-third of the population is now either refugees or internally displaced.
Political life in Libya has dete­riorated and the country is ruled by force of arms. Early in 2012, the leaders of the February uprising of the previous year fell out with one another, leading to a struggle for power that gained such momen­tum that turned Libya into a failed state with two governments, two legislative bodies and two armed entities. With the Tripoli government representing Islam­ist extremism, some countries decided to side with the parlia­ment of Tobruk. In this camp we find Egypt, which considers Libya a source of terrorism, along with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which see Libyan extremism as a threat to the region as a whole.
The Algerian and US positions vis-à-vis the Libyan crisis have undergone significant changes. Algeria has come to see the events in Libya as being connected to its own domestic security. It there­fore engaged in direct dialogue with extremists in Libya in the hope that this would neutralise Islamists in Algeria and isolate them from their Libyan counter­parts. This policy was given added urgency as Libyan border areas became fertile ground for terrorist training camps.
The United States also adopted a duplicitous position, giving free rein to Turkey, Sudan, and Qatar to act as they wished. When the UAE and Saudi Arabia intervened, however, US President Barack Obama quickly demanded that the Gulf countries not interfere in Libyan affairs.
The wrong-headed policies of both the United States and Algeria have served to exacerbate the crisis in Libya, and they undoubt­edly bear some responsibility for the disaster that is unfolding as a result.