Libya, a crumbled country with a poisoned heritage

The journal review. The tragedy of authoritarian regimes is that their nuisance is never limited to their own rule, obliterating the present as much as the future. An autocracy never collapses without having sown a string of time bombs on the candidates for succession. If a country were to illustrate this Machiavellian ruse, it is Libya, whose tears have not ceased for ten years to preoccupy Europe and its own neighbors.

All the credit for the last issue of the magazine Herodotus Libya, geopolitics of chaos – born from an idea of ​​Ali Bensaad, is precisely to underline the extent to which the failure of the post-Gaddafi revolution finds its roots in an atomization of society organized by the regime of the Jamahiriya (State of the masses) itself . The poisoned inheritance mortgaged the rest. The hemiplegic army – compensated by the paramilitary forces of the “Guide” – was probably the best example of this. “Exacerbated a-statism” (according to Saïd Haddad’s expression) which facilitated a general fragmentation whose insurrection only amplified the fractures after his victory in 2011. The emergence of an identity claim of the Imazighen – plural of “Amazigh” – is from this point of view a textbook case (Masin Ferkal).

“Confluence” of local dynamics

From then on, this crumbling Libya, land of oil, jihad and migrants, was exposed to foreign interference, in particular that of Arab autocracies orchestrating the post-revolution Thermidorian reaction. Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s praetorian adventure from his stronghold in Cyrenaica was one of its instruments of limited effectiveness (Mohamed-Essaid Lazib). His case perfectly illustrates the « confluence » local dynamics and geopolitical factors consolidating « oligopoles de violence » (Emadeddin Badi), also observed in the militia complexes of Tripolitania. It is because the external interference, which culminated with the “Battle of Tripoli” of 2019-2020 – the American erasure encouraging more regional interventionism – was very specific to Libya with regard to the other “Arab springs” (Philippe Droz -Vincent).

Read also the tribune: Libya: “The government must be exemplary despite the divisions and temptations of corruption”

Russia – through its “mercenaries” of Wagner – slipped easily into this Libyan theater, promoted “Crossroads of its global ambitions, Middle Eastern but also African” (Igor Delanoë and Nour Hedjazi). Turkey, intoxicated with its neo-Ottoman dreams, did not bother itself with pretenses to deploy a “Formal military intervention” (Nora Seni). As for the Europeans, they were especially active in diplomatic mediations where the containment of migration was raised to the rank of priority, Libya becoming in their eyes a “Space for turning around mobilities in Africa” (Delphine Perrin). The fear of contagion of instability towards the Sahel, even if it is often overestimated compared to the endogenous crises of anemic States (Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos), also weighed in the European alarm. If the “Geopolitics of chaos” Libyan matter is that it crosses many tectonic plates.

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Libya, a crumbled country with a poisoned heritage