By Tarek Megerisi.
- Foreign actors have long been an underappreciated driver of conflict in Libya, to the detriment of European and UN policymaking in support of a political solution there.
- These actors facilitate their Libyan client groups’ belligerence and escalate the conflict through financial, media, and military support.
- Europe must understand the role of other foreign actors in Libya if it is to prevent the conflict from devolving into an intractable proxy war akin to that in Syria or Yemen.
- Such a war would destabilise Libya’s neighbours, directly threatening European security interests and global energy markets.
- Major powers such as the United States and Russia are unwilling or unable to play a constructive or unifying role in Libya, putting the onus on Europeans to lead the effort to reach a solution.
- This will require European countries to neutralise or co-opt other foreign actors’ partisan support for Libyan groups.
- It will also require them to establish an inclusive international working group on Libya, using a mixture of incentives and disincentives designed to prevent escalation.