Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

Arab Spring and its Impact on Libyan Civil War

In this study, the Arab Spring and Libyan Civil War are generally discussed.
In this study, the Arab Spring and Libyan Civil War are generally discussed.

The wave of uprisings and protests named as the Arab Crisis spread to Libya after Tunisia and Egypt and emerged the influence of the Arab Spring

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In this study, the Arab Spring and Libyan Civil War are generally discussed. The emergence of the Arab Spring and the impact of this process on Middle Eastern countries and North African countries, especially Libya, are evaluated in the context of crisis management.

The Arab Spring has been interpreted based on the starting points of crises in international relations and through the definitions of the state in the modern international system. The wave of uprisings, protests and administrative changes named as the Arab Crisis spread to Libya after Tunisia and Egypt, or pre-planned and awaiting rebels emerged under the influence of the Arab Spring.

This article started with the Arab Spring based on the Libyan Civil War and continues with international intervention and the overthrow of Gaddafi. At the same time, the post-revolutionary developments in Libya, the problems caused by the administration gap, the coup attempt of Khalifa Haftar, the political rivalry, the peace process initiated by the UN and the perspectives of other actors in the international arena are explained.

The Rise Of Arab Spring

The concept of security includes foreign policy analysis, regional studies and so on. The crisis sub-title, however, cannot be considered separate from security studies. These two areas have traditionally centered on the state, and analyses have been state-centered. When considered in this context, moments of crisis in international relations are often seen as areas that characterize areas of inter-state economic, political or military problems and find meaning under the umbrella of security.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

Especially with the end of the Cold War, state-centered crisis and security perceptions began to be replaced by people-centered debates. Of course, statebased analysis was a priority, but a different window was opened and everything that interested the person started to enter through it. For example, human rights and humanitarian law issues occupied the top of the agenda with the efforts of the media and international nongovernmental organizations.

These new developments also offered a new basis of legitimacy to armed interventions. NATO's Kosovo operation in 1999 was legitimized for humanitarian reasons.

The Modern international system is founded on the principle of ‘sovereignty’. Since the Treaty of Westphalia, and generally agreed upon, the international system has an anarchic structure of sovereign and equal states with no central police or governmental power (Osiander, A. 2001).

Thus, the concept of sovereign and equal states, which first emerged centered on Europe, spread throughout the world over time. Some researchers suggest that they could not have predicted the Arab Spring. Because, as is widely believed, because of the autocratic structures of the Middle Eastern countries and the obedience of their people to such forms of government, the idea of a wide-ranging popular uprisings remained absurd.

Political structures identified in literature as failing states, not as a challenge to the current international system or a threat to its existence; on the contrary, it should be seen as a phenomenon that sustains the current international system and gives rise to its own existence. Furthermore, it should not be ignored that this phenomenon is reproduced every time. Because the definition of a failed state necessarily brings with it the definition of a successful state. As a result of this necessity, the ongoing progressive understanding does not lose its habitat.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

The Modern system of states pre-requisites sovereign and equal states. The Modern state, claims to have a monopoly on the use of force on its territory and can feel all the 3 institutionalization necessary to govern simultaneously and intensively all over its country. In terms of our subject matter, Libya in particular, in general, when the whole Middle East perspective is taken into account, the result is the constant tension between the modern and the non-existent.

This conceptualization is codified as a cause of existence, not a threat to the central capitalist countries that claim to be modern, in other words, capable of fulfilling the requirements of statehood (Morton, A. D. 2005). In classical terms, the common aspect of security conceptualizations is the security of the ‘state’, which is defined as the principal actor of foreign policy. In the anarchic international system, it is recognized that the most rational way for states to ensure their security is to increase power (Powell, R. 1994).

Especially with the end of the Cold War, state-centered security perceptions began to be replaced by people-centered approaches. In other words, besides the classic state security issues, the security issues that human beings are involved in have occupied the agenda of international politics.

For example, we were entering a new era in which non-state actors created security problems as a result of genocide and massacre attempts, large-scale migrations and, on the other hand, refugee problems, mass problems in transportation to water or food, and the descent of armament into the local area, which we witnessed especially in post-Cold War African countries.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

As a result of changing circumstances, new methods or reinterpretation of old methods have also been brought to the agenda regarding the management of crises. In this sense, there are some instruments used in global policy to prevent, manage and solve crises and conflicts such as the provision of arms control and disarmament, international law, international organizations, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian intervention, sanctions, and democratization.

The Effects Of Arab Spring

The insurgent movement that started in Tunisia on December 17, 2010 has spread throughout the Middle East in a very short period of time and has removed many leaders, especially Egypt and Tunisia, from their seats. It was not thought that setting him on fire by a Tunisian peddler named Mohammed Buazizi would have caused events that would have deeply shaken the entire Middle East.

The insurgent movement that started in Tunisia on December 17, 2010 has spread throughout the Middle East.

Many people trying to explain and understand the Arab Spring have often raised the demand of the masses for freedom in the liberal sense. However, the disparity in divisional relations, the decline in people’s income levels and the consequent disappearance of social justice should be analyzed as an important factor.

The point to note here is that the 4 demonstrations in Libya differ at some point from the events in Tunisia or Egypt. In Libya, Gaddafi himself symbolizes the self-styled regime itself. Because the fall of Gaddafi, who turned Libya into Jamahiriya, means the fall of the self-styled regime itself.

The fact that the modern state and its features have not been properly settled and that nation building has not been realized in the modern sense is among the most important reasons for the power vacuum in post-Gaddafi Libya. The legal regulation for the use of force in international law prohibits states from using or threatening to use force in their international relations. However, there are two exceptions to this general framework.

These exceptions are the Article 51 of the UN Charter 7 of the UN Charter with the right to self-defense as stated in Article. Enforcement measures, including the use of force, will be taken by the UN Security Council under its section. In Libya, two resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council are on the agenda when it comes to military intervention in Libya.

Accordingly, on 26 February 2011, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1970 condemning the violence against civilians and violence against civilians in Libya, as well as the existence of massive and widespread human rights violations (Gifkins, J. 2016).

The Security Council has taken the humanitarian situation into its center, and considers the human rights violations committed by the Libyan government against civilians as a crime against humanity. The resolution called for an immediate halt to human rights violations and for the Libyan government to do all it could.

Emerge of the Libyan Crisis

As the UN Security Council resolutions show, the international community has taken a stand in favor of the expected regime change in Libya. With the contribution of international intervention, the 42-year Gaddafi era in Libya ended after Gaddafi was captured and killed in Sirte on 20 October 2011. After the overthrow of Gaddafi, the authority gap that formed throughout the country has not been solved even today.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

The country’s tribal structure and regional relationship networks have led the country into inextricable instability. The anti-Gaddafi revolutionary movement, stepped up by NATO bombardment, succeeded with the capture and killing of Gaddafi, at least it was declared a success. After 42 years of rule, Libya was expected to achieve an ideal structure that would be freer and more capable of performing state functions in the post-Gaddafi era (Hove, M. 2017). But the overthrow of Gaddafi did not only end the regime, it also displaced the state apparatus.

The first confrontational atmosphere of the post-Gaddafi era occurred between the pro-Gaddafi militia forces and the revolutionary ranks. This led Libya into a whirlpool of armed conflict at the 5 beginning of the revolution. Instability and the inability to meet common values are among the major factors that deeply affect Libya, which is in transition.

Efforts to rebuild the state in Libya were leading to a division of power.

The authority gap formed by the death of Gaddafi has been tried to be filled by some units that are historically incompatible with each other and are constantly competing (Hove, M. 2017). These units are listed as transitional governments, revolutionaries, political parties and non-government organizations. Likewise, the failure of the attempts to form a government in Libya and the resulting two-parliament structure are the visible repercussions of the inability to fill the power vacuum. So much so that the sharp polarization of society lies behind the political formations and political decision-making mechanisms taking place in Libya.

The distinction between the parties that carried out the revolution and the former regime supporters also reflected the political division of the state. The political and military camp in the country opened the door to international intervention; a new environment was emerging in Libya where countries that wanted to intervene supported any side. At the same time, UN led international efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation were taking place.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

United Nations Policy on Libya

The most important UN-led reconciliation step is the ‘Libyan Political treaty ‘ signed in Shikrat, Morocco in December 2015 (Blanchard, M. C. 2016). The treaty was intended for more than one purpose. The first step was to stop the conflict by achieving national consensus. On the other hand, the fight against ISIS and other terrorist organizations, which have gained ground visibly since 2015, was expected to be done in order not to be interrupted or even stronger.

Most importantly, however, the establishment of the cohesion government was being signed so that national reconciliation could be achieved. In order for a civilian and legitimate government to be established in the country and for the institutions to become operational, the United Nations has decided to hold general elections in the country for 10 December 2018. However, disagreements arose between Italy and France regarding the holding of the elections, and Italy was criticized for acting in a way that prevented Libya from stabilizing again.

At the Palermo conference, hosted by Italy, Serraç and Hafter met, it was decided that the elections would be postponed until 2019. National and international actors who had a share in continuing internal turmoil have deprived the country of stable central government and economic development. It also complicates problems such as irregular migration. In particular, European countries such as Italy and France, which have historical 6 links with the North African region and coast to the Mediterranean, are very interested in Libya’s future.

The coup d’etat general, who solidified his dominance in the southern part of the country in early 2019, has been on the renegotiation table with the mediation of the United Nations. However, shortly before the conference to determine a roadmap for Libya’s future (April 4, 2019), Hafter-controlled forces launched an operation to seize the capital Tripoli. With this operation launched, the coup d’etat general has clearly shown his desire for chaos and conflict to prevail in Libya, not a solution.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

Delegates who played the role of the Gulf states, including some European countries as France and Russia both open to military, financial, strategic, and diplomatic support, as well as Chad, Sudan and Somalia from imported mercenaries, militia groups caused the balance to shift rapidly to the side Hafter (Kettner, J. 2019).

Delegates who played the role of the Gulf states, including some European countries as France and Russia both open to military, financial, strategic, and diplomatic support, as well as Chad, Sudan and Somalia from imported mercenaries, militia groups caused the balance to shift rapidly to the side Hafter (Kettner, J. 2019).

The attacks launched by Haftar forces in Libya in order to overthrow the legitimate government and control the capital Tripoli, and the international solution quests determined to resolve the crisis have not reached a concrete result, paving the way for a new chaos in Libya. In this context, the Libyan National Reconciliation Government of Turkey on November 27, 2019 Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Limitation of Jurisdiction in the Mediterranean Sea and Security and Military Cooperation Agreement signed (Yayla, S. A. January, 2020).

Turkey and Libya Relations

Turkey’s Security and Military Cooperation agreement based on the request of the Libyan government preparations to send troops to these countries has led to many international actors to act panicked. It is inevitable that the equation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya will come to a new stage when the resolution requesting the authorization to send troops to Libya with the signature of President Erdogan on December 30, and the Parliament approves the motion.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya

It can be said that the balance in Libya has turned in favor of the UMH with the support provided by Turkey militarily. At the same time, it should not be ignored that regional and global actors supporting the coup leader Hafter and his militias will continue to wage proxy wars in the country. From a political and military point of view, Hafter’s loss of ground strengthens the UMH’s hand, while in terms of a permanent political solution in Libya, the international community needs to establish the terms of a sustainable UN-backed ceasefire and negotiations.

In this context, actors who will be parties to a permanent political solution in Libya should make efforts to ensure national integrity in the country as far away from 7 external influences as possible and to expand support for the UMH established for this purpose. On the other hand, the balances on the ground in the Libyan political process will determine the role of the UMH. In this context, Turkey’s military and political support for Libya is the most important factor that strengthens the UMH’s hand at the solution table.

It can be expected that Turkey’s military support on the ground will continue until a permanent political solution is achieved in Libya. The fact that Turkey has changed its air power superiority in favor of the UMH in addition to military advisory support has also been a very critical step in terms of Libya’s political future and has greatly strengthened the UMH’s role in the recent period.

Turkey’s support shifted the balance on the battlefield, western Libya was liberated from the Hafter invasion, and its militias were driven to the Sirte and Cufra lines in the middle of the country. The embattled coup camp (UAE and France) allowed Russia to deploy troops to the Sirte and Cufra lines, thus confirming a further increased Russian presence on the ground.

At this stage, international forces and coup supporters stepped in again, as they wanted to prevent UMH forces from dominating the entire country, and began a reconciliation process similar to the Suheyrat agreement. This time, meetings were held in Geneva and Bouznika, Morocco, under the supervision of UN Special Representative for Libya Stephanie Williams, and principal agreements were reached for reconciliation between the two sides. The European Union also lifted the embargo on Tobruk parliament speaker Akile Saleh, but continued to keep Hafter under sanctions.

The UN announced a list of 75 people and decided to hold a National Dialogue meeting in the Tunisian capital on November 9.

Libyan Civil War and The Impact of Arab Spring on Libya
Turkey’s Security and Military Cooperation agreement based on the request of the Libyan government

The UN announced a list of 75 people and decided to hold a National Dialogue meeting in the Tunisian capital on November 9, thus beginning a new reconciliation process. In the process, UMH President Fayiz Al-Serrac also announced that he wanted to resign in order to facilitate reconciliation. On the other hand, serious demonstrations have arisen in different cities, as Libyan people in both the East and west complain about widespread service problems.

The demonstrations have added a new dimension to the polarized and congested Libyan political scene, making political developments more complex and sensitive. In this context, the parties have reached a compromise on the resumption of oil production and services.

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Democracy Movement in Libya

The UN announced a list of 75 people and decided to hold a National Dialogue meeting in the Tunisian capital on November 9, thus beginning a new reconciliation process. In the process, UMH President Fayiz Al-Serrac also announced that he wanted to resign in order to facilitate reconciliation. On the other hand, serious demonstrations have arisen in different cities, as Libyan people in both the East and west complain about widespread service problems.

The demonstrations have added a new dimension to the polarized and congested Libyan political scene, making political developments more complex and sensitive. In this context, the parties have reached a compromise on the resumption of oil production and services.

All of the economic agreements that come into force, especially oil production, will reflect positively on political parties in western Libya to reach consensus and create common denominators, even at a minimum. But it is important for the future of Libya that the coup 8 wing, which has lost the war and whose legitimacy has been completely shaken, comes off the table without getting too strong and limits its power by elections. Because although its international support is intense, the social base of these actors is quite weak.

Hafter’s camp is known to put serious pressure on the public in its area, disrupting basic services, and it seems that it harshly intervenes in these negative situations with the slightest criticism and movement. Considering these developments, internal and external political, military and economic instability weakened the forces actively take Tobruk in Libya struggled with the location of actors in their first and therefore it is essential to solve all UMH artificial problems.

The legitimate UMH government must maintain the political-military integrity it displayed when fighting Hafter.

At this point, the legitimate UMH government must maintain the political-military integrity it displayed when fighting Hafter in order not to lose the political-military superiority it achieved against Hafter’s forces in attempts to resolve the Libyan crisis that began in the new era.

RESEARCHER BY İDİL AYBİKE PİYADE