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Elections will sharpen US focus on Libya

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Subject

The Trump administration's policy on the Libya conflict.

Significance

In recent weeks, the United States has pursued a more active foreign policy towards Libya. This is a departure from its position of the past eight years of ‘leading from the back’ on Libya and comes as US President Donald Trump faces an impeachment investigation and elections in November 2020. With the vote approaching, Trump's opponents have increasingly criticised his position on Moscow, drawing attention to the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya.

Impacts

  • Ties with Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and the relative influence Russia has with them, will weigh on the administration’s thinking.
  • The State Department may push more actively for a ceasefire when a conference of external actors in Libya takes place in Berlin.
  • A ceasefire could fragment the forces fighting Haftar without robust external guarantees that his forces would not violate it.
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