For the German researcher Wolfram Lacher, Faïez Sarraj’s national unity government has failed on all fronts. It is time to escalate between former Haftar general and the militias of the powerful city-state of Misrata.
Wolfram Lacher is a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP), based in Berlin. A specialist in contemporary Libya, he is a co-author of Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath (Hurst, 2015, not translated ).
Since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the Libyan crisis does not end. The impasse is nourished by a process of political and territorial fragmentation. What can be attributed to it?
Wolfram Lacher With the support of the 2011 anti-Gaddafi revolution, tribal and local identities have emerged with great force. This first created a rather remarkable unity in the towns which were the revolutionary fiefs. But once the threat of the regime disappeared after the fall of Gaddafi, the big question became that of access to the resources of the State. And there, divisions have emerged, not only among the local groups, but even within these groups. Fragmentation thus occurred around the distribution of resources. Under Gaddafi, there was a well-defined channel of redistribution, even if challenged. Today, this framework has broken out.
Is not the existence of Libya as a nation at stake?
No, national identity is not in question. Almost no one, apart from a few separatists in Cyrenaica[ Eastern Libya, where most of the hydrocarbon reserves are located], is calling it into question. As for the various ethnic groups expressing linguistic and cultural claims – Amazigh, Touareg -, it is rather requests for recognition within the framework of Libyan national identity.