chapter  6
17 Pages

Interventions and sovereignty limitations in Libya

WithDebora Valentina Malito

Libya is currently divided into a conflicting, multi-layered frame of authorities. Many analysts have defined the country as being ‘at war with itself’, seeing factional and tribal rivalries as major obstacles to state- and nation-building developments. This chapter challenges this narrative, investigating how external actors intersect and impact upon the destruction and restructuring of political orders under the assumption of compensating for limited statehood. The chapter surveys three phases of international intervention undertaken in Libya between 2011 and 2016, showing how external actors set in motion empowerment strategies among competing groups, intensifying instances of fragmentation and conflict. The three phases display distinct consequences in terms of sovereignty limitations: NATO intervention can be considered a case of international executive role, indispensable to destroying the existing political order; UN assistance with rebuilding supported the formation of competing territorially limited authorities; and, finally, political dialogue leading to the Libyan Political Agreement has been pivotal in excluding some groups from the construction of the new polity, further fomenting competing claims over power and legitimacy.