Tripoli Reflects a Disintegrated Libya


René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

3 May 2019 – What on 4 April 2019 General Khalifa Hafter hoped would be a victorious march of his Libyan National Army to Tripoli has now bogged down in the suburbs.  The city is divided between the forces of General Hafter and the militias loyal to the (misnamed) Government of National Accord.   There is no national accord, and the term “government” must be used loosely.

A large number of people have been displaced, seeking relative safety in surrounding towns.  Migrants and refugees being held in detention centers in Tripoli are suffering.  Food and medical supplies are lacking for everyone, and the detention centers are the last to be served.  There are missile attacks on residential areas because the “front lines” of combat are fluid.

Discussions on the future structure of the State to be mediated by the U.N. Special Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, planned for 14-16 April were put off.  For the moment, there are no lines of communication open among opponents.  There is no willingness for negotiations stated publicly.

The current situation in Tripoli is a reflection of the past seven years of disintegration.  The crucial question remains how to structure a country as diverse in terms of geography and tribal societies.  It is not certain that the U.N.-led negotiations can be held in the near future although a good deal of preparatory work was undertaken.  There may be some room for Track II-type efforts sponsored by non-governmental organizations.  Thus the Libya Appeal of the Association of World Citizens issued on 30 April, 2019.


The Association of World Citizens Calls for a Ceasefire in Libya, the Respect of International Humanitarian Law and the Start of Negotiations in Good Faith on the Future Constitutional Structure of the State

The Association of World Citizens, responding to calls for assistance from persons displaced and in danger of bomb attacks by the fighting in and around Tripoli, calls for an immediate ceasefire so that humanitarian aid can be provided, and lives saved.

Continued fighting by the forces of General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army opposed by local militias under the control of the Government is likely to lead to increased violations of the laws of war, especially attacks upon civilians and medical facilities.

The Association of World Citizens urges that negotiations under the leadership of United Nations mediators, originally to be held April 14-16, be undertaken with a range of participants as wide as possible. New and appropriate constitutional structures are needed for the administration of a complex and diversified State. This association has proposed the possibility of con-federal administrative structures for the State.

The Association of World Citizens had been concerned with human rights and freedom of expression in Libya during the time of the leadership of Mu’ammar Gaddafi and has continued to be concerned with the fate of the people of Libya since his death in 2011. Now is the time for responsible action by all parties for an end to the fighting and the start of negotiations in good faith.

For The Association of World Citizens,

Professor René Wadlow

Bernard J. Henry
External Relations Officer


René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 May 2019.

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