Karim Mezran

  • France, Italy, and Libya’s Crisis

    In a major development in Libya’s ongoing conflict, head of the internationally recognized Libyan government Fayez al-Serraj and strongman Khalifa Haftar met in Paris this week, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, to discuss a way out of the country’s current crisis. The meeting between Serraj and Haftar is the second in three months and follows talks in Abu Dhabi in May. Similar to the meeting hosted by the Emiratis, the points discussed in Paris are unlikely to produce much progress on the ground towards a peaceful transition. While Serraj and Haftar both formally agreed to a joint declaration aimed at reaching a political solution in Libya, the meeting left many questions unanswered regarding a political path out of the ongoing conflict. While the United States has indicated that it does not want to take up the mantle of leadership in Libya, it should not cede such a role to France or any other actor with proxy interests in Libya. Such a decision would embolden spoilers and further imperil the prospects for ending the conflict.

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  • Libya’s Haftar Comes Out on Top

    Diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the chaos that has prevailed in Libya since 2011 have legitimized Khalifa Haftar, a former Libyan general whose forces have been accused of torture and executing prisoners, according to the Atlantic Council’s Karim Mezran.

    Haftar met Fayez-al-Serraj, the prime minister in Libya’s United Nations-backed government, in Paris on July 25. The fact that this meeting occurred in the first place was a recognition of the reality that Serraj’s government—the Government of National Accord (GNA)—has been unable to unite the country and that Haftar has an indispensable role in any solution to the crisis, said Mezran, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “Haftar is the big victor,” he added.

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  • Mezran Featured in ISPI on Foreign Actors in Libya's Crisis Report


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  • Mezran Quoted in La Repubblica on Crisis in Libya


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  • A Larger US Role in Libya?

    As the chaos in Libya continues, recent reports indicate that the United States is considering ramping up its diplomatic and military involvement in Libya.  On July 10, CNN reported that the Trump administration could soon finalize a new policy for Libya to expand US presence in the country. If realized, a new policy for Libya must prioritize the stabilization of the country in coordination with key European allies. Despite President Trump‘s initial hesitation to consider Libya of critical importance to US national security, it has become clearer that the United States cannot ignore the security threat that Libya poses to US allies in the southern Mediterranean.

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  • Libya: From Intervention to Proxy War

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    More than six years after Libya’s 2011 revolution against Muammar al-Qaddafi, the situation in the country is significantly more complex and dangerous. The failure of the 2011 NATO intervention to assist the country with a comprehensive stabilization process led to rapid deterioration on the ground and created an opportunity for external actors to pursue competing self-interests in the country. While in most cases the factional rivalries in Libya have real roots, they have been exacerbated by the interests of both regional and international actors, and the resulting proxy conflict in Libya has significantly weakened the UN-led negotiation process.

     

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  • What in the World is Vladimir Putin Up To?

    Russia has decisively expanded its global footprint in a way that analysts say challenges the West and will force US President Donald J. Trump to rethink his “America First” strategy.

    This challenge extends well beyond Russia’s neighborhood—Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic States—to Syria, Libya, and even Afghanistan. Western governments and intelligence agencies have also accused Russia of meddling in elections in the United States and Europe.

    John E. Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “pursuing a clear revisionist agenda designed to change the post-Cold War order in Eurasia; permit Moscow to establish a clear sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space; weaken NATO and the EU; weaken the transatlantic relationship; diminish American prestige and power; and project Russian power globally.”

    With this as a backdrop, Trump and Putin will meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7. The meeting takes place amid investigations by a special prosecutor and congressional committees into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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  • Mezran and Miller in the Hill: Resolving the Gulf Crisis Through Libya


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  • Mezran Quoted by The Globe Post on Qatar Rift’s Effect on Final Union Deal in Libya


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  • The Potential for Decentralization in Libya

    Libya today is close to being considered a failed state. The political system is stalled and authority is divided between an internationally recognized government, the Presidential Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA) in Tripoli and the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk. Power is fragmented among myriad militias and armed groups, each one controlling limited territory. The internationally recognized government in Tripoli is unable to extend its authority beyond its immediate compound, while the HoR’s authority is limited under the influence of eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA). So far, all attempts have failed to reach an agreement at a national level between the major factions despite efforts by UN-led international mediation efforts.

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