Libya’s two most powerful leaders have agreed to call a ceasefire and hold elections next year after a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
Their deal has the potential to end six years of civil war, but there are at least five reasons to doubt it will hold:
- Khalifa Haftar, the generalissimo in charge of eastern Libya, and Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the internationally-recognized unity government in Tripoli, did not agree on a date for elections, so there is no deadline.
- The truce exempts counterterrorism, which Haftar and Sarraj could interpret differently. Haftar calls his entire campaign a counterterrorist operation.
- Libya’s institutions, including the central bank and National Oil Corporation, have recognized Sarraj’s as the legitimate government, but he has no security force of his own and could struggle to convince the militias that support him to stop fighting.
- Haftar, by contrast, has his own army, which occupies two-thirds of Libya, most of its oil ports and the city of Benghazi. But he has to convince a rival parliament in Tobruk to agree to the deal. Given how well the civil war has been going for them lately, they may balk at its terms.
- While Western countries and the United Nations back Sarraj, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates support Haftar in his war against Islamists. Read more