Western – 15 September 2014

Sep 15, 2014 | International actors

France stepped up its calls for something to be done about the crisis in Libya this week. Coming on the back of French President Francois Hollande’s call at the end of August for the United Nations to take responsibility and to organise exceptional support to resolve the situation in Libya, French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian warned of the danger of terrorist groups in the south and of jihadist groups taking control of political and economic centres in the north. Le Drian told Le Figaro newspaper, “We need to act in Libya and mobilise the international community.”

However, the international community looks highly unlikely to respond to such calls for mobilisation. Despite the very real concerns about the situation in Libya, the world’s attention appears to be taken up with defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for the time being at least. As for some sort of regional intervention, while Egypt is still keen for something to be done, as is Chad, other regional players are far less enthusiastic. This includes Algeria, which is still resistant to the idea of any kind of foreign intervention taking place on its borders which could aggravate an already critical situation. Sudan, that has close ties to the Islamists in Tripoli, is also overtly hostile to any kind of intervention.

As such it looks as though France’s calls for something to be done are unlikely to bear fruit, certainly not in the near term. Yet, Egypt and the UAE do appear to be drumming up support for possible future engagement should their clients face utter defeat. It is also possible that Egypt is attempting to barter its participation in the anti-ISIS coalition for American support for an international action to prop of the anti-Islamist wing in Libya.