The UN Mission to Libya has just had its tenth birthday, but there is not much to celebrate in 2021.
For a start, its headquarters isn’t even positioned in Libya. Yes, the valiant humanitarian co-ordinator has just spent four days in Benghazi, but most of the officials meet their counterparts in Europe, or Tunisia, rather than Tripoli, or Tobruk, where the main seats of government are located.
After the UN Special Representative resigned last year because his mediation efforts were not supported by the countries arming the warring factions, we now have a graduate of the Moscow State Institute in charge. Meanwhile, Russia (through its security contractor group Wagner) and Turkey lead the way in the ongoing civil-war.
Turkey’s interest dates back to the time before 1912, when Libya was part of the Ottoman Empire. Russia’s interest only began when Colonel Gadhafi bought Soviet equipment in the 1970s. France and Italy will never be trusted in Libya due to their colonial past. America’s links with Israel make it virtually impossible for them to play a leadership role in Libya.
The country that most Libyans wish to partner with is the UK, but we are strangely reticent about accepting the invitation. See Liberating Libya for the rationale for British involvement in helping Libya solve its problems in the 2020s.