President Erdoğan received President Al-Sarraj at the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul on 15 December 2019, upsetting the balance of forces in Libya.

Pursuant to the initial plans drawn up by the Pentagon and unveiled by the New York Times, there are currently three rival governments in Libya (Rumsfeld / Cebrowski strategy) [1]. All three are supported militarily by the United States to keep them fighting against each other.

One of them has received the endorsement of the United Nations under the name of "government of national accord" (GNA). Its leader, Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, has just addressed a letter to Algeria (bordering country), the United States, Italy (former colonial power), the United Kingdom and Turkey asking them for help to ward off the faction controlled by Khalifa Haftar.

The GNA is officially supported by Turkey, which provides it with drones and armored vehicles [2]. Ankara recently revealed that it has signed an agreement in principle with Al-Sarraj to jointly exploit the Mediterranean oil fields. This move incurred the wrath of the other states in the region, especially Greece.

Haftar was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal by the Libyan House of Representatives (the only elected body), which held its first meeting in Tobruk and has henceforth been based in Benghazi. Since 4 April 2019, his troops - the so-called "Libyan National Army" - have been trying to overthrow the other two factions, notably that of Al-Sarraj.

The third government is that of the Muslim Brotherhood, housed in the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli, which no one officially recognizes, but which many support. The conflict has been organized in such a way as to prevent any of the sides from gaining the upper hand and to eventually finish each other off.

[1] “Imagining a Remapped Middle East”, Robin Wright, The New York Times Sunday Review, 28 septembre 2013.

[2] “In Libya, Turkish army and Misrata militia perpetrate atrocities against Field Marshal Haftar loyalists”, Voltaire Network, 1 July 2019.