The Conflict in Libya

The Mercenaries' Dilemma in Libya: Domestic and Regional Repercussions

Ahmed Nadhif | 21 Jun 2021

On 22 May 2021, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Libya Jan Kubis warned the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that progress on the main issue of withdrawing mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya had stalled, and that their continued presence posed a threat not only to Libya, but to the entire African region. This warning brought back to the fore the dilemma of mercenaries in Libya, after months of optimism in the wake of the political agreement that ended years of war, and stipulated in one of its clauses the need for all foreign forces to leave the country within 90 days. This paper sheds light on the issue of mercenaries in Libya, first by defining the map of foreign irregular armed forces in the country, and secondly by analysing the political and security repercussions of the presence of those mercenaries, both at the internal and regional levels, as well as trying to anticipate future paths for the development of this dilemma.

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