Sunday, April 21, 2013

Libya's New Battlefield

The war for freedom in Libya may be over, but a year later the battle for the Libyan capital has developed a new battlefield in Syria. Under the command of one of the most well known rebels, Al-Mahbi al-Harati more than 30 Libyan capital fighters made their way into Syria to support the free Syrian Army rebels in their war against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Al-Harati who has dual Libyan and Irish citizenship, visited Syria last year on what he calls a “fact finding mission” to see the situation on the ground and to find out what Syrian rebels needed. Earlier this year Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, accused Libya of hosting and training Syrian rebels. In response, many in Libya say they relate to Syrians who want to overthrow the regime, since it was not too long ago that they lived a similar experience.

We should care about this issue because it is similar to the events of the Arab Spring and how it affected countries like Libya. Libya’s past events involved protests, movements, and violence which inevitably lead to the removal of their leader and regime. From the looks of it Syria seems to be following the same path with protests and citizens hanging anti-Syrian flags on their doorstep. We should also care about this issue because of the concern and interest Libya now has with its new regime about other countries of the world. It is nice to see a regime change within Libya that is concerned with other countries struggles of being fed up with their current regime. With Libya’s experience with overthrowing a regime they may be able to help the Syrians out since they are already being accused of hosting and training Syrian rebels.

There are no official figures on how many Libyans are currently in Syria, but for prediction on what could happen Libya could help overthrow the current regime in Syria. With Libya’s help of hosting and training Syrian Soldiers and providing support it could lead to the current regime being overthrown. As for policy, I think Libya should help Syria push for a peaceful solution that will not end in a civil war. Since Syria has had experience with overthrowing a regime they know the likely hood of violence starting and should help influence Syria to transition to a new regime smoothly and peacefully when the time finally comes. 



  1. While this story shows multistate unity against authoritarian regimes, I think we should be weary of transnational rebel groups. It seems that there are no long term plans within the Syrian rebel groups for setting up governmental institutions. If the conclusion of the civil war ends in the favor of the rebel groups, there could be infighting between the rebels. Libyan help today, could lead to a power struggle, factionalization, and more fighting in the future as rebel groups struggle for control of lawless territory.

  2. Libya may not be in the place to help other countries right now as it is trying to establish a stable government and way of management for its country right now. In order for them to help Syria successfully, they should have a strong foundation and valid solution as to how they will counter rebels and deal with counterinsurgency. They also risk being influenced from the Syrian rebels because each country has some sort of ground level understanding and they may find similarities to each other, creating a transnational rebel group. Though the idea is sought with good intentions, there are repercussions that must be considered before intervening with other countries in this region.

  3. The fact that it is Libyans who are entering Syria to aid the rebels in actually really interesting to me. In Libya, many have agreed that the current situation that resulted from the Arab Spring in Libya was directly affected by the intervention of NATO against Gadddafi. And many more have argued that in order to stop the violence in Syria international intervention is the solution. However, the international community has done little but impose economic sanctions and strongly urge the ruling regime to change their ways. I agree with Fion that for Libya to be currently intervening in another nation's affairs may not be the best timing as they have a lot to focus on internally first to repair what was done as a result of Gaddafi's many years of rule.

  4. The fact that Libya is becoming one of the few Arab Spring success stories is notable in itself and the fact that they are further trying to shape the policy and outcomes of other movements is commendable. However, Libya should be more concerned with issues at home and less concerned with the conflict in Syria. Getting involved in Syria will drain resources and capital at a time when Libya needs them most. It could also create discontent among the people and disrupt the tentative stability that we currently see in Libya. We talked in class about how violent transitions are less likely to be successful so I think Libya should be doing everything it can to keep the gains it has made thus far.

  5. I agree with Keaton here. Libya has become a great Arab Spring success, but that does not mean it is any position to help other countries in their Arab Spring movements. Libya needs to focus on creating its own institutions and protecting its own borders from outside influences. Protecting and regulating your own borders while resetting your government is a task that may even seem impossible. I guess I shouldn't count my chickens before the eggs hatch... While Libya did succeed in its revolution, there is still much more that needs to happen before we even can call it a success.