Libya Ceasefire Falters: New clashes between the battling sides in Libya are threatening to tip the now six year conflict into a dangerous new phase of fighting just as the country anticipates the spread of coronavirus. The two sides in a conflict that has raged since 2014 briefly agreed last weekend to a humanitarian truce, but within 24 hours fighting resumed at an even more intense pace. The battle for Tripoli has become one of the planet’s most internationalized wars with different countries arming either side of the fight. General Haftar is helped by the UAE or United Arab Emirates and also backed by Egypt and France. His fighters include Russian, Sudanese and Syrian mercenaries. Meanwhile the GNA, which is recognized by the UN as Libya’s official government, receives military support from Turkey. Both sides seem to believe that with international actors distracted by the coronavirus pandemic now is the right moment to try to take decisive steps in the civil war. The upsurge in fighting, probably the worst since the current phase of the civil war began, came as the first coronavirus case was revealed in the country and led to yet another UN security council call for both sides to end the fighting. Jens Laerke, the spokesman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated recently ”In Libya, the UN fears that a possible outbreak would overwhelm the already stretched humanitarian aid capacity,” he stressed. He said the UN is supporting authorities in the country for COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts.
Scott Mc Kiernan, Founder & CEO, ZUMA Press