What a Fight for Tripoli Could Mean for Libya's Future

Apr 8, 2019 | 21:19 GMT

Militia members from Misrata, who support Libya's Government of National Accord, arrive in a Tripoli suburb on April 6, 2019, ready to defend the capital from an assault by the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter.

Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord arrive in Tajura, a coastal suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on April 6, 2019, from their base in Misrata.



  • An offensive against Tripoli by the Libyan National Army (LNA) has bogged down in the capital's outskirts, increasing the risk that the conflict will become protracted.
  • Militias from Tripoli and Misrata are presenting a united front against the Khalifa Hifter-led LNA, whose supply lines from its main base of operations in Benghazi are in danger of becoming overextended.
  • The militias supporting the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord lack a unified command structure, giving Hifter the opportunity to peel individual units away from the GNA's defense.
  • Prospects for the U.N.-sponsored conference planned for April 14-16 to negotiate a national unity government appear dim, but both sides retain an incentive to control valuable territory in Libya's west should dialogue restart in the future.

The conflict in Libya has entered a new phase. Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter has sent his Libyan National Army on the offensive in Tripoli, sparking open warfare with the competing Government of National Accord (GNA) for the first time in about four years. After Hifter announced his offensive on Tripoli on April 4, the LNA quickly seized control of Garyan, a city about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the capital, and Tripoli International Airport. Its advance, however, quickly bogged down, and in subsequent fighting, it lost control of the airport to GNA-aligned militias....

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