When Libya’s eastern-based renegade commander Khalifa Haftar in April launched a military offensive to capture the capital, Tripoli, he knew he could count on the support of neighbouring Egypt.
Besides the prospect of winning lucrative reconstruction contracts, the Egyptian government’s view of Haftar as a bulwark against the rise of political Islam boded well with its geopolitical interests in the region.
But while Libya’s eastern neighbour happily threw its weight behind Haftar, arming and providing the 76-year-old’s forces with logistical support, the countries to the west – Algeria and Tunisia – opted for a different strategy.
Though nominally supportive of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, Algeria and Tunisia have throughout Libya’s near decade-long conflict maintained strict neutrality and insisted against foreign interference.
Speaking alongside his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied in Algiers last week, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebbounereiterated the two countries’ belief that the crisis could only end with a political solution that should come by Libyans themselves and “protected from foreign interference and weapons flows”.
“Tunisia and Algeria want to make a solution for Libya with meetings in Tunisia or Algeria, to start a new stage there by building institutions and holding elections,” Tebboune said.