The warning came from a Libyan expert on Euronews in light of the Libyan National Army (LNA), a large warring faction that controls the east of the country, marching on the capital Tripoli. Chatham House expert Tim Eason predicted where the ominous conflict was heading. He explained: “I think what is likely to be the case is a series of coalitions.
“So it is unlikely that the LNA could militarily engage all forces in the west of Libya and prevail.
“There are some strong forces in Misrata, in Zintan, in the capital itself with access to heavy weaponry.
“And it’s not clear that the LNA would prevail in such a battle – certainly against all three.
“What we’ve seen in the last week or so is an apparent deal made with an armed group on the outskirts of the capital in Tajoura.
“And what we’ve seen in the past from the LNA, particularly in the recent offensive in the south, is a willingness to do deals, to effectively carve out franchise roles for other armed groups to be involved in the LNA.
“Now that’s much more difficult in the west of Libya.
“So the LNA conquest to date, while difficult in Benghazi and difficult in Derna, other areas of the country have been more of a co-option strategy of cutting deals.
“So I think it’s likely that any offensive to take control of the capital will likely involve some of those deals.
“If it doesn’t then it will lead to very heavy fighting and quite an uncertain outcome.”
The United Nations is determined to hold Libya’s national conference on possible elections on time despite a surge of fighting in the country’s eight-year conflict, a senior U.N. envoy said on Saturday.
G7 foreign ministers warned eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar to desist from his thrust on the capital Tripoli, menacing the internationally recognised government there, or face possible international action.
Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said on Friday its forces had advanced into the capital’s southern outskirts and taken its former international airport.
The offensive by the LNA, which is allied to a parallel administration based in the eastern city of Benghazi, escalated a power struggle that has fractured the large, oil-producing country since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
The United Nations aims to stage a conference in the southwestern town of Ghadames on April 14-16 to weigh elections as a way out of the country’s factional anarchy, which has seen Islamist militants establish a toehold in some areas.
Ghassan Salame, then U.N. special envoy to Libya, said he was striving to prevent the new crisis from getting out of control. “We have worked for one year for this national conference, we won’t give up this political work quickly,” he said.
“We know that holding the conference in this difficult time of escalation and fighting is a difficult matter. But we are determined to hold it on time unless compelling circumstances force us not to.”