For almost a decade, Libya has been riven by increasingly internationalized conflicts. Foreign missteps and the failures of Libyan elites to produce political unity and workable institutions have opened the field for an escalating proxy war.
Along the border between Tunisia and Libya, informal trade agreements led to a tight-knit border economy. But political changes in both Libya and Tunisia have fundamentally altered the economic and security landscape.
In the wake of recent battlefield developments in Libya, regional and global powers are maneuvering for influence and supremacy, with far-reaching implications for Libyan sovereignty, stability, and cohesion.
Among the bevy of great and middle powers involved in Libya, China is often neglected. It is not pouring in mercenaries or conducting airstrikes, but China is steadily investing and exerting influence in ways that promote Libya’s eventual integration into China’s global ambitions.
Hamza Meddeb is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where his research focuses on economic reform, political economy of conflicts, and border insecurity across the Middle East and North Africa.
Frederic Wehrey is a senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research deals with armed conflict, security sectors, and identity politics, with a focus on Libya, North Africa, and the Gulf.
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