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A Sea Change in the MENA Region: External Interventions in Libya

External interventions by both regional and global powers in Libya have not been a scarcity after the 2011 revolution. With the turn of 2014, however, the nature of external interventions became more of a military one especially with the imposition of Haftar’s rule in the east by several counter-revolutionary regional and global actors. At the point that the same counter-revolutionary alliance attempted to geopolitically strangulate Turkey both via propping up hostile and authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, and also excluding it from the prospect of exploiting the riches of the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish intervention materialized in early 2020. This study attempts to explain the various motivations of the major intervening actors in Libya, namely France, Russia, Egypt, and the UAE with a special focus on Turkey. Structural realist perspective is used to elucidate the international interventions to the Libyan civil war. The nature of the uncertainty emanating from the regional transformation motivated the key actors to get militarily involved in the Libyan crisis. The actors with defensive motives are more likely to stick to the conflict despite the risks of escalation.

A Sea Change in the MENA Region External Interventions in
 

 

Introduction

 

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been experiencing cycles of structural change since the beginning of the Arab revolts in late 2010. The political landscape in the entire region has been transforming drastically following the events that unfolded after the popular protests in Tunisia. Cycles of popular revolts, regime changes, authoritarian resurgence, state failures, proxy wars, the spread of extremist groups, and the implicit and explicit external interventions of regional and global powers are among the significant dynamics of the structural transformations ongoing in the MENA region. The spillover effects of the civil wars and migration flows have destabilized MENA’s neighboring countries and regions thus triggering the interventions of regional powers to those conflicts.

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