Libya’s Importance for America

Libya is a failed state with civil war like situations and terrorist activities in several parts of the country. All the warring factions are quite fragmented. There is no centralized control of power on any of the sides. The root causes for the current mess are the inability of the government to impose its will and

retain the monopoly on violence, the rising influence of radical Islamists, the legacy of the chaotic administration of the state under Gaddafi and the numerous century old tribal conflicts in several parts of the country.

Today Libya has two parliaments and three governments, all of them can somehow claim legitimacy, and a major battle between an Islamist-leaning militia and the so-called Libyan National Army is coming up in its Oil Crescent. The country is coming closer to an uncontrolled break-up.

Due to these circumstances and the failure of various international and previous American initiatives, the situation in the country could deteriorate rapidly further on, while Russia is increasing its influence. Although Libya itself is not of crucial importance for the U.S., it needs to be stabilized urgently. The situation in the country is an increasing threat to vital American national interests in the region because of its strategic location (close to the sea lines of communication from the Strait of Gibraltar through the Mediterranean to the Suez Canal and its proximity to important allies like the southern European countries, Algeria and Egypt). If the conflict spills fully over to Egypt, this would be also significant threat for Israel.

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