The case study Libya

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Libya is a North African country bordering on the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan, Chad and Niger to the South and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometers, Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, with over a million citizens in the capital Tripoli. Libya has the 10th – largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world.

Libya was ruled by various powers, constantly changing from Persians to Egyptians and Greeks before becoming a part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was mostly occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century, when invasions brought Islam and Arab colonization. In the sixteenth century, the Spanish Empire occupied Tripoli, until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Ottoman rule continued until the Italian occupation of Libya resulted in the temporary Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1943. Libya became an independent kingdom in 1951.

In 1969, a military coup overthrew King Idris I, beginning a period of brutal suppression of dissent. The most prominent coup conspirator, Muammar al-Gaddafi, was ultimately able to fully concentrate power in his own hands during the Libyan Cultural Revolution, remaining in power until the Libyan Civil War of 2011, in which the rebels were supported by NATO powers. Since then, Libya has experienced instability and political violence which has severely affected both commerce and oil production. The European Union is involved in an operation to disrupt human trafficking networks exploiting refugees fleeing from war to Europe.

At least two political bodies claim to be the government of Libya. The Council of Deputies, internationally recognized as the legitimate government, though it does not hold territory in the capital, Tripoli, instead meeting in the Cyrenaica city of Tobruk. Meanwhile, the General National Congress purports to be the legal continuation of the General National Congress, elected in the Libyan General National Congress election in 2012 and was dissolved the following elections in June 2014 but then reconvened by a minority of its members. The Supreme Court declared the Tobruk government unconstitutional in November 2014, but the internationally recognized government has rejected the ruling as made under threat of violence. Parts of Libya are outside of either government’s control, with various Islamist, rebels, and tribal militias administering some cities and areas. The United Nations is emphasizing the necessity of peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli-based factions. An agreement to form a unified interim government was signed on 17 December 2015. The terms of the agreement record the formation of a nine-member Presidency Council and a seventeen-member interim Government of National Accord, with a view to holding new elections within two years.

Therefore the situation in Libya fits perfectly to the conference topic of WiesMUN 2016. The future delegates will have to deal with a divided country which is also a retreat area for the so called Islamic state and further terrorist groups. The Islamic state does not only pose a threat to Libya, but also attack the relatively stable Tunisia, like on March 7th, 2016.