What’s Going On in Libya?

Libyans gather at Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli late on February 17.
MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images

What’s Going On in Libya?

Is peace finally coming to the North African state?

Libya’s rival factions are coming together to negotiate a new unity government. Fighting between the internationally recognized government in Tripoli and the armies of warlord Khalifa Haftar stopped in 2020, but they haven’t settled their differences. Meanwhile, head of state Mohammed Menfi has called the government of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah illegitimate, forming a third faction. At the same time, rival militias clash in the streets of Tripoli.

But now peace seems possible.

The militias were the first to de-escalate. The General Security Force, the Special Deterrence Force, Brigade 444, Brigade 111 and the Stability Support Authority are nominally part of the government’s security services, but they control different districts of Tripoli like gangs, running travel checkpoints and fighting turf wars.

Last month, the militias agreed to leave Tripoli’s streets. The checkpoints and armed patrols will be removed, allowing government police to restore law and order. Libyan Interior Minister Imad Trabelsi stated the government “will use the militias only in exceptional circumstances for specific missions.” The militias also pledged to depart from other Libyan cities in the future.

It’s not just the militias extending olive branches. On March 10, Libya’s three rival governments agreed on a framework to form a unified government. Details are limited, but the agreement appears to include the formation of a “technical committee” to iron out divisive issues.

The hope is that these small steps will lead to governmental elections. Libya was supposed to have elections in 2021, but the political crisis froze its democratic development. While the talks so far are minimal, they could thaw the paralysis.

“The measures that were agreed upon today, we believe, are a very important beginning,” Menfi said. “They are results that live up to the ambition of Libyans to hold elections.”

Does this mean Libya’s political crisis is about over? Can it create a functioning democratic government and become a “normal” country?

It’s not unheard of for countries shaken by oppression or unrest to have warring factions unite, only for the “unity government” to fall apart from infighting, creating an even bigger problem. Ethiopia and Sudan recently formed “unity governments,” which collapsed, leading to civil war and genocide.

Could something similar happen to Libya? The status quo of “keep the country dysfunctional so we don’t rock the boat” is unsustainable. But Libya is still divided. If a vote happens and a candidate with enough guns doesn’t like the results, what’s to stop him from starting the war again? The nation’s political crisis will likely be solved with bullets, not ballots.

The Trumpet’s coverage of Libya is informed by a prophecy in Daniel, which reads: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. … He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (Daniel 11:40, 42-43).

This is an end-time prophecy of two power blocs fighting over the Middle East. Biblical and secular history shows “the king of the north” is a united European power. Meanwhile, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified “the king of the south” as a radical Islamist bloc led by Iran (see here for more information).

Verse 43 mentions some of the countries that will be part of Iran’s proxy empire. These include Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya. According to the Bible, Libya will become an Iranian proxy state.

This hasn’t happened yet. Many countries are involved in Libya today. Iran is not one of them, or at least not in a major way. The West backs the Tripoli government. Russia backs Khalifa Haftar.

Compared to some other Arab nations, Libya’s state, while dysfunctional, is relatively peaceful. If Iran is to get control, something has to disrupt the status quo. The new talks on a unity government could catalyze that disruption.

To learn more, request a free copy of Libya and Ethiopia in Prophecy.