The World Peace Foundation invites you to submit questions in response to this article for Alex de Waal to answer. You can submit a question as a comment to this article, through our facebook page, or via twitter (follow us @WorldPeaceaFdtn) at#AfricanrolesinLibya. We will be accepting questions from today until next Wednesday, March 20, 2013. De Waal’s responses will be posted on this blog.

International Affairs, March 2013, full text and a pdf version of this essay are available on the International Affairs website.

Libya’s relationship with sub-Saharan Africa has been complex, troubled and misunderstood, both during the rule of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the conflict that culminated in his overthrow and death. The Libyan conflict of 2011 divided Africa, but nonetheless the African Union (AU) was able to agree on a political strategy aimed at achieving a negotiated settlement and power transition.

The AU’s peace initiative was launched in March 2011 and, contrary to widespread perception that the AU sought to prop up Gaddafi, it offered a credible and balanced option of a negotiated solution. United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 expressed support for the initiative, but in the event France, Britain and the United States blocked its chances of success.

This article draws on evidence and analysis provided by the AU officials involved. It details the process whereby the AU adopted and implemented its decisions, and describes the AU’s diplomatic engagement with Gaddafi and the National Transitional Council. The article also draws on information provided by Sudanese military and intelligence officials, providing an account, hitherto untold, of how the Sudanese government supported the Libyan opposition with military supplies, training and intelligence, in tacit cooperation with NATO countries.

The article concludes with reflections on how the Libyan conflict has had an impact on the doctrine of the ‘responsibility to protect’, on the AU, and on Libya’s relations with Africa.

Access full text on the International Affairs website.

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One Response to African roles in the Libyan conflict of 2011

  1. Phoebe Randel says:

    Question for Alex de Waal: There seems to be a theme in this article about the notion of the “international community” (or more accurately the P3) needing to simplify people or nations into good or bad, instead of seeing the nuanced perspectives which may lead to openly negotiating with leaders like Gaddafi or working with nations like Sudan. Do you think this need to categorize leaders and nations prevents the international community from acting in the most responsible way? Will this framework create obstacles to working with the AU in the future?

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