Internal Dystrophy and International Rivalry: The (De-)Construction of Libyan Foreign Policy

Internal Dystrophy and International Rivalry: The (De-)Construction of Libyan Foreign Policy

Author: 
Sánchez-Mateos, Elvira
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2019
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of North African Studies
Source: 
Journal of North African Studies,Vol. 24, No. 3, 2019, pp. 468-489
Abstract: 

This case study of Libya's foreign policy after the regime change in 2011 represents a major analytical challenge, since the country's massive internal dysfunctions - extreme weakness of the state, the emergence of new elites, proliferation of private actors, power competition and widespread violence - have prevented the normalisation of its political and economic life and, consequently, the normalisation of its foreign policy. However, this does not mean that there is no Libyan 'foreign policy', or perhaps a number of intertwined foreign policies, as different Libyan political actors have been proactive in establishing contacts and maintaining alliances - often antagonistic - with external powers. Libya's recent evolution provides some indication of what its foreign policy might look like in the future, once the situation in the country has normalised. On the one hand, it is possible to determine the external determinants on both the regional and global level, which have and will have the most influence on Libyan foreign policy. On the other hand, with all the caution required to interpret the current unstable and fluid situation, an analysis of the political process and the behaviour of the actors in Libya highlights some key issues that constitute the universe of Libyan interests abroad and, consequently, the top priorities of its foreign policy, which will inevitably focus on hydrocarbons and security in any future scenario. Finally, the article addresses whether discontinuity in domestic politics resulting from regime change might lead to a structural modification of Libya's external behaviour.

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CITATION: Sánchez-Mateos, Elvira. Internal Dystrophy and International Rivalry: The (De-)Construction of Libyan Foreign Policy . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2019. Journal of North African Studies,Vol. 24, No. 3, 2019, pp. 468-489 - Available at: http://library.au.int/internal-dystrophy-and-international-rivalry-de-construction-libyan-foreign-policy