Between the cracks: actor fragmentation and local conflict systems in the Libyan civil war

Carboni, Andrea and Moody, James (2018) Between the cracks: actor fragmentation and local conflict systems in the Libyan civil war. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 29 (3). pp. 456-490. ISSN 0959-2318

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After nearly four years of civil war, Libya continues to be described as an ‘ungoverned space’ where the collapse of state institutions reignited tribal, political, religious and ideological tensions. These accounts, however, obscure Libya’s complex subnational governance, and the role of non-state armed groups in shaping the emerging political orders. By contrast, we contend that distinct subnational political orders have emerged in Libya since 2014 in which actors engage in state-making practices driven by local interests. Using empirical evidence to explore the activity of non-state armed groups during the Libyan civil conflict, we highlight that the local conflict environments in eastern, western and southern Libya provide specific incentives that shape the process of armed group splintering and patterns of violence. The findings demonstrate that claims to authority and notions of statehood extend far beyond the state whereby governance relations are negotiated between state and non-state actors. Conflict patterns, (in)stability and the prevailing political order are therefore conditional on the nature of the dominant actor, their strategies and modes of violence within their areas of influence. Through this analysis, the paper provides a more granular understanding of the local political dynamics that drive violence in Libya and civil wars more generally.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) > JQ0021 Asia > JQ1758 Middle East Including Turkey, Iran, Israel, Arabian Peninsula
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ6385 The armed conflict. War and order
Depositing User: Andrea Carboni
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2018 12:48
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 12:50

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
UnsetUnsetEuropean Union's Seventh Framework ProgrammeFP7/2007-2013
UnsetUnsetEuropean Research Council283755