The Tug of War Over Libya

The country has a long history of occupation and intervention by foreign powers.

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Cordiality has not been a characteristic of relations between nations in the modern Middle East and North Africa. Rather, relations have been more commonly defined by rivalry and competition for influence over the region’s most vulnerable states. In the 1950s, it was Syria that became the main battleground in which Middle Eastern powers competed for regional domination. In the 1960s, Yemen was the arena in which Egypt and Saudi Arabia battled for control following a republican coup in Sanaa in 1962. (Yemen again became a major battleground in 2015 as the Saudis allied with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Sudan to halt the advance of the Iran-backed Houthis.) During the 1970s and 1980s, Arabs settled their differences in religiously fragmented Lebanon and fueled its civil war, which ended in 1989 following Saudi-led Arab efforts to find a resolution to the conflict. The impending crisis posed by the growth of political Islam and Iraq’s rise as a regional power required refocusing Arab political and military resources to deal with new threats. In 2011, the Arab uprisings exacerbated turmoil across the MENA region and introduced new theaters of open competition, namely in Syria and Libya. Like in Syria, where Russian intervention […]

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Hilal Khashan
Hilal Khashan is a Professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. He is a respected author and analyst of Middle Eastern affairs. He is the author of six books, including Hizbullah: A Mission to Nowhere. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019.) He is currently writing a book titled Saudi Arabia: The Dilemma of Political Reform and the Illusion of Economic Development. He is also the author of more than 110 articles that appeared in journals such as Orbis, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, Third World Quarterly, Israel Affairs, Journal of Religion and Society, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.