Washington seeks to confront Russian expansion in Libya

Washington seeks to confront Russian expansion in Libya

On March 24, U.S. President Joe Biden transmitted to Congress a 10-year strategic plan to prevent conflict and promote stability in multiple countries including Libya following unprecedented diplomatic activity by Washington to sustain political and security stability in the country.

Western reports have recently indicated that this new U.S. plan for Libya seeks to secure strategic gains and interests for Washington and its allies on the European continent, foremost of which is stopping Russian expansion and sparing energy sources from the political and military conflict between local parties.

10-Year Plan

On March 25, the U.S. State Department announced that the 10-year plans to “implement the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability with our priority partner countries and region. ”

“The plans represent an important step in advancing efforts to bring stability to conflict-affected areas and are a move toward greater global peace,” reads the statement from the U.S. State Department.

These plans also represent a commitment to reform how the United States engages with partners; utilizes data and evidence to inform policymaking; and integrates diplomatic, development, and security sector engagement.  To advance these plans, the Department of State is collaborating across the U.S. government and marshaling diplomatic efforts alongside foreign assistance, including development programs and security assistance.”

According to Libya’s plan summary, the U.S. Libya External Office (LEO) and interagency partners developed this strategic framework and plan through “rigorous analysis and extensive consultation with a range of bilateral and multilateral counterparts, who will serve as important partners in its implementation.”

Four Objectives

According to US State Department, the plan’s “tailored and scalable approach will be applied across four overarching objectives that will guide diplomatic, development, and security engagement”.

The first objective is for Libya to advance its transition to a unified, democratically-elected, stable political system that has broad participation by, and acceptance from, Libyan society, and can effectively and equitably deliver targeted public services and protect the human rights of all Libyans.”

The second objective is for the country to better integrates its historically marginalized South “into national structures, leading to broader unification and securing the Southern border.”

The third objective would be to have the country progress towards a “civilian-controlled, unified military and security apparatus with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force that is capable of maintaining stability and contributing to regional security goals.”

The fourth and final objective is to have Libya’s economic and business environment foster “sustainable and equitable economic growth, mitigates corruption, and enables better management of revenue.”

Plan Development

The U.S. affirmed that it will “marshal and align diplomacy, foreign assistance, and other tools to advance these four objectives in a sequenced fashion.”

Explaining the development framework of the plan, the U.S. stated that the plan “explicitly focuses on identified drivers of conflict and instability and proposes specific early focus areas to confront those drivers – namely: engagement in southern Libya; disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of armed actors; and national reconciliation.”

Building upon the consultations used to inform this plan, the U.S. government “will seek to engage local actors more systematically throughout implementation to foster ownership of and buy-in for objectives.”

According to the U.S., the plan “reflects a whole-of-government approach to planning and implementation, with substantial input from across the diplomatic, development, and defense (“3Ds”) sectors.”

The plan also provides a “common framework to monitor progress toward advancing the strategic objectives through jointly owned metrics and milestones, enabling the U.S. government to pursue iterative and adaptive implementation, better anchor efforts in local communities, and make strategic adjustments based on evidence,” according to the U.S. State Department, which added that the the plan includes a “robust strategic communications approach.”

9 Targeted Countries

In addition to Libya, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated that his country proposed other strategic plans for eight other countries, and said, “The United States government is moving forward in a spirit of partnership with Haiti, Libya, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, and five countries in the West African coastal region (Benin and Côte d’Ivoire). Ghana, Guinea and Togo) to implement the US 10-year Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability.”

“Together with our friends and allies and the broader international community, we face destabilizing challenges that disrupt entire ways of life, economies and societies,” he added.

Blinken believed that “democratic governance and respect for human rights are increasingly under threat, as violent extremists and practitioners of persecution impose their authoritarian will through coercion and violence, and through this strategy we will confront these negative global trends and create new models for broader cooperation based on mutual accountability and lasting stability.”

Controversial Plan

The American ten-year plan in Libya is not considered new on the local scene, as the US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, previously spoke about this plan last year. Many Libyan political analysts considered it at the time a vague and long plan without a clear timetable for its stages.

Several Libyan political analysts agree that Washington’s objective with the plan is to end the Russian presence in Libya and prevent it from being turned into a launching pad for Moscow to expand in Africa.

Political researcher Muhammad Al-Enezi saw that “the relatively long American plan for Libya did not come from a nowhere, but rather is in line with the current international situation and the conflict with Russia”.

“It is clear that the Russian-Ukrainian war may prolong and turn into a war of attrition, which represents an opportunity for the West to trim Russia’s nails, and stop the expansion of Wagner forces in southern Libya and neighboring countries,” he added.

He pointed out that “America is now in need of a new political reality in Libya that allows its presence in the Libyan south to achieve these priorities, and at the same time strengthen the efforts of the war on terrorism that requires restructuring and unifying the army as soon as possible.”

Focus of International Attention

Libyan journalist Muhammad al-Kawash considered, for his part, that “U.S. President Joe Biden’s submission of a plan to Congress, that includes Libya and other countries, reaffirms that the Libyan dossier has become among Washington’s concerns.

“This became notable since the beginning of this year after the visit of CIA Director William Burns to Tripoli and Benghazi two months ago,” he said.

“It is clear that Washington’s plan seeks to secure energy sources after the Americans clearly warned, during Burns’s visit to Benghazi and Tripoli, against harming the oil sector,” Al-Kawash said. “This is in addition to holding elections as soon as possible, with the need to work to stabilize the security and political situation in the country.”

“The American involvement in Libya was clearly moved by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which prompted the United States to try to prevent the Russians from benefiting from any military, political or even economic presence in Libya,” he added.



Report written by: Zayed Hadiya – Independent Arabia

Translated by: The Libya Update