In recent years, the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), under the command of Khalifa Haftar, has dominated authorities in eastern Libya, expanded into southern Libya and sought to capture the capital, Tripoli. Unlike other armed groups, the LAAF has increased its territorial control and absorbed new, diverse forces into its structure.
However, the challenge of uniting and integrating this unwieldy alliance through a combination of narrative-building, coercion and external support has proven extremely difficult. This is mainly due to the contradictory political goals of the various factions that make up the LAAF.
The March 2021 selection of a new Government of National Unity (GNU) has broken the LAAF’s hold over the networks of power within civilian authorities in areas under its control. After once appearing on the cusp of dominating Libya’s political system, the LAAF and Haftar now face being isolated from government and political power.
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