Libya: A Critical Review of Tripoli’s Sub-Saharan African Policies

"The paper is divided into four sections. The first section looks at the internal structures of the Jamahiriya and addresses the internal dynamics within the revolutionary committees in the country. The second section deals with the main geo-political factors that can be said to inform Libya’s foreign policy, particularly since the coming to power of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi in 1969. The analysis of these factors departs from a closer look at the country’s geographic position – at the border between the so called ‘Arab’ and 'Black’ or ‘Sub-Saharan’ Africa – and how this affects its foreign policy. The third section looks at Libya’s presumed role in the political (de)-stabilisation of some African countries, particularly in Central and West Africa. This will be followed, in the fourth section, by a closer look at Libya’s apparent new role as a peace broker and development partner in Africa. Emphasis will be put here on the ascending importance of the regional role played by Libya, whether through regional organisations such as the AU and the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CEN-SAD) or through individual and bilateral initiatives, in the African continent in general and in its neighbouring countries in particular. In so doing,special reference will be made to Chad, Sudan, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The concluding section will take stock of the general perceptions of Libya’s role on the continent and will try to establish what direction the country’s foreign policy is likely to take in the near future."