How Sirte became a hotbed of the Libyan conflict


The birthplace and former stronghold of the late Muammar Qadhafi, the coastal city of Sirte, was stigmatised and marginalised following the fall of the regime in October 2011. However, since 2019 it has again become the epicentre of Libya’s domestic and international conflict. How can this sudden change in the strategic importance of the city be explained? Based on numerous interviews with key actors from Sirte and on both warring sides, this paper analyses how the strategic importance of Sirte has evolved since Haftar’s LAAF military offensive on Tripoli in April 2019 and how the city has now become central to the Libyan conflict and its resolution through international diplomatic efforts.