The crisis in Derna : reconciliation opportunities in the midst of war?


The north-eastern Libyan city of Derna has been blockaded for over 17 months by forces loyal to Field Marshal Haftar. This has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, compounded by campaigns of arrests targeting Derna’s inhabitants and occasional airstrikes. Following Haftar’s announcement of his forces’ control over Benghazi in July 2017, Derna risks becoming the target of a new military operation. This would have dramatic consequences on the city, as well as on the prospect for national reconciliation. In this context, attempts have been made by Libyan reconciliation figures to mediate between Derna and Haftar’s forces. This paper analyses what steps could be taken to increase the likelihood that future reconciliation efforts in Derna succeed. It seeks to answer this question through analysing the specificities of the Derna case, evaluating the previous achievements of reconciliation figures and identifying possible entry points for successful mediation efforts.