Strategic Insights: ISIS in Libya: A Threat or a Dead-End?

  • September 26, 2018
  • Dr Azeem Ibrahim

Prior to 1912, Libya was a province within the Ottoman Empire and subdivided into two regions (Tripolitania in the west and Cyrenaica in the east) reflecting a long-standing ethnic and geographic division in the country. Although not administered separately, the large region reaching south into the Sahara had a different ethnic make-up compared to the rest of the country and was more connected to sub-Saharan Africa than to the Mediterranean. Ottoman control in the south was limited to a few towns, which gave them some oversight of the trade routes; but by the start of the 20th century, Ottoman authority was notional rather than effective in this region.