This report examines Qatar’s interests in Libya and the reasoning for its financial support for the GNA. As the geopolitical context in the region remains volatile, the timing for prediction has been settled for six months. For collection and processing, the author used OSINT, therefore the report is safe to be further distributed.

Key Judgements

KJ-1. Qatar was a major sponsor of militias fighting Gaddafi’s regime in the first Libyan civil war (2011). It is likely that the country has kept most of its proxies in the region and is using the same means — financial and political — to support the GNA.

KJ-2. It is likely that Qatar’s involvement in the second Libyan civil war represents a strategic move in the MENA region against the Saudi-led bloc. By sponsoring GNA and its allied militias, Qatar projects its influence alongside Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood.

KJ-3. Qatar is unlikely to change its strategy in the next six months. There is a realistic probability that Qatar will increase its funds for the GNA and the affiliated militias to ensure the security of Tripoli against Haftar’s forces.

KJ-4. Qatar’s dependency on Turkey’s military support against a potential Saudi offensive is highly likely to determine Qatar’s stance in the second Libyan civil war.

KJ.-5. In the case of a GNA victory, it is likely that Qatar’s power projection in Libya will increase and that Libya will adopt a stronger stance in the Qatari-Saudi conflict. In case of an LNA victory, Qatar is likely to attempt to maintain its proxies in the country to destabilize the regime.

Qatar’s Current Intervention in Libya

Intervention Methodologies

Qatar’s intervention in the Libyan civil war is focused mainly on political and financial support to the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). Qatar is allegedly sponsoring extremist militias who fight for the GNA, such as Zawiya, Misrata, and others.

In December 2019, Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani reiterated his country’s support for the GNA in the economic and security fields. Qatar has no troops in Libya ad in 2019 it called for an arms embargo which would limit consistently the capabilities of the LNA. However, Qatar is sponsoring GNA-affiliated militias, known as Islamic extremist elements.