Libya gets A ceasefire, but not THE ceasefire

Alongside the much more prominent and destructive national civil war that’s been raging in Libya between its two competing governments (and between those governments and ISIS), there’s also been a regional war going on in the southern part of the country (the Fezzan region) between two Berber peoples, the Tubu and Tuareg. They’ve had a rivalry for some time now, but the Gaddafi regime managed to repress any serious violence. Gaddafi’s removal from power in 2011 not only took the lid off of that violence (the Tubu joined the anti-Gaddafi forces, while many–though not all–of the Tuareg fought on Gaddafi’s side), but it also raised the stakes of the rivalry, because suddenly the Tubu and Tuareg found themselves competing for control over Fezzan’s lucrative oil fields amid Libya’s overall political chaos. Things really heated up last September, when rivalries over control of those oil field and of smuggling routes through Fezzan turned into outright warfare. Meanwhile, the Tobruk government began arming and aiding the Tubu, which pushed the Tuareg toward the Tripoli government and caused the conflict between the two groups to escalate and become part of the country’s larger civil war.

Well, that larger war may not be ending anytime soon, but it appears that the Tubu-Tuareg conflict actually might be:

Rival tribes from southern Libya who have battled for control of oil fields signed a peace agreement in Qatar on Monday, a Qatari official said, raising hopes of an end to violence that has plagued a remote corner of the country since 2011.

Representatives of the Tebu and Tuareg, who have exploited a security vacuum to vie for control of a vast area long neglected by the government, agreed to a ceasefire and to withdraw armed forces from the flashpoint town of Ubari, the Qatari foreign ministry official told Reuters without giving further details.

It’s only a ceasefire, but every peace deal has to start somewhere. There are around 130,000 people living in the nearby city of Sabha, the largest city in Fezzan, who might now be spared any more fighting, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

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