Lifting the Libya Embargo will Fuel Further Conflict and Extremism

Says Prince Mohammed El Senussi, Crown Prince of Libya in exile

London, 30 May 2017

For six years Libya has been torn apart by conflict and violence.

Today our country is engulfed by chaos, torn apart by division, and burning as factions fight for the nation’s resources. The hopes of our nation are being dashed, and the birthrights of our future generations are being wiped out.

In February 2011 the international community, through the United Nations Security Council, imposed an arms embargo taking measures to prevent the supply, sale, or transfer of arms to Libya. This well-meant measure had limited impact – the country was already awash with arms, and the embargo was ignored by many. Regional actors are fuelling the conflict in Libya by exporting weapons and ammunition to their proxy militias in contravention of the embargo.

The ensuing chaos is fuelling an ongoing civil war and provides a breeding ground for extremists. Libya has endured this for six years, and the effects were felt in Manchester with tragic and heart-breaking consequences this week.

Various political groups, their leadership, and their international sponsors are now agitating for the arms embargo to be lifted. To do this would be premature and a disaster inside and outside Libya. There is already a proliferation of weapons in the country fuelling violence between different factions. Attacks by rival militias regularly result in civilian casualties.

It would be irresponsible madness to lift this embargo under these circumstances.

In addition to the arms embargo, the UN Security Council froze the assets of the Central Bank, the Libyan Treasury, and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) in February 2011. In December 2011 at the request of the new Libyan authorities, the UN Security Council lifted the freeze on Central Bank and Treasury funds, estimated at $110 billion. Only the assets of the LIA estimated at about $68 billion remained frozen.

It is now clear that the decisions of December 2011 had an adverse effect on Libya’s security and economy. Last year, the World Bank stated that Libya’s economy was on the brink of collapse. These assets have been wasted without any meaningful economic impact, and moreover the funds have been used to stoke conflict and division. The lives of ordinary Libyans remain unbearably hellish.

In recent weeks there have been attempts behind closed doors by various Libyan political groups and their international sponsors to have the remaining freeze on Libyan assets and funds lifted, in particular the estimated $68 billion held by the LIA.

The LIA, established in 2006 is accountable to the Libyan people and has a specific mandate to create a diversified source of wealth for Libya’s future generations through its investments. The careful and appropriate stewardship of this national resource is of paramount importance.

Any move to lift the freeze on LIA assets, will simply serve to fuel the conflict. There are multiple factions jostling for power and the prospect of access to the billions set aside for future generations is fuelling fighting and instability. If the LIA assets are unfrozen they will undoubtedly be stolen, squandered, or at best mismanaged.

It is no secret that this conflict is a struggle by political factions and their international backers for power and control over Libya’s assets. Enthusiastic young people from all sides have been duped and mobilised to defend those hell-bent on controlling Libya’s assets. The interests of ordinary Libyan people are of no interest to these factions.

Therefore, if the continued haemorrhaging of lives and resources is to be stopped, the main cause of the conflict must be neutralised. Money and weapons are driving this conflict.

The embargo on arms and the freeze on assets must continue until the country has one stable government representing all Libyans, elected by popular vote, trusted and accepted by the people, with a settled and permanent constitution, a proper army accountable to the civilian government, a police force and robust institutions capable of safeguarding our nation’s future.  


Crown Prince Prince Mohammed el Hasan el Rida el Senussi is the Crown Prince of Libya in exile.

He is the direct descendent of the former King of Libya, Idris, who reigned from Libya’s independence in 1951 until 1969 when he was overthrown by Muammar Gaddafi in the coup d’état of September 1969.

Prince Mohammed has no involvement in the politics of Libya, but acts as a voice and source of support to his fellow countrymen.

17th July 2015


In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful 
Peace, mercy and blessings of God to all the sons and daughters of Libya, at home and abroad, in all their diversity, without distinction, exclusion, or diminution, as we bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadan, the month of fasting. This is the greatest season for worship and humility. In this month we breath the blessings of mercy from Allah. We thank the Lord, the Almighty, for the great bounty and blessings of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid greetings to the Libyan nation and to all Muslims and many happy returns. May God accept our obedience.
Our Gracious Libyan people,
We are living through a difficult and complex chapter that is threatening our nation. It is threatening our independence and the unity of our country.
Let these blessed and happy moments of Eid, which ushers in an atmosphere of faith and generosity, bring us to the fulfilment of a better tomorrow and a beautiful future for all of us to enjoy. Let us remember the values and principles with which our parents and grandparents, living through some of the darkest and most difficult circumstances, overcame the obstacles and challenges our country faced. They shook hands and their souls met and they united to found the country. They succeeded in establishing an independent country with a constitution and institutions that are still evidenced as the part of our history that is pure. To those men who were responsible we owe our sincere gratitude for their efforts and sacrifices. We thank them and we will be faithful to them in preserving the sovereignty, independence, identity and unity of our beloved nation.
Our Gracious Libyan people,
There is no more appropriate an occasion to remind ourselves of the responsibility we have to go back to our core, to heal the physical and moral wounds, and with our souls, to remove the hostility, hatred and malice that plagues our nation. Let no-one dispute the fact that we are all the sons and daughters of one homeland, and all servants of one nation, and that we will not congratulate this nation, until there is reconciliation and we have achieved a higher purpose and overcome the tendencies towards intolerance and narrow self-interest.  Let us show a spirit of tolerance and optimism and think of our children and our future generations, to deliver for them a better way of life so that, in turn, they may remember us for our positive attributes and the contributions we made towards securing the well being of our country.
Good and benevolent efforts will not be lost but instead will help return Libya - God willing - to be the best of nations in our lifetime.  Libya will be - God willing – a force for stability, a home for the renaissance of civilization, a bastion of peace and security.
Many happy returns and peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of Allah 
Mohammed el Hasan el Rida el Senussi

18 March 2011


Prince Mohammed El Senussi said:

"The UN's resolution to protect the civilians of Libya is the greatest news that our nation has heard for decades. "The international community's commitment to help us achieve peace and freedom in Libya will succeed and I hope and pray that this day will be soon."

28 March 2011


On the eve of tomorrow’s London conference to discuss the future of Libya, Prince Mohammed El Senussi, Crown Prince of Libya in exile, has written to all 35 participating Foreign Ministers urging them to maintain the pressure upon Gaddafi to go.

20 April 2011


Libya’s exiled crown prince Mohammed El Senussi today (Wed 20 April) told the European Parliament that the departure of ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi “could be expedited if more nations stepped down off the fence and committed themselves to rid the world of one of its most evil tyrants.”