||The exposure of Libya’s political fragmentation and societal disintegration after 2011
was picked up by academics, journalists, and policy researchers who have written on that
aspect of the Libyan reality more than any other. Libya is perceived as a fragile state with
hundreds of armed groups, multiple claims of governance and tens of warring tribes. Both
local and international actors have contributed to this image, but this thesis attempts to argue that there is more than the fragile and disorganized state discourse to describe Libya. The fact that Libyan unity, sovereignty, and independence have survived this extreme level of fragmentation is a question that deserves to be investigated. Thus, through the use of wide range of theories, academic and policy papers, news articles, survey data, and political agreements reports, this thesis aims to answer why and how Libya managed to preserve its status as a state in such an environment.
It treats the question as a question of sovereignty by arguing that the traditional
definition of sovereignty limits our ability to comprehend the state issue in Libya fully. By
focusing on different aspects of sovereignty and by selecting broader definitions of the
concept, this thesis argues that Libya’s unity and sovereignty have been preserved so far
because international and local actors benefit from this arrangement even though they may be (in)directly contributing to fragmentation in the country. The international community is not willing to let states fall-apart, and the Libyan people do not seem to favor division and
separation movements. Local state and non-state actors realize this arrangement, and they
have not challenged thus far.