News You Really Need To See: “Airstrikes Over Tripoli Kill Six; Source of Bombing Is Unknown”

“Airstrikes Over Tripoli Kill Six; Source of Bombing Is Unknown”

The New York Times, August 18, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/world/africa/airstrikes-over-tripoli-kill-six-source-of-bombing-is-unknown.html?_r=0

Unidentified warplanes on Monday bombed a small arms depot and other locations in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, that are controlled by Islamist-aligned militias, suggesting that a foreign state had intervened in the escalating battle for control of the city.  At least six people were killed, The Associated Press reported.  The origin of the planes remained a mystery.  The airstrikes were beyond the capacity of the limited Libyan Air Force, and Libyan authorities said the planes had come from a foreign state.  The United States, France, Italy and Egypt all denied responsibility. … But the targets indicated the intent of the strikes. Although the month-old conflict in Tripoli is largely a contest for power between rival coalitions of cities and tribes, one side is considered to be allied with the forces of political Islam, while the other portrays itself as fighting an Islamist takeover.  The strikes on Monday all hit the Islamist side.  Representatives of a renegade former general, Khalifa Hifter sought at times on Monday to claim responsibility; General Hifter is fighting to purge eastern Libya of its Islamist fighters.  But the accounts were inconsistent, and General Hifter’s forces — mainly leftovers from the Libyan military — are not believed to have the capacity for the strikes, either.  Egypt, to the east, and Algeria, to the west, are each led by military-backed governments that have ousted elected Islamists.  Western diplomats say that Egypt and Algeria have advised the Libyans that any resolution of the fighting will require the defeat of Libya’s Islamists, including moderate politicians and the militants.  But there was no evidence on Monday linking the strikes to either country.”

Quickie Analysis:  It’s bad when someone bombs your capital city.  It’s even worse when you don’t know who did it.

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