Thinking Aloud: Update on Libya

Oct. 26, 2014 by Darius 

In the last week, while most of the media has been focused on Iraq, Syria, or Ebola, there have been a number of major developments in Libya’s situation.  Let’s take a look.

  • On Monday, the Libyan parliament, which has fled to the eastern city of Tobruk, officially allied itself with General Khalifa Hifter, who has been fighting Islamist militias for months. The parliamentary vote was close and contentious and reflection some serious desperation: back on May, Hifter tried to pull off a military coup against the same parliament.
  • A rival parliament set up in Tripoli by Islamist militias met with a Turkish delegation on Tuesday.  The meeting was the first time the self-proclaimed prime minister in Tripoli met with representatives of a foreign government.
  • On Wednesday, the elected Libyan parliament based in Tobruk effectively made the civil war official when it ordered the Libyan military, now led by General Hifter, to advance on Tripoli in a bid to reclaim it.
  • Fighting in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, has killed more than 100 people over the last few days and forced many others to flee. Large parts of the city have changed hands as Islamist militias battle Hifter loyalists.

It’s hard to see Libya avoid protracted, all-out civil war at this time.  The longer it continues, the greater the chance that Egypt and others in the region won’t be able to resist intervening, and a central chunk of North Africa will likely be destabilized for years or decades to come.

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