“What Today’s Bloody Attack in Tripoli Means for Libya”
Foreign Policy, January 27, 2015
“Today a group of four gunmen attacked a hotel in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Media outlets are reporting that at least five foreigners (including one U.S. citizen) and three local guards have been killed. The attackers, wearing bulletproof vests and combat gear, detonated two car bombs outside the hotel before entering the building. … The circumstances and background of the attack remain unclear. Early reports from social media attribute it to the Islamic State…. The Islamic State has become more visible in western and southern Libya in recent weeks after months of fierce fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi, where it has faced troops led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar. … The attack in Tripoli today, Jan. 27, underlines the huge threat from extremist groups throughout Libya. As Libyan delegations meet in Geneva for a second round of internationally mediated talks in a bid to find a political settlement to end the ongoing crisis in Libya, terrorist groups such as the Islamic State continue to destabilize the situation, recently even capturing the eastern city of Derna. And while militias continue to battle each other west of Tripoli, Islamic State fighters have managed to strike at the heart of the capital with car bombs and suicide bombers, fueling the cycle of destabilization.”
Quickie Analysis: Chaos flourishes in ungoverned spaces, a description that seems to characterize most of Libya at the moment. The warring factions, though, need to decide, and quickly, who is the greater threat: each other or ISIS.