Civil war erupts in Libya

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Rajab 19, 1435 2014-05-18

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

The US and its Nato allies have destroyed Libya. It has descended into lawlessness with heavily armed militias staking claims to various pieces of real estate and assets. People, especially Muslims elsewhere looking for US/Western help ought to keep Libya in mind before deciding.

Washington DC, Crescent-online
Sunday May 18, 2014, 11:20 DST

Fighting has erupted in Benghazi, the capital of Eastern Libya between the military and some of the militias who have carved out sizable spheres of influence in Libya. Forces led by a rebel leader pounded some militia bases in Benghazi using fighter jets.

The attack is being led by General Khalifa Haftar, one of the key rebel leaders opposed to Muammar Qaddafi and who collaborated with NATO in order to assassinate the former Libyan leader. Haftar appears to be taking a page out of the playbook of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, who has used the “terrorism card” to blame his opponents and clear the political playing field for himself. The operation will continue until Benghazi is purged of terrorists,” Haftar told Libya Awalan television.

The TV channel France 24 reported that military aircraft and helicopters, apparently under Haftar’s command, flew over Benghazi. On the ground, Haftar’s troops besieged the bases of the Islamist militia Rafallah al-Sahati and a militia called ‘February 17’. Haftar declared that he was fighting against “terrorists” who are purportedly attempting to destabilize Libya.

The similarities with al-Sisi become especially pronounced when we consider Haftar’s actions this year. In February, Haftar appeared in an online video aired on several Libyan television stations. Wearing military uniform, he stood in front of a map of Libya and the national flag and claimed to speak for the “general command of the Libyan army.”

In the video, he declared that the military intended to “rescue” the nation. Libya’s government viewed Haftar’s statement as a coup attempt. The lattar, however, continued to woo the military, as the Libyan media reports claimed he held meetings in air bases in eastern Libya to win support of the military.

Haftar’s actions have disrupted the interim government installed by NATO following Qaddafi’s demise, Interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni denounced Haftar's forces as “outlaws” and called on all parties to observe restraint. Libya’s interim government has also imposed a “no fly zone” over Benghazi.

An additional development is that the US military has entered the fray in order to maintain US control over the region. According to the UK’s The Guardian publication, the Pentagon deployed from Sicily last week a force of 200 Marines with helicopters and other aircraft, when the violence began to escalate.

More than 80 people were reported killed in Benghazi yesterday (May 17).

END

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