There’s something of a coup underway in Libya. Over the weekend, forces apparently loyal to renegade former general Khalifa Hifter launched attacks against Islamists in Benghazi and assaulted Libya’s Parliament in Tripoli. The WSJ has more:
The revolt by Gen. Khalifa Hifter threatens to detonate the long volatile divisions among the multiple militias that dominate Libya amid the weakness of the central government and military. Hifter says he aims to crush Islamists he accuses of seizing control of the country and he appears to have the support of some militias from the eastern half of the country and the western Zintan region.
Now, in response, the head of Libya’s parliament is mobilizing Islamist forces:
In the other camp, parliament chief Nouri Abu Sahmein —an Islamist-leaning politician—ordered a powerful umbrella group of mainly Islamist militias known as “Libya’s Central Shield” to mobilize on Monday to defend against Hifter’s forces. The umbrella group is dominated by a militia from Libya’s third largest city, Misrata.
Dozens have been killed, dozens more wounded, and the clashes between General Hifter’s forces and Islamist militias don’t seem to be winding down. The country is thoroughly fragmented, flirting with the failed state label.To the extent that the Western media pays attention to Libya, it has focused on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and specifically the domestic politics surrounding the investigation into that incident. Why not focus on the real failure of policy—namely, the muddled thinking that led us into Libya in the first place?