Events in war-torn and divided Libya are heating up, and at the center of the storm is the renegade Qaddafi general who now heads one of the country’s two nominal governments—and is pushing toward the other. According to a Foreign Policy report:
“A ground invasion of the capital is imminent,” Haftar told me from his sprawling military base in the countryside outside Merj, a town that lies roughly an hour-long helicopter ride west of Tobruk.Haftar, 71, has seen his fortunes improve dramatically in recent months. He was declared an outlaw by the authorities after unsuccessfully attempting to overthrow the previous Islamist-dominated parliament in February, and was only recently reinstated by the House of Representatives, which lacked a military force of its own to wrest control back from the militias. Haftar quickly changed that: He absorbed pro-government western militias into his army, and is currently encircling the capital and fighting Libya Dawn militiamen in Kikla.
Haftar seems to be pushing toward a final showdown with the Islamist-backed “Libya Dawn” government in Tripoli. In another sign of escalation, warplanes under the Haftar-Thinni government bombed Misurata, a major port and the ideological home of the Dawn movement, last weekend. Any move toward a showdown has the potential to widen into a regional conflict, potentially involving Egypt and the UAE, directly or indirectly, on Haftar’s side, and/or Turkish and Qatari backing (though probably indirect) on the other.It’s hard to believe it will be four years this year since the U.S. decided to “help” in Libya. Now, where are those voices that were (rightly) telling us “if you break it, you buy it” after the Bush invasion of Iraq?