Libya, already rife with political, tribal and religious divisions, is threatened by yet another coup, warns International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. Excerpt of today’s column:
A renegade Libyan general, reputedly with links to Washington’s Central Intelligence Agency, is well on his way to filling the political vacuum left by the ouster and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Since late May, Khalifa Haftar has formed a loose alliance of elements of the national military and tribal militias with the aim, he says, of destroying militant Islamist groups that had taken control of much of the country.
In a series of running battles with the Islamists, Haftar says his forces have taken control of almost all of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city and hub of the country’s eastern region. His allies also continue to hold the international airport in Tripoli after days of attacks by Islamists linked to Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Haftar’s rapid emergence as a potential new dictator comes as a fresh House of Representatives is due to meet in Benghazi on August 4. This is the latest attempt, in a so-far failed series of efforts, to produce a functioning administration after the uprising against Qaddafi and his killing in October, 2011 … read more (subscription*).
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