Reflections

Picking at the Tangled Knot of Libya

Mar 15, 2017 | 00:59 GMT
The fractures in Libya's convoluted network of alignments grow deeper as outside powers mediate.
Libyans in Tripoli demonstrate against Khalifa Hifter and in support of the Benghazi Defense Brigades. The country's divisions are only growing, and every major actor in the region wants a say in what comes next.
(MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

In the five years since the ouster of longtime strongman ruler Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has fractured into pieces. Competing governments and associated rival militias wrestle for power, allowing jihadist militants to establish themselves. Outside powers have intervened in an attempt to piece Libya back together, but the U.N.-led peace process aimed at forming a unity government instead led to the creation of a third rival government and increased the polarization among the country's factions. Today marked one of the heaviest days of fighting in multiple theaters in Libya over the past three years. In eastern Libya's vital "Oil Crescent" region, the Libyan National Army, under the control of Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, recaptured the oil terminals of As Sidra and Ras Lanuf, which it had lost to Islamist-linked militias just two weeks ago. In western Libya, meanwhile, rival militias supporting two different governments battled in the streets of Tripoli with support...

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