Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Coup In Libya? Looks Like it

 In this Saturday, May 17, 2014 photo, Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter addresses a press conference in Benghazi, Libya. (Photo credit: AP/Mohammed el-Shaiky)

Since President Obama's  ill advised U.S. war in Libya to overthrow Moamar Khadaffi and protect  al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood Islamists headquartered in Benghazi, the country has effectively been a basket case, not really a state at all.

The weaponry Khaddaffi had stockpiled in his arsenals went to the jihadis and was used in Mali, in Sinai, in Algeria and inSyria. Various terrorist militias have taken over different parts of the country, The parliamentary government based in Tripoli has no control over the rest of the country, and the rule of law is pretty much non-existent.

Literally thousands of Libyans have died because President Obama's Libyan adventure, as as renowned reporter Eli Lake reported, al-Qaeda and various Islamist militias have now made it their home base. Aside from Ansar al-Sharia,the al-Qaeda allied militia that attacked the Benghazi consulate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Algerian jihadis the Al-Mulathameen Brigade, part of the forces of Algerian terrorist Mokhtar BelMokhtar have all established bases and turf in Libya.

The easy availability of weapons and ammo, the easily penetrated borders high unemployment among young man and the absence of a functioning police force or national army have all made Libya into “Scumbag Woodstock”, as Lake quoted a U.S. military contractor calling it, because of the A-list of jihadis whom now call it home.

That may be changing, and the actors involved are the same one as in Egypt, the military.

A Libyan commander, Gen. Khalifa Hifter moved troops under his command suspended parliament Sunday after earlier leading a military assault against lawmakers in Tripoli.

Gen. Mokhtar Farnana, speaking on a Libyan television channel on behalf of Hifter’s troops announced that they had set up a 60-member constituent’s assembly ( whatever that meant) to take over for parliament. Farnana said Libya’s current government would act on as an 'emergency Cabinet'. He also said Sunday’s attack on Libya’s parliament was not a coup, but “fighting by the people’s choice.”

“We announce to the world that the country can’t be a breeding ground or an incubator for terrorism,” said Farnana, who wore a military uniform and sat in front of Libya’s flag.

Gen.Hifter, a one-time rebel commander, led troops backed by truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns, mortars and RPGs to literally attack parliament, which of course promptly vacated the premises.

Hifter is mainly said to be targeting al-Qaeda and Islamist lawmakers whom he blames for Libya's status as a failed state. He's reportedly backed by members of the al-Qaaqaa and Sawaaq militias, the largest in Tripoli.

Needless to say, the current unelected Libyan parliament were not pleased by this turn of events.

“The government condemns the expression of political opinion through the use of armed force,” Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said in a statement. “It calls for an immediate end of the use the military arsenal … and calls on all sides to resort to dialogue and reconciliation.”

That'll learn 'em. Meanwhile, Hifter's troops have set up checkpoints at various strategic locations in Tripoli, including the roads to the airport.

Hifter's forces also made an attack on Benghazi, killing at least 70 people.

Libya is a highly tribal country, and the various militias are mostly tribally based. The country is split between Islamist and non-Islamist factions with various militias allied with each.

Interestingly enough,Gen. Hifter is himself an Easterner who hails from Benghazi but was also Khaddaffi's military chief of staff before he turned against him and joined the opposition.

This suggests to me that he might have enough widespread support to put together some kind of centralized government, which is what a lot of Libyans are craving right now anyway. At any rate,what they ended up with thanks to Barack Obama obviously isn't working.

We'll see what happens...stay tuned.

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