Libya Faces New Round Of Fighting With Foreign Backers 

Libyan soldier praying in front of sniper rifle

“Why is Libya so lawless”?

That was the question on the lips of some of the reporters covering the dangerous new level of confrontation facing Libyans by internal and external forces including foreign countries in Europe and the Middle East.

The capital, Tripoli, is now the scene of serious fighting between rival forces as negotiations to rebuild Libya on the ashes of the former regime of Col. Muammar Gaddafi stall.

Former President Barack Obama once called the failure to prepare for the aftermath of Col. Gaddafi’s overthrow as the “worst mistake” of his presidency.

Libya has been beset by chaos since NATO-backed forces overthrew Gaddafi in October 2011.

The oil-rich country once had one of the highest standards of living in Africa, with free healthcare and free education. Recently, it was a key departure point for thousands of migrants fleeing hunger, war and persecution for asylum in Europe.

Today, the map of Libya would be unrecognizable to those who remember its better days. The country is divided into two centers of power: Tripoli to the west and Tobruk to the east. Tobruk backs military strongman Gen. Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army.

Behind the scenes some Western countries and other powers in the region have been giving support to Gen. Haftar. He has the support of Egypt and the UAE and made a recent visit to Saudi Arabia. He has made several trips to Russia, been welcomed on a Russian aircraft carrier off Libya, and on Sunday Russia vetoed a UN Security Council statement condemning his advance on Tripoli.

After seizing two southern oil fields, he is now believed to control most of Libya’s oil reserves.

France has taken on a mediation role. It has denied taking sides despite suspicions about its relationship with the general. French President Emmanuel Macron was the first Western leader to invite him to Europe for peace talks, and France launched air strikes in support of Gen. Haftar’s forces in February.

On the other side is Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj , a Libyan politician who is minister of the Government of National Accord.

Speaking to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Sarraj said: “We are facing a war of aggression that will spread its cancer throughout the Mediterranean, Italy and Europe. We need to be united and firm in blocking the war of aggression of Haftar, a man who has betrayed Libya and the international community.”

Source: Global Information Network

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