News / Middle East

    Foreign Intervention in Libya Seen as Further Destabilizing Fractured Country

    Smoke is seen rising from the Brigade Qaqaa headquarters, a former Libyan Army camp known as Camp 7 April, behind members of the Libya Shield, following clashes between rival militias at the Sawani road district in Tripoli, Aug. 24, 2014.
    Smoke is seen rising from the Brigade Qaqaa headquarters, a former Libyan Army camp known as Camp 7 April, behind members of the Libya Shield, following clashes between rival militias at the Sawani road district in Tripoli, Aug. 24, 2014.

    Senior U.S. officials say Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have launched airstrikes against Islamist militants twice in the past week in the Libyan capital. The move caught the United States off guard. 

    In a surprise move, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates joined forces to bomb Islamist militants in Libya, a country teetering on the edge of a civil war.

    The airstrikes, which reportedly targeted Islamist-aligned militant-held facilities, killed more than a dozen people. Egypt has denied the reports.

    Washington and the European Union have been working toward a political solution to the impasse in Libya since the international community helped topple President Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

    Competing interests

    The country now has two de facto parliaments, two prime ministers and a plethora of armed groups.

    Newly appointed U.N. envoy to Libya Bernadino Leon said any kind of foreign intervention would not help Libya get out of its current chaos.

    "No more conflict, no more confrontation, no more war, because it will only create a more chaotic situation, which is the worst situation for neighboring countries, for the European Union and for the international community," said Leon.

    Libya has a number of warring tribal groups, and two main armed political factions including an Islamist militia. But analysts see the conflict there as a civil war, without a powerhouse Islamist terrorist group like the Islamic State that has taken control of vast areas of land across Syria and Iraq.

    But Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are concerned about the rise of power of Islamist groups in the region, and would want to quash any group that could potentially threaten their political status quo. Egypt's military has decimated the Muslim Brotherhood in its own country.

    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior Middle East associate Frederick Wehrey said the regional intervention was an escalation of the conflict and a dangerous development for the region.

    "I think it is part of a larger regional trend of these states not seeing eye-to-eye with Washington about the region. I do think they intervened under the guise of fighting terrorism or battling these militants, but I think what they are really trying to do is engineer a political outcome in Libya where there is no Muslim Brotherhood, there is no Islamists," he said.

    Major vacuum

    American University Islamic studies professor Akbar Ahmed said the United States administration was perceived in the Middle East as being missing in action from its traditional role of judge and referee.

    "When the United States moves outside and stops playing that role, you have all kinds of very interesting dynamics taking shape, and this may well be a result of the UAE saying, "all right, you are not here" or perhaps coordinating with the United States saying, "we are going to take a much more active role in order to establish that we are there, we are there with you, and in your camp," he said.

    But Ahmed warned when countries like the UAE started taking a more aggressive posture in countries as unstable as Libya, the results could be unpredictable.

    Despite the airstrikes, Islamist militants have gained control of the Tripoli airport. The violence in Tripoli and Benghazi has prompted several countries to evacuate their citizens and diplomats from Libya.

    Officials from Libya's neighbors, Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia, met in Cairo Monday to discuss the worsening chaos.


    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: You know who. from: You know where.
    August 26, 2014 11:13 PM
    Did Egypt's military execute one out of every ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood as form of punishment.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora