News / Middle East

    Libya’s Factions Ramp Up Battle for Control

    FILE - Libyan ex-General Khalifa Haftar addresses a press conference in Benghazi, Libya, May 17, 2014.
    FILE - Libyan ex-General Khalifa Haftar addresses a press conference in Benghazi, Libya, May 17, 2014.
    Elizabeth Arrott
    Libya's electoral commission has announced that it will hold national parliamentary elections on June 25.

    The announcement comes as days of clashes between government forces and those loyal to a rogue general renewed fears of a descent into civil war.  

    General Khalifa Haftar touts himself as a nationalist who is waging a war to save Libya from Islamic extremists.  Fighting between his forces and their rivals has killed at least 70 people since Friday.

    Forces loyal to Haftar, which overran parliament Sunday, vow to press their fight against what they call an illegitimate government, its Islamist allies as well as regional and al-Qaida-affiliated militias.
     
    Colonel Wanis Boukhamada, who offered the support of his elite forces to Haftar’s side Monday, issued a plea to what he called “authentic revolutionaries” for more help.
     
    Boukhamada said his special forces will join in the battle against current authorities until “terrorism” is stamped out.

    Fighting between Haftar forces and their rivals in the capital Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi has left at least 70 people dead since Friday.
     
    Military forces who remain loyal to Libya’s current government pledged to fight back, and asked for help from Islamist allies in order to support what they call the legitimate order.    
     
    Chief of Staff General Abdel Salam al Obeidi urged that power be transferred in a legal and peaceful way, echoing calls for new elections.
     
    Most of Libya’s many political and militia forces stake their claim to legitimacy on the uprising that forced longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi from power in 2011.  No single force or coalition has been able to exert effective central control since.
     
    The unrest has prompted the U.S. military to increase troops and aircraft stationed in southern Italy in case U.S. personnel in Libya need to be evacuated.  Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other states have closed their diplomatic missions in Libya in recent days.  
     
    In an interview with al-Sharq al-Aswat newspaper, Haftar said he is trying to rid Libya of the Muslim Brotherhood, and accused members of the Islamist group in Egypt of fueling unrest in Libya.
     
    Egyptian police near the Libyan border say they have received orders to close the frontier until stability has been restored.
     
    Scores of Egyptian migrant workers have been kidnapped and held for ransom in eastern Libya in recent weeks.

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    Comments
         
    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
    May 20, 2014 11:05 PM
    General Khalifa Haftar -- a new but logical Gaddafi who may eventually rule Arab North Africa as an eventually powerful Empire, no matter what the Persian Gulf oil monarchies, Nato including the USA, Israel, and Black African nations want and prefer? Probably. Once the oil fields are under his control and producing to capacity, cash and the military purchasing power will let him become the Libyan Empire's emperor.
    When that happens, Persia -- Iran -- will be promoted and supported as the only real power in the region, other than but not necessarily Israel which may align with him, able to contain the yet to be crowned Emperor Haftar.

    by: max ajida from: Pretoria ,South Africa
    May 20, 2014 6:10 PM
    Where're NATO troops? They supported and plotted the murder of Gaddhafi. They lied to the world that He lost his letigemence to rule Libya. Where're you when people are killing one another in Libya?

    by: ali baba from: new york
    May 20, 2014 12:25 PM
    believe it or not.it will be civil war sooner or later

    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 20, 2014 11:52 AM
    This is a totally controlled US and NATO military operation to seize the Libyan government, (the oil and gas), and using general Haftar as their puppet controlled Libyan militia leader, to defeat the divided outmanned and outgunned other Libyan militias. -- (WHY?) -- to seize the government, and force the other militias to name him President, of a EU and NATO controlled Libya? Are the US Navy Seals and UN Special Forces standing by, to seize the oil and gas terminals and depots before the Libyan militias guarding the oil and gas companies attempt to destroy them? --

    Russia forced the US and NATO to seize the Libyan oil and gas, because Europe would go into a severe recession if the Russians cut the oil and gas to Europe? -- Crimea was a jewel in the Russian crown -- (BUT?) -- Libya is the whole multi-trillion dollar crown in oil and gas to the EUROPEANS, and to the Saudis that are bankrolling the whole operation.. -- (It's all for the Libyan oil and gas?) -- and will bring more violence, deaths, destruction and war, because of the US, EU, and NATO interference again?
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    May 20, 2014 10:08 PM
    manbill , I suggest to change your medication. ask your doctor about Hardly
    In Response

    by: Tom from: Canada
    May 20, 2014 9:00 PM
    you seem to be in hallucination.. we were told that Iraq was invaded for its oil. yet, majority of oil companies operating in iraq belong to Russia, China, turkey . iran has more influnec ein iraq than USA. do some research before making such a comment

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