News / Middle East

Rogue Libyan General Resumes Airstrikes Near Benghazi

Rogue General Resumes Airstrikes as Chaos Grips Libyai
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 29, 2014 8:34 PM
A rogue army general in Libya has resumed airstrikes against Islamist militias in the east of the country. Western officials have voiced fears the violence could degenerate into civil war as rival factions fight for power, three years after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

VIDEO: Forces loyal to Gadhafi-era general Khalifa Hiftar have been fighting Islamist militants in the region for months, and Western officials are voicing fears the factional violence could degenerate into civil war. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Henry Ridgwell
Witnesses say warplanes launched at least two missile strikes on Jihadist bases Thursday near the eastern city of Benghazi.

The strikes are latest in a series of assaults led by rogue Libyan army general Khalifa Hiftar, whose so-called National Libyan Army has been fighting militants in the region for months.

Forces loyal to the former general carried out two airstrikes on the February 17 Martyrs Brigade compound west of Benghazi on Wednesday. No casualties were reported, but witnesses say there was structural damage to the facilities housing the brigade, which is made up of former Islamist ex-rebels and one of the largest militant groups in Benghazi.

In a statement last week, Hiftar claimed he was leading Libya's army to restore stability of the nation's political life and security three years after the ouster and death of Moammar Gadhafi.

But according to Libya analyst Jason Pack of Cambridge University, who is president of libya-analysis.com, Hiftar does not lead any national army.

"What Khalifa Hiftar calls a national army is yet another militia which he has branded or named the national army," Pack said.

But Hiftar has succeeded, Pack said, in reaching out to an anti-Islamist segment of the Libyan population, and the support is growing. In recent days street demonstrations have broken out in Tripoli and Benghazi in support of General Hiftar.

"This stand is for the country, for saving what is left of the country's dignity, and also supporting the army and police so they can eliminate criminals and outlaws," Sheikh Mohamed Lamin, who was among the supporters, said. 

Earlier this month, forces loyal to Hiftar carried out a rocket attack on Libya's Islamist-dominated parliament, which Hiftar accuses of supporting Jihadist militias.

Western officials have voiced fears the violence could degenerate into civil war as rival factions fight for power.

Pack says several pro- and anti-Islamist, tribal and regional factions are currently vying for national influence.

"There was more unity when their goal was to overthrow Gadhafi," he said. "The further that has receded into memory, the different factions have begun expressing their own agendas."

Hiftar, who served under Gadhafi before defecting to the United States in the 1980s, has denied widespread claims he was trained by the CIA.

"Libyans remember both his CIA connections and his Gadhafi connections, and when he tried to insert himself into the rebel leadership in 2011 when the uprising began, he was never taken seriously," said Pack. "He is a man who wants to hold power so much that he is playing whatever circumstance exists to his benefit."

A new cabinet was sworn in this week, despite an opposition boycott and legal challenges. New Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeg vowed to prevent Libya from fragmenting, saying new ministers would strive in every way to fight terrorism, and fight to build the institutions of the police and army.

The United States has urged all its citizens to leave Libya immediately. In a speech Wednesday, President Barack Obama pledged to help the country build a functioning security force and border patrol.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ifeanyichukwu R. from: Nigeria
May 30, 2014 2:31 AM
U.S. has nothing to offer in Libya than to make the situation worse again; because they planted this ugly trend in Libya.


by: Ifeanyichukwu R. from: Nigeria
May 30, 2014 2:31 AM
U.S. has nothing to offer in Libya than to make the situation worse again; because they planted this ugly trend in Libya.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid