News / Middle East

Libya Warns UN It Risks Full-Scale Civil War

Smoke rises from the Brigade Qaqaa headquarters, a former Libyan Army camp known as Camp 7 April, following clashes between rival militias at the Sawani road district, Aug. 24,2014.
Smoke rises from the Brigade Qaqaa headquarters, a former Libyan Army camp known as Camp 7 April, following clashes between rival militias at the Sawani road district, Aug. 24,2014.
Margaret Besheer

Libya’s U.N. ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi warned Wednesday that his country could collapse into a “full blown civil war,” and he urged armed groups to halt hostilities and disarm. His remarks came as the Security Council adopted a resolution tightening an arms embargo and expanding sanctions to include militia leaders.

The 15-nation council met to discuss Libya just days after its parliament – replaced in June – reconvened and chose an Islamist-backed deputy as the new prime minister. That left the country with two rival leaders and assemblies, each fronting armed factions.

FILE - Libya's U.N. ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said he fears an all-out civil war.FILE - Libya's U.N. ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said he fears an all-out civil war.
x
FILE - Libya's U.N. ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said he fears an all-out civil war.
FILE - Libya's U.N. ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said he fears an all-out civil war.

Dabbashi told the council that recent clashes among armed groups in the capital, Tripoli, and in eastern cities, including Benghazi, could send the country into a deeper conflict.

“You are not unaware that the situation in Libya is complicated, and yet this situation since July 13 has become even more complicated, and the situation might unravel into a full blown civil war if we are not very careful and wise in our actions, and that needs to be true of all parties,” he said.

At least seven people were killed and all flights were halted when heavy fighting broke out on July 13 between rival militias vying for control of Libya's main airport in the capital, Tripoli.

Dabbashi said, "I had always excluded the possibility of civil war, but the situation has changed."

"In the past, security incidents were limited, isolated and rare," he added. "But today the clashes that took place around Tripoli ... [were] between two armed groups using heavy weaponry. Each group had its own allies scattered in the other regions of the country."

Further complicating the situation, U.S. officials said this week that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes against Islamic militants in Tripoli.

Ambassador Dabbashi did not mention the airstrikes, but reporters asked the U.N.’s top envoy in Libya about them. Tarek Mitri said he had no means of confirming the reports, but noted that there had been no clear denial.

"I don’t think airstrikes, if confirmed, were perpetrated by outside forces; I don’t think that can help," he said. "I don’t think it has helped the Libyans cease fire and reach some sort of political agreement.”

He said since his last council briefing on July 17, “armed battles, inflamed by airstrikes, continued almost uninterrupted in Tripoli, Benghazi and other parts of the country.”

“We need to remind Libyan political leaders and brigade commanders that dialogue remains the only alternative to protracted armed confrontation," he said. "No military solution is possible and the present impasse will be deepened further by the use of force.”

Mitri, who is leaving the U.N. mission in Libya after a two-year tenure, told the Council in his final briefing that the armed clashes and deep divisions among Libya’s political factions are “very alarming.”

"The threat from the spread of terrorist groups has become real," he said. "At present, the chaotic security situation and the very limited capacity of the government to counter this threat may well have created a fertile ground for a mounting danger in Libya and beyond."

He said the fighting has displaced more than 100,000 Libyans and another 150,000 have left the country. The U.N. mission also has temporarily moved its international staff to neighboring Tunisia until the security situation calms down.

Most countries have evacuated their nationals and diplomats from Libya in recent months.

An election was held in June in an attempt to rebuild state institutions and quell the violence that has spread since the August 2011 ouster of long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi, who was fatally wounded that October.

Arms embargo tightened

During the meeting, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on all parties to agree to an immediate cease-fire and engage in an inclusive Libyan-led political dialogue. The Council also strengthened an existing arms embargo and expanded sanctions to target individuals and entities destabilizing the country and obstructing its political transition.

Libya's government has called for a U.N. peacekeeping force to be deployed to help disarm militant groups and restore stability. But council diplomats say the situation is too volatile for peacekeepers.

Some information in this story was provided by Reuters.

  • A building on fire, which witnesses said was hit by a rocket, burns after clashes between rival militias in the Sarraj district in Tripoli, Aug. 23, 2014.
  • Libya Shield Force members are seen near a building on fire, which witnesses said was hit by a rocket, after clashes between rival militias in the Sarraj district of Tripoli, Aug. 23, 2014.
  • Plumes of black smoke are seen after war planes struck Misrata positions in Tripoli in an attack claimed by renegade general Khalifa Haftar, Aug. 23, 2014.

 

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (1)
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
August 27, 2014 11:01 PM
Who is responsible for this situation? The answer is very simple the same group who created problems in Syria and Iraq. Libyans were happy with Gaddafi because he was taking care of their daily needs. But World Educated Leaders were not happy so they kill Gaddafi in brute way in the name of freedom fighters. Now Libyans have real pain and tears, but those killers will never come to give them relief. This is their habit to give pain and tears, then laugh and then have close door meeting for Media how to solve this created problem. Once again I would like to mention sponsors name for this human tragedy are USA, EU and Saudi Arabia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid