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GK of the day: Libya Crisis

GK of the day: Libya Crisis

Sometimes a controlled chaos is much better option than altogether freedom. This is an another tragic story of a long-time dictator controlled country set free to idolize itself on the style of Western democracy.

Recently, oil rich African country Libya was again on the turmoil as local militia are fighting in control of the country’s capital Tripoli.

The battle began when the Libyan National Army (LNA), a force in control of most of Eastern Libya, launched a surprise offensive on Tripoli.

That attack threatens to reinvigorate the armed conflict in a country marred by instability since former dictator Muammar Qaddafi was deposed in 2011.

Khalifa Haftar

  • The LNA is led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who fled to the US after his first failed coup attempt against Qaddafi.
  • Haftar launched the latest attack in hopes of fulfilling a promise to unite Libya under his control.
  • Standing in his way are armed factions defending the capital and its internationally recognized, United Nations-backed government, the Government of National Accord (GNA).
  • Haftar, a 75-year-old general who once served under Qaddafi, returned to Libya in 2011 to aid in the revolution against the dictator.
  • After Qaddafi was deposed, Haftar eventually became the leader of militia forces controlling the country’s eastern region.
  • He’s a staunch anti-Islamist general backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Haftar has also received aid from Russia and from France, which partnered with the general in hopes he could help slow immigration from African countries.

Libya: A little history of Mohammed Gaddafi

Till 1942, Libya was an Italian Colony.

In 1951, Libya became independent under king Idris al-Sanusi.

In 1956, Libya grants two American oil companies a concession of some 14 million acres.

In 1969, King Idris deposed in military coup led by Col Muammar Gaddafi, who pursues a pan-Arab agenda by attempting to form mergers with several Arab countries, and introduces state socialism by nationalising most economic activity, including the oil industry.

In 1971, National referendum approves proposed Federation of Arab Republics (FAR) comprising Libya, Egypt and Syria. However, the FAR never takes off.

In 1977, Col Gaddafi declares a "people's revolution", changing the country's official name from the Libyan Arab Republic to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah and setting up "revolutionary committees" - heralding the start of institutionalised chaos, economic decline and general arbitrariness.

2011: Arab Spring

Inspired by revolts in other Arab countries, especially neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, violent protests break out in Benghazi, spread to other cities, leading to escalating clashes between security forces and anti-Gaddafi rebels.

UN Security Council authorises a no-fly zone over Libya and air strikes to protect civilians, over which NATO assumes command.

Libyan rebels initially capture territory but are then forced back by better-armed pro-Gaddafi forces.

Col Gaddafi is captured and killed as rebel fighters take his hometown Sirte.

2014: Civil War

"Libyan National Army" renegade general Khalifa Haftar launches military assault including airstrikes against militant Islamist groups in Benghazi; tries to seize parliament building, accusing Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteg of being in thrall to Islamist groups.

Prime Minister Maiteg resigns after supreme court rules his appointment illegal.

2016: Rise of Khalifa Haftar

New UN-backed Government of National Accord arrives in Tripoli by boat after opposing forces block airspace.

In 2016, Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar seizes key oil export terminals in the east.

In 2018, Khalifa Haftar claims that his forces are fully in control of Derna, the last Islamist stronghold in the east and the only city in the region hitherto outside his control.

Libya's UN-backed government declares a state of emergency in Tripoli, after dozens of people are killed in clashes between rival militia groups in the city's southern suburbs.

In 2019, The Haftar Libyan National Army advances on Tripoli, sparking clashes with the forces of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord.

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