Ever since NATO’s monstrous invasion and destruction of Libya in 2011, the country has failed to have a single government. Instead, the country is home to lawless bands of terrorists, slave traders and desert pirates whilst multiple pseudo-regimes continue to compete for power in the country’s largest cities. For approximately two and a half years, the two largest pseudo-governments in Libya have been the Tobruk based House of Representatives and the Tripoli based Government of National Accord.
The Tobruk government is internally backed by the Libyan National Army which is led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. The Tobruk government likewise receives external backing from Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Tripoli government by contrast is backed by the major western powers whilst a smaller government/military force in Misurata are backed by Qatar and Turkey. Recently, the Misurata forces have apparently allied with Tripoli against the Libyan National Army of Haftar.
After making many successful territorial gains throughout 2018, Haftar’s forces are reportedly nearing Tripoli. The Libyan National Army intends to take Tripoli without a fight and has pledged to offer an amnesty to those who lay down their arms. Because the Misurata forces are ostensibly stronger than the minimal military might that can be mobilised by Tripoli, it remains anyone’s guess as to what kind of fight Haftar will have in his mission to take Tripoli.
But while the military conclusion of Haftar’s long march to Tripoli is far from a foregone conclusion, what is already true is that Libya’s status as a failed state has been transformed into that of a failed state within a failed state. Not only has the western backed government in Tripoli long been little other than a gangsters’ nest of incompetent imbeciles, but now it is on the verge of collapsing under the weight of an Army backed by America’s allies Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Making matters all the more embarrassing is that Haftar is himself a US citizen having moved to America in 1990 after having a major falling out with Libyan revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Just to recap, the US and EU backed Tripoli government is now under direct military threat from a Libyan with US citizenship whose Army is backed by western allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia. This makes it clear that Libya’s competing factions for rule over a terrorist dominated failed state each have connections to the same overall set of international allies.
In this sense, no matter how one views the situation, there is plenty of embarrassment to go around. Not only has Libya been balkanised into multiple lawless entities, most of which are controlled by terrorists, but even nations that are otherwise incredibly close allies cannot agree on which corrupt and failed faction to unite behind.
The 2011 criminal destruction of what was once Africa’s most prosperous nation continues to scar Libyan and all of Africa.