Too Early To Cry ‘Coup’ in Libya | Michael Pizzi
The violence gripping the streets of Libya’s two major cities may be the early stages of a military coup attempt echoing events in Egypt last summer, or simply an escalation of feuding between rival militias that have run the show since the overthrow of Col. Muammar Gaddafi. In either case, this week’s fighting — some of the worst since the country’s 2011 uprising — has prompted speculation Libya could be sliding back into civil war.
Forces loyal to retired Libyan General Khalifa Haftar on Sunday stormed Libya’s parliament, declared it dissolved, and then clashed with militias backing the fragile Islamist-led central government, just days after Haftar launched an offensive in the eastern port city of Benghazi. On Monday, the commander of the Libyan army’s special forces announced he had allied with Haftar, who claims his so-called Libyan National Army is fighting to stamp out extremism and Al-Qaeda-inspired militias in Libya “by the people’s choice.” An air force base in the city of Tobruk followed suit.
"We are joining the battle of ‘dignity’ launched by the Libyan National Army with all our men and weapons," said Col. Wanis Abu Khamada.
But the Libyan radical group Ansar al-Sharia, which has been labeled a “terrorist” organization by the United States, vowed Tuesday to defend its stronghold against the Libyan National Army and other allied forces. The group has called the deadly offensive in Benghazi “a war against … Islam orchestrated by the United States and its Arab allies,” according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.
FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)