Libya could collapse because of the violent clashes between rival militias, according to the Libyan Government. Militias loyal to renegade general Khalifa Hifter and Islamic fighters continue to battle for control of the Tripoli airport, despite calls to end the 13-day conflict.
The collapse of the government could mean plunging the country into endless internal war.
When Muammar Gaddafi was killed, it marked the end of the official Libyan Civil War. But it opened the floodgates to a new form of internal conflict as many of the anti-Gaddafi fighters picked up arms again, this time to fight for power.
One of the factions is led by former general Khalifa Hifter, a CIA-trained American citizen. Earlier this year, he announced the General National Congress, the official Libyan government, was dissolved. The attempted coup was quickly dismissed, but Hifter returned to the mainstream three months later when he started Operation Dignity and led a combined air and ground force against Islamic militias in the Benghazi region.
Shortly after, the Libyan government held elections and will hand over power to a new group of elected officials in August. But that is only if the country does not collapse further into chaos.
Hifter’s militia forces are fighting Islamic factions again, but now in the capital. With very few means of defense the government could fall under the direct control of a militia army.
“In the last two weeks, Libya has descended into its deadliest violence since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi,” according to NPR.
The violence at the airport has killed 47 civilians and wounded over 100, according to the Libyan Health Ministry.
According to the AP, “Health officials say rockets fired during the fighting hit civilian homes, causing casualties and wounding dozens of people.”
The violence has led many foreigners to flee the country. A previously reported by The Inquisitr the State Department evacuated the U.S. embassy, the second time in three years. The first, commonly known as the Benghazi incident, took the lives of four Americans before officials could be safely evacuated.
State officials stress that the evacuation is temporary. Embassy spokeswoman Marie Harf stated the U.S. continued support for the Libyan people in a statement.
“We are committed to supporting the Libyan people during this challenging time, and are currently exploring options for a permanent return to Tripoli as soon as the security situation on the ground improves.”
Whether or not the Libyan government’s warning of imminent collapse is true, Libya still remains a long ways off the original promise of the Arab Spring.
[Image Credit: AP]