Libya Remains A Bloody Mess


Zack Beauchamp passes along this map from Thomas van Linge, which illustrates the chaotic state of the country as of mid-December:

Libya is divided into two main chunks, but there are many smaller tribal, Islamist, and militia players that complicate the war even further. And it’s been bloody: a December UN report said hundreds of civilians have died since Libya Dawn swept the west in August. The UN claims that it has gotten the warring factions to agree to a peace conference “in principle.” Hopefully, that principle will translate to reality — and fast.

Sunday witnessed the first airstrikes on Misrata—Libya’s third-largest city—in the civil war that has raged since Moammar Qaddafi was deposed three years ago:

Jets under the control of General Khalifa Heftar, a militia commander who was a central figure in Libya’s revolution, fired missiles on Sunday morning at the city’s international airport, just half an hour before a Turkish Airlines flight was due to leave for Istanbul. There were no reports of casualties. The Libyan Air Force jets went on to attack the country’s largest steel plant and an air force academy near the airport, which are under the control of Islamist forces. …

Sunday’s air strikes were in apparent revenge for Christmas Day attacks on Libya’s largest oil terminal at Sidra and on the city of Sirte, in which Islamist militiamen firing rocket-propelled grenades from speedboats killed 22 government soldiers. There were further skirmishes in Sidra on Sunday, in which two Libya Dawn foot soldiers were killed, according to a security official in the port.

Fighting between pro-government and Islamist rebel forces is also ongoing in other parts of the country:

At the same time, recent fighting in the neighbouring Nafusa mountains has left 170 people dead. In addition to the casualties, the fighting has also caused a humanitarian crisis with at least 120,000 people forced to flee their homes, resulting in consequent shortages in both food and medical supplies. Meanwhile, in the eastern city of Benghazi, an uptick in violence has seen 450 people killed since October as residents continue to face shortages in medical care. Moreover, upwards of 15,000 families – some 90,000 people – have been displaced.