Five years after the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's overthrow and brutal murder (on October 20, 2011), the situation is now far worse than it was five years ago as rival militias fight for control.
Libya has been split between rival parliaments and governments, each backed by a loose array of militias and tribes. Now five years on, Libya is caught between two rival governments, with the western-recognized parliament forced into exile in the eastern city of Tobruk in 2014, following a military uprising from the opponent group known as 'Libyan Dawn', who have since set up parliament in the capital, Tripoli.
While accurate figures are hard to ascertain, estimates suggest tens of thousands have died in Libya as a result of the conflict since 2011.
Libya's conflict has left 1.9 million people with serious health needs in a country that lacks medical professionals, medicines and vaccines, according to the World Health Organization.
CIA-Backed General Khalifa Haftar Seizes Control Of Libyan Oil Fields (The African Globe)
In a dramatic development, on September 12, 2016, forces loyal to CIA-backed General Khalifa Haftar took control of two key oil ports. His troops seized Al Sidra and Ras Lanuf terminals on Libya's Mediterranean coast and hoped to seize a third terminal, Al Zueitina, said Brigadier General Ahmed Al Mosmary, a spokesman for General Haftar's forces.
General Haftar has refused to endorse a UN-backed national-unity government in Tripoli and remains loyal to the rival administration based in the east of the country.
His forces took the Ras Lanuf and Al Sidra terminals, together capable of handling 700,000 barrels of oil per day, from a militia loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA). The majority of Libya's oil exports went through the three terminals before the militia, known as the Petroleum Facilities Guards, seized them more than two years ago.
If the terminals are operational again and oil exports resume, the revenues, together with a continuing political impasse, could provide the eastern region an extra incentive to declare self-rule.
Following the capture of the oil ports, the House of Representatives has promoted Haftar from general to field marshal.
General Haftar was a military chief under Muammar Gaddafi before turning against him and calling for his overthrow from exile in the United States. In 2011, General Haftar returned to Libya and commanded some of the rebel units that defeated Gaddafi, aided by Nato air power.
According to The New Yorker, as military commander of the Salvation Front, he plotted an invasion of Libya--but Gaddafi outflanked him. The C.I.A. had to airlift Haftar and three hundred and fifty of his men to Zaire and, eventually, to the United States. Haftar was given citizenship, and remained in the U.S. for the next twenty years.
Leaked tapes expose Western support for
renegade Libyan general
Haftar enjoys the support of several Arab nations, including Egypt, the UAE and
Jordan, as well as others in the West.
General Haftar's air-force commander, Saqr Geroshi, was quoted as saying by the UAE newspaper The National in July that, along with 20 French personnel, small units of British and American Special Forces were also deployed with the Tobruk army at Benghazi's Benina airport.
A multinational military operation involving British, French and US forces is coordinating air strikes in support of a renegade general battling militia groups from a base near Benghazi in eastern Libya, according to air-traffic recordings obtained by Middle East Eye reveal.