Libya’s conflict: between coup and state restoration

05 - Jun - 2014

Benghazi, the birthplace of the Libyan revolution, has been the scene since theFriday of “Operation Libya’s Dignity,” led by ex-General Khalifa Haftar.

The aim is to defeat terrorist and extremist groups that have dominated parts of eastern Libya.

The ongoing operation has so far led to the deaths of 75 people and the wounding of 141, according to Libyan medical sources.

The expansion of Haftar’s movement westward to Tripoli is an indicator of growing Libyan frustration with insecurity.

However, real success depends on his ability to attract additional armed factions against the extremists and their allies.

Haftar says his operation is not a coup, and is only targeting terrorists and extremists.

Islamists and their allies oppose Haftar because they fear the same fate as their counterparts in Egypt.

They do not want to find themselves out of the political game and going underground, as happened under Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

This is stopping them from making major political concessions that might help the political process move forward.

It also explains their secret alliance with extremist groups as a form of pressure.

Different forces support Haftar for various reasons. For example, militant federalists in eastern Libya view Islamists as the main obstacle against their movement.

In the West, the conflict has a more tribal element, rather than being simply a fight against Islamists.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: political, security and social developments will ensure the continuation of Haftar’s movement.
 

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