Violence in Libya… Again

The BBC and national newspapers are reporting a spate of violence in Libya yesterday as if war has erupted again. However…

This appears to be a case of a political leader from Cyrenaica entering the capital city with his own bodyguards without clearing it beforehand with the Tripoli militias. The routes the convoy took were all blocked by vehicle check points, who controlled the access. The tragic death of at least 23 people certainly lifts this above the normal night time clashes along the militia boundaries, but this level of violence was often seen in the Gadhafi era, when groups opposing the government were mercilessly crushed in places such as Benghazi and Misrata.

Most western governments have strict rules about visitors from other countries with armed bodyguards. As Prince Harry has found, it is a very sensitive area and it is not unreasonable for weapons to be removed before entering someone else’s fiefdom. What is needed in Libya is a heavy-hitting UN Head of Mission to arbitrate between the two sides and offer guidance to the Libyan politicians trying to reintegrate their country into the international community. The sooner one is appointed, the better for (almost) everyone.

Tripoli Militia

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