Ranj Alaaldin writes: The past month has been a tumultuous one for Libya. Successful local elections in Benghazi, in which voter turnout was impressive and a female candidate secured the largest number of votes, showed that the country can move towards becoming a state with viable democratic processes and representative leaders.
Yet, with every step it takes forward, Libya takes another two back. The security situation has deteriorated rapidly over the past two weeks. On Tuesday, it was the turn of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Misrata to come under attack. On Monday, the British ambassador’s convoy in Benghazi was hit, with two bodyguards injured in the ensuing gun battle. Last week there was an attack on the US diplomatic mission in the same city.
Apart from terror attacks such as these, Libyans are fighting each other. Militiamen act with impunity, as the recent seizure of Tripoli airport showed, while clashes continue in the southern town of Kufra, where pro-government militiamen are locked in an armed conflict with tribal forces over smuggling routes. The clashes have so far claimed at least 20 lives.
Civil war and increased bloody lawlessness in Libya is now a real possibility, with all indicators suggesting the worst may be yet to come because of the continued lack of state control and failure to stabilise the security environment. [Continue reading…]