In Libya, parliament convenes amid battles

The New York Times reports: Libyan leaders, struggling to keep their country from spinning further out of control, convened a newly elected Parliament for its first session on Monday.

But raging militia battles in Tripoli, the capital, and in Benghazi, the second-largest city, forced them to hold the meeting in Tobruk, a relatively stable port in the east. And a senior Egyptian political figure suggested on Monday that his country might intervene in Libya militarily if calm cannot be restored.

The newly elected lawmakers vowed to prevent the collapse of their state.

“We will prove to the world that Libya is not a failed country,” Abu Bakr Bueira, the lawmaker presiding over the session, declared, according to news reports.

Although the street fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi is driven mainly by local militia rivalries, it is converging into the same national conflict. Islamists and their tribal or regional allies are on one side, fighting what they say is an authoritarian counterrevolution, while anti-Islamist groups with allied tribes and fragments of the former Qaddafi dictatorship’s forces are on the other side, fighting what they say is Islamist domination that has allowed the militia mayhem to spread. [Continue reading…]

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