A year ago, thousands of Libyan civilians became soldiers overnight. Opposed to the rule of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, they took up arms, many of them for the first time in their lives, and joined a ragtag rebel army. Now, after eight months of brutal violence, they are struggling to return to their former lives.
"The latest events show the urgent need to implement law 53 to disband all [illegally] armed groups. The army and all its forces are carrying out its legal duties," Acting Interior Minister Sidiq Abdel-Karim told Libyan TV.
Sadat al-Badri, president of the Tripoli local council, told Agence France-Presse that militia members fired on hundreds of demonstrators from their headquarters. "Tensions are on the rise in Tripoli. We're going to announce a general strike and launch a civil disobedience campaign until these militias leave," he said.
WASHINGTON, DC — The Libyan government, weakened by continued divisions among the regional militia groups that toppled the notorious Muammar Gaddafi, braced this week for downbeat assessments of the country's performance two years after the civil war officially ended.
By any fair assessment, Libya's brave effort to forge a tolerant, relatively open society on the ashes of one of recent history's most venal and reckless dictatorships would be deemed a qualified success.
This should be a moment to take a breath, assess progress made, and rededicate US policy to keeping it all moving in the right direction.