A few years ago, when ABC News was considering rebranding their “flagship” evening program, World News Tonight…
“I don’t know what they’ll call it,” snarked a former longtime ABC News professional, “They don’t cover the world, most of what they program isn’t news, and ‘Tonight’ is already the title of a successful program.”
This truthful witticism put me to mind of the ongoing tragedy in Libya, where a years-long, many-sided civil war has been getting worse. The United States and the United Nations are backing one set of Libyan “leaders” – something which calls itself the Government of National Accord (GNA). The truth is, the GNA hardly governs and there is no national accord. There’s not much accord within the GNA’s unstable collation of local militias, including some of the worst Islamist jihadist groups in Libya.
The opposing coalition, based in Tobruk and Benghazi in the eastern-half of the country, says it is against Islamists and terrorists, but the so-called “interim government, and its military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, depend on support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and has developed friendly relations with Russia.
Haftar took military training for a while in the U.S. and has from time to time been quite friendly towards America. For a while it looked like President Donald Trump was preparing to be at least telephone-chat-friendly with Field Marshal Haftar, but that impulse seems to have gone away.
Now it’s civil war. Haftar’s LNA has won some victories, but hasn’t come close to overthrowing the GNA,
Both the Libyan National Army and the Government of National Accord say they hate the Islamic State and have come close to eradicating it, but while they’re fighting one another, Islamic State has staged at least four military attacks of its own, and seem “back,” out of control again as a terrorist threat and potential political force.
Mustafa Fetouri is an award-winning journalist and financial analyst from Libya. He has been covering the conflicts in his home country, both from inside Libya and by utilizing a wide network of sources there. His coverage is published by the Middle East Monitor, and al-Monitor.