Three years ago, Libyans were celebrating the overthrow of their longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Now fighting among the very same militias who started that revolution is throwing the country back into chaos. (Via Getty Images)
It’s why the U.S. Embassy just evacuated its staff from the country due to what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called “free wheeling militia violence.”
“It presents a very real risk to our personnel.” (Via CNN)
That militia violence — some of the worst Libya has seen in months — boils down to a turf war between Islamists and anti-Islamists.
And Tripoli's main airport has taken center stage where fierce fighting among two main groups of ex-fighters has killed dozens. (Via Euronews)
One group hails from the western city of Zintan and has controled the airport for the last three years. The other is an Islamist-led militia with fighters from Misrata. (Via Google)
The governments that followed Gaddafi have tried and failed to control these competing armed brigades. (Via Getty Images)
The reason, according to a writer at Daily News Egypt, is the security vacuum that was left behind after Gaddafi’s fall. “Rather than a national police force, army or security service, powerful regional militias have taken over management of their own territories and the security of the people residing there ... Without security, the political transition is doomed to fail.”
This is the second time in past three years that the U.S. has suspended embassy operations in Libya — the last time during the 2011 uprising.
Citing U.S. officials, CNN reports over 150 personnel, including 80 U.S. Marines, were evacuated from the embassy and driven into Tunisia.
The U.S. has also issued a travel warning to Libya and urged all Americans to leave the country.