In Libya in 2011, an American-led coalition helped to topple Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s 42-year dictatorship. Unfortunately, the coalition’s lack of engagement with the country’s transition allowed a political void to form that a number of groups have since then fought to fill. This has worsened the country’s security crisis, as opposing groups have claimed the right to govern.
Today the country suffers from political and military division between those who want Libya to move forward via the internationally-backed unity government (the Government of National Accord) versus General Khalifa Hifter and the Tobruk based House of Representatives he aligns with, who have taken control of a large part of the east and are fighting anyone who opposes his power in the name of ‘combating terrorism’.
General Haftar’s forces is an alliance of militias, which he has named the “Libyan National Army”, who are fighting opposition in Derna and Benghazi who he claims to be terrorists.
At the forefront of this opposition is the Benghazi Shura Council, an alliance of armed groups. While in the past it is true some of these local armed groups had allied with ISIS against Haftar, today they are simply opposition to Haftar’s merciless crimes against the people of Benghazi and specifically Ganfouda.
ISIS is now confined in Sirte, about 600 km east of Benghazi. ISIS fled untouched through land controlled by General Khalifa Haftar with their armed equipment and militiamen. It is unclear how – but some claim agreements were made between ISIS and Haftar’s forces.