Libya going south: Jihadists launch multiple suicide bombings, plus more news

unnamed-3The logo of Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council

The Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council has taken responsibility for a series of suicide bombings in and around the restive city of Benghazi yesterday that targeted forces loyal to former Libyan general Khalifa Haftar. The attacks killed dozens of Libyan soldiers at the Benina International Airport and four more in a separate attack on a checkpoint in Qubah, east of Benghazi.

Al Arabiya reported that “two cars loaded with explosives targeted a military checkpoint near Benina International Airport in Benghazi.” According to Al Jazeera, the airport houses “heavy weaponry” which the militants are fighting to obtain. Al Jazeera also claims that up to “four separate suicide attacks targeted the Benina air base.” Following the suicide bombings, heavy clashes occurred near the airport, with government airstrikes allegedly being used in defense.

This attack came hours after the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council rejected a government plan for peace talks to end the violence in Libya…

unnamed-18A general view of the Dar al Salam, a five-star hotel being used by members of the House of Representatives, in Tobruk September 28, 2014.

Related: Libya’s runaway parliament seeks refuge in Tobruk bubble: October 2, 2014 (Reuters) – Trucks fitted with anti-aircraft cannon, troops and cement roadblocks protect the five-star hotel in Tobruk that is now the surreal last bastion of Libya’s fugitive parliament.

Holed up in the Dar al Salam seaside resort and pretending that all is normal, elected legislators debate laws and plan the future from the eastern city where they fled last month after losing control of Tripoli and much of the country.

A thousand kilometers away across the desert in the capital, a rival parliament sits, internationally unrecognized and made up of members of an earlier assembly whose mandate has expired. It is making its own decisions, taking over ministries and staking a competing claim to rule the country.

Three years after NATO missiles helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, North Africa’s major oil producer is effectively divided, with two governments and two parliaments, each backed by rival groups of armed men…

99599531cded2a3da6e68208b4443a69 Meanwhile, the French are involved in nearby Niger: French troops edge closer to Libya border to cut off Islamists: October 2, 2014 (Reuters) – France is setting up a base in northern Niger as part of an operation aimed at stopping al Qaeda-linked militants from crossing the Sahel-Sahara region between southern Libya to Mauritania, officials said.

Paris, which has led efforts to push back Islamists in the region since intervening in its former colony Mali last year, redeployed troops across West Africa earlier this year to form a counter-terrorism force.

Under the new plan, about 3,000 French troops are now operating out of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad — countries straddling the vast arid Sahel band — with the aim of stamping out Islamist fighters across the region. Another 1,000 soldiers are providing logistical support in Gabon and Senegal.

“A base is being set up in northern Niger with the throbbing headache of Libya in mind,” a French diplomat said.

French officials have repeated for several months they are concerned by events in Libya, warning that the political void in the north is creating favorable conditions for Islamist groups to regroup in the barren south of the country…

The UN is also involved in something called “peace talks” but I think we can safely right those off: U.N. to talk with Libyan militias as next step in peace process: (Reuters) – The United Nations plans to hold talks with the militias that have seized control of vast parts of Libya, hoping to persuade them to withdraw from major cities and avert civil war, the U.N. envoy there said…

After Monday’s talks, Leon said both sides had agreed on the need for a ceasefire, for humanitarian aid for victims of clashes in Tripoli, and to work to reopen airports closed by fighting.

There was no immediate reaction from Operation Dawn, an alliance of brigades which now controls Tripoli, led by militiamen from the western city of Misrata…