Isis’s new offshoot in Derna, Libya, has been carrying out floggings, here on a man reportedly caught drinking wine
Extremists have declared Libya part of the Isis caliphate. Former Libyan militant Noman Benotman examines what’s gone wrong
Libya is now in the throes of an extreme political crisis. If the conditions remain unchallenged and, hence, unchanged, it will turn into another Syria or Iraq.
While ISIS has managed to capture the attention of the international media with its powerful propaganda and its violent tactics, the world’s has ignored the equally threatening Islamist groups and movements that have prospered in North Africa in the post-Arab Spring vacuum. Nowhere is this threat more profound than with the rise of radical Islam in Libya.
Since 2012, the capital, Tripoli, has principally been controlled by an Islamist-dominated General National Congress and an array of Islamist militias. In the east, Ansar al-Sharia (AS), the group made infamous for its involvement in the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi in September 2012, and designated by the USA as a terror organisation, has grown in military power and political influence. Since early 2013, the city of Benghazi has been plagued by political violence. Assassinations are happening almost daily, and bombings and kidnappings have been a regular feature. Islamist militias, including AS, have been blamed for the violence. The dynamics of Islamism in the eastern region of Libya are a cause for huge concern. We must respond…
I am wondering just how we can respond. Are we really helping in Iraq and Syria? Too soon to know? I have not read any analysis on it. Libya also lacks a group like the Kurds—armed and ready to fight.
We do know there are anti-Islamists in Libya, as represented by the often-mentioned General Haftar. The writer does not speak about him. Since the writer is former Islamist himself, he may strongly disapprove of Haftar and still hanker after Muslim Brotherhood-style solution.
I do think that the West is not paying enough attention here. But I am not sure what we can do. If a group like Islamic State got control of the oilfields in Libya is would be a nightmare.